Chrome plating is a very popular finish for many decorative applications, especially for the automotive and building industries in which there are many decorative trims and components. It also has industrial uses where, in conjunction with heat treated base materials it can provide a harder finish (hard-chrome).
Benefits of Chrome Plating: Chrome plating is popular because it is hard wearing, bright and easy to clean. The nickel used in the coating process in conjunction with chrome provides high corrosion resistance. The nickel type used also determines the level of brightness. The chrome coating itself is stain resistant and abrasion resistant which is of appeal for decorative applications in heavier 'wear and tear' environments. There are alternative industrial uses for chrome plating (i.e. hard-chrome*), sometimes used for surface maintenance on large tools or equipment (*Electroless Nickel has advantages over "hard-chrome" in many industrial applications - see separate brochure "Electro-less Nickel".)
Colour & Aesthetics: Chrome will be 'bright' when the substrate is highly polished and coated first with bright nickel (via nickel solution containing brightening agents). It can however appear 'satin' like when a 'satin' nickel coat (via modified, non bright solution) is pre- applied. Satin chrome is currently a popular treatment for matching to polished stainless steel or brushed aluminium fittings. Chrome has an almost "blue" hue and gives a sense of crisp cleanliness and 'coolness'.
Applications of Chrome Plating: Automotive decals, door handles and trims, tap-ware, architectural fittings, racks, hubs & wheels, furniture and furniture trim, and many, many other items.
Substrates suited to this coating: Can be applied over most metal substrates, usually 'undercoated' with copper and nickel layers.
Design Cautions: As this is an electrolytic process it is necessary to use jigging, racking or wiring to provide for electrical current conductivity. Some shapes and designs lend themselves more readily to successful plating than others or may need to be adapted. Please consult your plating adviser prior to finalising design if you intend using this finishing process in your product manufacture.
Environmental note: Chromium gets a lot of bad press. Chrome solutions can be hazardous and is why we need strict safety procedures in place for handling it in the plating shop. However in its plated form, decorative chrome is quite 'inert' and as such should not present an environmental health hazard.
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