Precision Electroplating & Metal Finishing Services
Metal finishing involves modifying the surface of an item to enhance its aesthetic appeal and/or functionality. It often includes electroplating, a finishing technique that uses an electric current to deposit a thin coating of metal onto a substrate. As a NADCAP-accredited and ISO 9001:2015 AS9100-certified metal finishing and electroplating service provider, New Method Plating Company works with clients to deliver customized finishing solutions that optimize the performance of their products for a wide range of environments and applications.
Types of Metal Plating & Finishes
When deciding which type of metal plating will work best for an application, it is important to consider relevant environmental factors as well as any industry-specific quality or safety requirements. The most common types of metal plating and their applications are described below.
Cadmium plating is a versatile electroplating process that deposits a layer of cadmium onto a substrate. As a sacrificial coating, cadmium offers an extra layer of protection by corroding preferentially to its underlying substrate. It also provides an excellent natural lubricity, which facilitates a low-friction surface and helps prevent the occurrence of galling. Other benefits provided by cadmium plating include a high level of solderability, great conductivity, and improved aesthetic appeal.
Applications of cadmium plating include:
- Aerospace. Corrosion protection, natural lubricity, and excellent adhesive properties make cadmium coatings ideal for enhancing screws, wrenches, and other components used in aerospace applications.
- Transportation. Cadmium coatings help protect disc brake components, hose fittings, door handles, and other automotive components from corrosion.
- Electronics. As an electrically-conductive material, cadmium is ideal for coating connectors, hardware, relays, and other components used in electronics.
- Machining. Cadmium plating is often performed on tools and components used in machining processes to improve their strength and durability.
- Marine. Cadmium can withstand repeated exposure to saltwater with minimal corrosion, making it a popular coating choice for components used in marine applications.
With nickel plating, an electric current is used to apply a thin layer of nickel to a substrate. The resulting nickel coating enhances an object’s resistance to corrosion and wear while making it brighter and more visually appealing. It can also improve ductility, increase hardness and stability, and provide a protective layer against harsh outdoor environments.
Applications of nickel plating include:
- Automotive. Nickel plating is often used to increase the durability and wear-resistance.
- Computers/electronics. Nickel plating enhances the conductivity of materials, making it well-suited for use in microprocessors, integrated circuits, connectors, and other electrical components.
- Aerospace. Bearing separators, landing gear components, and other aircraft parts are often coated in nickel to increase their wear and corrosion resistance without adding excess weight.
- Coins. In minting applications, nickel plating improves the ductility of coin surfaces and enhances their ability to accept detailed impressions.
- Plastics. With its ability to add both visual appeal and durability, nickel plating is a popular choice for coating electronics, consumer products, and more.
Zinc plating is a cost-effective electroplating process that is commonly used to enhance the appearance, corrosion resistance, strength, and temperature tolerance of iron, steel, and other metals. It acts as a sacrificial coating that prevents corrosion from affecting the underlying metal. The zinc plating process is also eco-friendly, making it a suitable plating option for industries that must comply with strict environmental regulations.
Applications of zinc plating include:
- Roofing. Zinc plating is often used to improve the corrosion resistance and appearance of roofing screws, caps, and other components.
- Automotive. The automotive industry relies on zinc plating to improve the corrosion and temperature resistance of nuts, bolts, fasteners, and other small metal parts.
- Military. Zinc plating adds strength and durability to parts used in military weapons, making them better suited to withstand impact, shock, and vibration.
Chrome plating is an electroplating process wherein a thin layer of chrome is added to a metal substrate. This improves the corrosion resistance, hardness, and durability of the substrate’s surface while making it smoother and easier to sanitize or clean. Parts that have undergone chrome plating are substantially more wear-resistant, even when exposed to repetitive mechanical stress.
Chrome plating is commonly used to enhance the appearance, durability, and corrosion resistance of rims, engine components, trim pieces, and other automotive parts.
The copper electroplating process involves depositing a layer of copper onto a metal or plastic substrate to improve its strength, hardness, corrosion resistance, malleability, and/or conductivity. It provides a smooth reddish-orange finish that can be brightened to various levels with the use of additives.
Applications of copper plating include:
- Oil and gas. The oil and gas industry relies on copper plating to protect and prolong the lifespan of pumps, drills, and other equipment used in high-vibration, high-impact oil drilling and extraction operations.
- Electronics. Because of copper’s excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, the electronics industry uses copper plating to enhance the conductive qualities of electrical components.
Metal Plating Process
The electroplating process uses a specially-formulated electrolyte solution in combination with an electric current to facilitate the adherence of the metal’s dissolved ions onto the surface of the substrate. As described below, the specific parameters of the plating process vary depending on the metal used to form the coating.
- Cadmium plating. Cadmium plating is performed by placing the substrate into a cyanide bath containing a combination of cadmium oxide and sodium cyanide. The application of a current to the bath causes the cadmium to be deposited in a thin layer across the surface of the substrate.
- Nickel plating. With nickel plating, the electrically-conductive substrate is connected to a power supply to generate a negative charge, while the positive end of the same power supply is attached to a nickel rod. The unit is then submerged in a water and nickel chloride salt solution. The electric current facilitates an exchange of ions, allowing the nickel ions to form a uniform layer around the substrate.
- Zinc plating. The zinc plating electrolyte solution is prepared using either acid or alkaline zinc. The substrate is then either rotated in the solution (barrel plating) or submerged in the solution in a stationary tank (rack plating). Once the current is applied, the substrate acts as the cathode, allowing the zinc to deposit itself uniformly across its surface.
- Copper plating. Copper electroplating involves placing the metal substrate into a container filled with an electrolytic bath. An electric current is then applied to the container, triggering the copper ions to adhere to the substrate’s surface.
Precision Electroplating from New Method Plating Company
Metal plating is a versatile finishing process that can be used to enhance both the appearance and performance of an object. Depending on the type of metal used, metal plating can provide everything from corrosion, temperature, and chemical resistance to increased hardness, enhanced conductive properties, and improved solderability.
At New Metal Plating Company, we perform precision electroplating with cadmium, nickel, zinc, chrome, and copper to enhance the aesthetics or performance of parts for various industries. Our processes involve automated equipment, robotics, and other advanced technologies that allow us to achieve exceptional levels of precision and consistency in everything we produce. As an environmentally-conscious company, we also perform our work in compliance with EPA guidelines and use a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment system.
To learn more about our electroplating capabilities and other finishing services, please contact us today or request a quote.
Precision Electroplating & Metal Finishing - Capabilities
Trivalent Chromate (RoHS)
Hexavalent Chromate (Non-RoHS)
Hexavalent Chromate Over Cadmium Plating
Zinc Die Castings
Electroplating, Chemical Conversion Coatings
Computer Controlled Process
Robotic Load / Unload / Transfer
Solvent Vacuum Degreasing
Hydrogen Embrittlement Relief
Solvent Vacuum Degreasing
.00015 to .0008 in
Up to 36 in
Up to 17 in
Up to 10 in
#2 to 5/16"
.125 to 6"
In-House Analytical Laboratory
Compliance with EPA Guidelines
Integral Wastewater Treatment Facility
Minimum Lot Charge
Typical Lead Time
3 to 5 Days
Rush Services Available
Pick-Up and Delivery Services
We Possess our Own Delivery Trucks
Department of Defense
Security / Anti Theft Devices
NAMF – New England Chapter
Green Cross Massachusetts Safety Council