Replace Stainless Steel with Electroless Nickel Plating for Large Parts

Electroless nickel is often used as a replacement for stainless steel on large parts.

Stainless steel is very expensive, and it is often difficult to find a source to cast large stainless steel components. A more cost effective and time saving solution is to make large parts out of cast iron and then electroless nickel plate them for corrosion resistance.

Electroless nickel is perfect for plating large machined parts that need to be resistant to corrosion.

Conventional electro-deposit such as hard chrome or electrolytic nickel need to be machined after plating to hold dimensional accuracy. This re-machining on large, electroplated parts can cost hundreds to thousands of pounds. With electroless nickel plating, the job is complete once you have plated the part.

Consider electroless nickel plating

When designing large parts, electroless nickel should be considered if hardness, corrosion resistance, and wear are a concern.

Electroless nickel properties and characteristics often give it a significant advantage over conventional materials and methods. The equipment and methods used at NiTEC mean that even the most difficult large part can be plated correctly and consistently.

As leading specialists in the electroless nickel plating field, we have the facilities to plate large components, unlike small firms.

For more information on how we can fulfill your electroless nickel plating requirements, visit our website.

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The Electroless Nickel Plating Process

The process of electroless nickel plating produces a nickel alloy that can be deposited without using an external power source. The electroless nickel solution involved consists of nickel ions, reducing agents and other chemicals. The most commonly used reducing agent is sodium hypophosphite. Nickel phosphorous alloys can be deposited on to specially activated surfaces, which act as a catalyst.

The metal layer deposited by the electroless nickel plating process has the advantage of having an even thickness over all surfaces of the component, virtually regardless of its shape. This effect cannot be achieved with electrodeposited coatings.

Before the electroless nickel plating process can begin, the parts have to be treated suitably. Electroless nickel solutions operate specifically according to their end requirements in a pH 4-9 medium at a temperature of between 25-92 degrees centigrade. The thickness of the nickel deposit depends on the operating conditions and time. Depending on solution composition and working parameters it is possible to deposit nickel phosphorous alloy layers with a phosphorous content between approximately 2 and 14% by weight.

It is possible to plate almost all metals including stainless steel, steel, aluminium and its alloys, and brass. It is also possible to plate non-conductive materials such as plastic and ceramics. Each type of material requires a specific pre treatment method. The quality of the electroless nickel deposit is dependent upon the quality and surface finish of the substrate material. In contrast with many electroplated nickel coatings the electroless nickel deposit reproduces the substrate surface finish.

Nickel Plating Steel, Aluminium and Brass

The process of electroless nickel plating produces a nickel alloy that can be deposited without using an external power source. The electroless nickel solution involved consists of nickel ions, reducing agents and other chemicals. The most commonly used reducing agent is sodium hypophosphite. Nickel phosphorous alloys can be deposited on to specially activated surfaces, which act as a catalyst.

The metal layer deposited by the electroless nickel plating process has the advantage of having an even thickness over all surfaces of the component, virtually regardless of its shape. This effect cannot be achieved with electrodeposited coatings.

Before the electroless nickel plating process can begin, the parts have to be treated suitably. Electroless nickel solutions operate specifically according to their end requirements in a pH 4-9 medium at a temperature of between 25-92 degrees centigrade. The thickness of the nickel deposit depends on the operating conditions and time. Depending on solution composition and working parameters it is possible to deposit nickel phosphorous alloy layers with a phosphorous content between approximately 2 and 14% by weight.

It is possible to plate almost all metals including stainless steel, steel, aluminium and its alloys, and brass. It is also possible to plate non-conductive materials such as plastic and ceramics. Each type of material requires a specific pre-treatment method. The quality of the electroless nickel deposit is dependent upon the quality and surface finish of the substrate material. In contrast with many electroplated nickel coatings the electroless nickel deposit reproduces the substrate surface finish.

To find out more about electroless nickel plating and how it can be used as analternative to galvanisation, please visit our website at http://www.electroless-nickel-plating.co.uk

What is Electroless Nickel Plating Used For?

Electroless Nickel Plating can be used in numerous fields.

The electronics and computer industry

Electroless nickel plating can be used in a variety of ways within the electronics and computer industry. Nickel deposits can be used for diffusion barriers, as a soldering aid, as shielding and to prevent corrosion and abrasion.

If the nickel deposit contains more than 10% phosphorous, it has no ferromagnetic properties. These deposits can be used as the base for magnetic memory disks, which have a ferromagnetic memory top coating.

The Aerospace Industry

Electroless nickel plating can be used for defrosting valves for plane engines, plugs, oil pump cases and bolts.

The hydraulic industry and mining

Electroless nickel plating can be used for hydraulic units such as drilling and support equipment. Nickel deposits on steel cylinders for support equipment provide resistance against corrosion and abrasive wear. The working life of drilling components can be extended significantly by using electroless nickel composites.

The Plastics Industry

Within the plastics industry, electroless nickel plating can be used to maintain and repair tools and moulds. It can be used as a corrosion protection layer on surfaces that come into contact with cooling water, and it is widely used as an undercoat to improve the adhesion of electroplated coatings on plastic mouldings.

Shotblasting and Heat Treatment

To ensure the very best quality nickel plating, it’s very important that the surface is prepared properly. The best way to do this is through shotblasting and heat treatment solutions.

As nickel plating specialists, NiTEC have the capacity to shotblast components up to 20 tonnes in weight. To ensure a high standard of surface finish, we use Aluminium Oxide 180-220 grit for the heat treatment process. As well as this, we also offer chemical cleaning and activation processes.

The shot blast booth used for shotblasting and heat treatment has a capacity of 216m3 and is made from 316 stainless steel. These features help to minimise the levels of particles which settle on the work.

NiTEC’s heat treatment facility

The furnace in our heat treatment facility has a temperature range of 0-700 °C. NiTEC has two furnaces, furnace 1 is 1.5m x 1.5m x 2m high, and furnace 2 is 1.7m x 1.7m x 2.2m high.

Shotblasting solutions

We can create heat treatment profiles for many different requirements with our chart recording equipment that monitors the temperature changes of the furnace and the work. This means that we can be sure that the material gets up to the required temperature for exactly the right amount of time. Therefore, we eliminate the possibility of heat sinks on large components or mixed loads.

Heat treatment solutions

Heat treatment solutions can be used for stress relieving and de-embrittlement as pre-plate and post-plate treatments. Small components can be loaded onto shelves to maximise the heat treatment capacity, and minimise the cost of the treatment for the company.

NiTEC are also able to diffuse the electroless nickel layer into the steel using high temperature heat treatment solutions for sustained periods. This process doesn’t affect the increased corrosion protection that this type of deposit offers, making it ideal for the offshore oil industry and perfect for marine environments. It also has the benefit of giving the coating a degree of flexibility.

We do also offer electroless nickel plating as an option, the process of diffused nickel plating and bright copper plating.

Introducing NiTEC, Electroless Nickel Plating Specialists.

We are NiTech, specialists in electroless nickel plating.

Established in 1978, NiTEC (UK) Limited specialises in electroless nickel plating technology. Our comprehensive facilities enable us to prepare and plate all ferrous materials in common engineering use, including stainless steel, copper and its alloys and aluminium alloys.

We are located in Chesterfield, with easy access to the M1 motorway. To find out more about electroless nickel plating visit our website at http://www.electroless-nickel-plating.co.uk