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Electroplating - General Information

You can view information about all the different types of plating we offer via the menu above.  However first we wanted to give you a bit of background to WHAT ELECTROPLATING IS, how it behaves and things you may need to consider when choosing a plated finish for your products (particularly if you are a manufacturer, engineer or product designer).

WHAT IS ELECTROPLATING?

Electroplating is a process used to apply a new metal surface coating over a substrate or base material. Depending on the coatings or combinations of coatings selected, a variety of outcomes can be gained in terms of the aesthetic and/or hardness and protective qualities afforded by electroplated coatings.
Based on the principles of Electrolysis, electroplating involves transfer of metal from an 'anode' to the surface of an item via the application of electric current travelling to the 'cathode' whilst suspended in an 'electrolyte' (a liquid solution of substances which enable the transfer).
Because the process involves the use of electric current the results will reflect the nature by which electricity travels − i.e. to the highest points first. This will always result in slight variations in the amount of anode metal transferred to the various surfaces of an item as shown below:
electroplating_process_info_A-Class
Current attracts to high points first − thus applying more plating to high points & less to low points, or recess areas. This is quite acceptable for most 'decorative' plating applications but in some industrial scenarios, where tolerances are narrow or precise, "electroless" plating can be a better option. 

DESIGN FOR PLATING

The nature of electroplating therefore demands that some consideration be given to the impact on achieving a desired surface quality from different SHAPES and DESIGNS. For instance if a high build up is not desired in certain areas, perhaps a rounding of the edge design will enable a better outcome; or, if it is desirable to achieve a good finish in a recessed area, there may be a need to adjust the component design or rack design or use auxiliary anodes to improve the 'throw' of current. In any event the design of both the product and the rack or jig plays an important part in the final finish of the product and we STRONGLY RECOMMEND involving your electroplater in your product DESIGN DECISIONS.
A Class can assist manufacturers to work through these and many other issues like substrate condition, polishing for high lustre plating results, dealing with casting pits, machine oil, swarf or other pre-cleaning challenges, appropriate finishes for your products and more.

 

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Copyright © 2009, A Class Metal Finishers Pty Ltd. 6 Waddikee Rd, Lonsdale, South Australia, 5160. Telephone (+ 61 8 8384 4331) Email: acmf@aclassmetal.com.au
Specialising in Copper, Nickel & Chrome Plating, Gold Plating, Silver Plating, Tin Plating, Electroless Nickel, Plating on Plastic (ABS) and Metal Polishing
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