For those who work in the manufacturing industries, whether making parts for intricate medical equipment or components for cars, there is always the need to ensure the risk of corrosion is minimised.
This is where processes such as coating and plating come in. Whilst there may not seem to be much difference between these two terms, they refer to different techniques. Let’s take a look at them in more detail:
Coating is the process of applying powders or chemicals to the surface of a component, such as stainless steel fasteners. It is achieved by submerging the component in a chemical bath and spinning at high velocity to eliminate any excess covering material. The result is a component with a layer of protection on top of the substrate material.
There are a number of approaches to coating. These include zinc flake coating, which provides good defence against saline and is regularly used for vehicle parts; phosphate and oil coating, which offers a uniform black appearance and the ability to absorb oil; and black oxide coating, which is mainly used to improve the cosmetic appearance of a product.
Those who already work in the field of electroless nickel coating appreciate how complex this particular version of the coating technique is. Those who are unlikely to visit a conference on the subject can learn more about the technique from surface treatments specialists such as www.poeton.co.uk/standard-treatments/electroless-nickel-plating/.
Plating, meanwhile, sees the product gain a metallic finish through the use of electro-deposition. This means that the plating material, which is typically a metal, becomes fused to the substrate of the component. Plating can be applied with control as to the thickness and can improve the cosmetic appearance of the product. Unlike in the coating technique, a component’s protective plating material is fused inseparably to the substrate material.
Popular plating processes include zinc clear trivalent plating, which is commonly used in vehicle manufacturing and the food processing and construction industries, and zinc clear chromate plating, which delivers an attractive shiny silver look to the component.