Manufacturers and fabricators rely on electroplating to provide their products with certain characteristics including a smooth finish. The process is attractive for its low costs, its efficiency and its ability to be used on an extensive range of shapes and sizes. While tin, gold and silver are popular in their right, nickel plating is favored by many manufacturers for many reasons.
Why Nickel Plating?
Nickel is a hard, silverfish-white metal. It can be classified as having a satin or bright luster. These are important qualities when it comes to plating. Nickel plating is also chosen because it:
* Improves or enhances anti-corrosive resistance
* Increases durability and stability
* Enhances resistance to wear and tear
* Adds to the overall aesthetic appeal by brightening the surface appearance
The ability of nickel to plate without building up on the edges while flowing and distributing itself evenly over the base metal also endears itself to finishers, fabricators and manufacturers. Many prefer nickel plating for its ability to level and smooth without fussing.
Types of Nickel Plating Baths
Nickel plating may involve one of three basic plating baths. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. The baths are:
1. Watts Bath – a general purpose bath that is a standard in the electroplating industry
2. Sulfamate Bath – a general purpose bath that is easy to control while yielding deposits of low stress. It has a wide operating range and is useful where the applications require low residual stress. Nickel plating using this method is useful for coating objects that are susceptible to fatigue cracking
3. Fluoborate Bath – has a few disadvantages and is very pH conscious
While these are the basic or general purpose baths, many nickel plating applications require special composition baths. A few examples include the following:
* Chloride – sulfate
* High sulfate
* Nickel-phosphorous alloy
Some companies prefer black nickel plating baths. These provide the surface of the object with a decorative effect. It also gives the plated material a non-reflective surface. Others opt for bright nickel plating. With the right additive, the coatings make the base metal lustrous and bright.
Nickel Plating at Work
Nickel plating through any of the above means (and more options) is applied in a variety of industries and fabrications shops. In many instances, the intent is to be both protective and decorative. It is found in use in the following:
* Automotive business
* Marine industries
* Plumbing fittings
* Steel furniture
* Shop fittings
* Household appliances
* Hardware items
Nickel Plating; Decorative and Protective
Nickel is favored by many industries and fabricators. It can perform a duo role of protector and embellisher. It is decorative enough to make an object attractive, yet tough enough to withstand everyday punishment and a not always friendly environment. With so much going for it, it is no wonder that nickel plating continues to be a popular means of protecting and decorating a variety of different objects.
At PEP General Metal Finishing, we have been electroplating precious and non-precious metals since 1972. Gold, Silver and Nickel Plating are one aspect of what we provide our electroplating and electropolishing services. Our pride in our product ensures quality services that meet ASTM or military (MIL-STD) standards. To discover how we can help you meet your objectives, contact us at our online site at website