While each type of plating has its own unique benefits and purposes—from zinc and zinc iron plating through standard nickel and bright brass plating—one interesting type that serves specific purposes is electroless nickel plating. So what exactly is it, and what are its advantages?
In general, all plating has to have a positive and negative charge. Simply put, the AC current will be turned to a DC current through a certain process. However, electroless nickel plating doesn’t have to—it has features within the metal itself that bonds itself, skipping the electricity process necessary to other metals.
So what exactly does this mean for the end user? This type of plating will cover deep recesses and holes, which regular nickel doesn’t do. For instance, you can take a three-foot long tube and with electroless nickel, it will have just as much plating inside as out, whereas regular nickel will only cover a small percentage of the inside. Anywhere the solution can touch, there will be plating. With standard plating, the ends typically have more plating than other, harder to reach areas. This is not the case with electroless nickel. And like other types, you can perform rack or barrel plating for the process.
The true advantages of this translate to excellent hardness and wearability, as well as abrasion-resistance. The applications for this type of plating are far-reaching, and any industry can benefit from these advantages. However, one of the industries for which it is truly useful is the food industry, where it’s extremely important to keep food free of metals. Electroless nickel-plated items—including grills and food utensils—will not leach or cause problems other metals can, and will remain safe for the food they are touching.
It’s just one example of new technology constantly being used by the industry, and the ways companies such as ours can do more for customers as a result.