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Electro-Plating - Functional / Electro-Less Nickel Plating

Supplier: A Class Metal Finishers

Important Information For Metals Engineers & Designers

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Electroless nickel has many uses in a large number of industries due to its numerous properties and advantages such as - even plating over the entire surface; corrosion resistance; wear resistance; lubricity; hardness.
 
Electroless nickel plating is not a new process. Until recently, it's primarily been busy in the electronics industry.

The metal finishing industry world-wide is predicting a huge upsurge in the application of electroless coatings.

You need to be informed of the benefits and applications for these coatings or risk being left behind

To start the ball rolling there are links to a number of case studies  If after perusing the information provided here, you still need further information on electroless nickel, we urge you to contact us.

 Case Studies

  • Injection moulding tools & dies
  • Pumps,Valves & Chemical Industry
  • Food industry
  • Printing Industry
  • Automotive Industry
  • Electronics Industry
  • Aerospace Industry
  • General Machinery Applications

Main Advantages

  • Electro-less Nickel plating is a process that has many advantages over 'electrolytic' processes in an engineering environment.
  • The coating can be used in many fields where a hard, corrosion resistant finish is required.
  • A major advantage of the process is that it is possible to coat the whole surface of an item EVENLY, including internals, unlike electrolytic processes which have difficulty depositing into recessed and internal areas and can result in excessive build-ups on points, corners, etc.
  • This process can provide significant savings when comparing to a process such as Hard Chrome on a complex shape as the article can be machined to shape prior to coating (with an allowance for the plating thickness) and does not require post machining to regain the required precise dimensions.
  • To create an internal coating by electrolytic methods requires the use of complex anode arrangements which are generally costly to produce and set-up, with these costs being passed on to the customer.
  • It is possible to achieve deposits of electro-less nickel into internal areas where it would be impossible to use electrolytic methods and is cost competitive over the less satisfactory methods.

Example 

  • Injection molding die.
    • Machined to spec with allowance for several microns electro-less nickel. 
    • Die is plated and put straight to work
    • No post plating machining required.
  • The resulting surface has significantly more lubricity than the original steel 
    • So parts release more efficiently.
  • The die is protected from corrosion when stored 
    • Resulting in minimal maintenance costs.
  • The die is also protected when in production and subject to water cooling
    • Resulting in less corrosion problems.

Add these savings and efficiency improvements together and you will see the advantages all result in lower costs and higher profits to your company

Other advantages of Electroless Nickel include:

  • Lubricity 
    • It is able to slide over other metal surfaces without galling.
  • Hardness 
    • There are various types of solutions giving a variety of as plated hardnesses.
    • Heat treatment increases the hardness to a maximum of approx. 70 Rockwell C
  • Corrosion Resistance 
    • Dependant upon solution used (Neutral Salt Spray at 25µm)
    • 96 hours N.S.S. medium / low phosphorous content as plated
    • 1000 hours N.S.S. high phosphorous content as plated
    • 96 hours N.S.S. for all after heat treatment
  • Resistant to a wide range of chemicals
  • Abrasion Resistance
    • Good to excellent dependent upon solution used and hardening
  • Mould Release 
    • Good non-stick surface in many applications
  • Additives 
    • Such as Teflon or Silicon Carbide can be included into the deposit to further increase the properties such as lubricity and wear resistance
  • Stainless Steel Alternative
    • Parts can be manufactured from Mild Steel and coated with electroless nickel to provide similar performance to stainless steel at a much lower cost.

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