Wednesday, March 17th, 2010
Traditionally only one type of plastic was able to be chrome plated – namely ABS plastic (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). This material was (and still is) used for a wide range of plastic moulding of parts for chrome plating. ABS materials contain properties which enable the parts to metallise through the application of specific plating chemistry in the pre-treatment stage.
A Class Metal Finishers Pty Ltd has long experience and expertise in the plating of ABS plastics (volume production products and restorations) and nowadays, having developed processes and methods based partially on available technologies and partly on our own process innovations, can also offer chrome plating of ANY plastic materials. This ability is very exciting for car and bike customisers and restorers as well as designers as it offers scope to chrome plate things we previously wouldn’t have dreamed about.
There are a number of alternatives on the market claiming to be chrome plating for plastic but many of these are in fact spray coatings. There is definitely a place for spray coatings (we are using and offering them) but despite many claims of the chrome alternatives being “just like real chrome” there really is no alternative to the real thing. Genuine chrome plating will last longer, apply more evenly and will have the mirror shine and depth only true chrome can provide. Vacuum metalising is an oft used alternative for chrome (for plastic parts), and the technology that supports this form of metallising has come a long way, but does it really match up to actual chrome electroplating? (We of course don’t think so – maybe you have other views?)
The types of plastic parts items we commonly see for plastic chrome plating in our customs market are things like instrument panels, dashboards, dash trim, handles, grilles, flanges and other parts for car or motorcycle, however the list is almost unlimited considering we can not only chrome plate all types of plastic but also just about any material!