Electroless nickel plating process on medical devices

Can You Speed Up the Electroless Nickel Plating Process?

As the saying goes, when you're working on a project you can have two of three qualities: "fast, inexpensive, high quality." 

This rings true with a process like electroless nickel plating. Many aerospace, aviation, or military plating projects demand prompt turnaround times. Unfortunately, there’s no "fast track" to a chemical process that deposits metal ions onto a substrate, such as with electroless nickel plating. The benefits of this versatile and robust plating are what make the additional time worth the wait.

Protective Metal Plating With Electroless Nickel Requires Multiple Steps

It's important to understand the general protective metal plating process to grasp the context and why it takes longer than some of the alternatives.

  • First, the metal component being worked on is submerged in multiple baths. These pre-treatments contain specific chemicals that are intended to remove potential issues like oil, dirt, grease, and more from the surface. This helps ensure that when the deposits are added, everything is as successful as possible.
  • In some cases, the metal component may require additional treatment via an aqueous zincate solution — although not always.
  • Once properly cleaned, the metal part is submerged in the plating solution. It is here that nickel and phosphorus ions are deposited onto the surface. Depending on how thick the surface must be (more on this below), the process can be carried out at between 5 and 25 microns per hour.
  • After the plate application is complete, the part is removed from the solution and carefully inspected. We make sure that the desired thickness has been achieved and that no other issues are present. All this must happen in a precise fashion to ensure the integrity of the finished product. 

It is this extensive process that guarantees the performance of electroless nickel plating — and protective metal plating in general — in industries like aviation, aerospace, automotive, chemical processing, and more. Aerospace demands parts that can withstand some of the harshest environments imaginable. Precise and uniform plating ensures the integrity of components for rockets, satellites, aircraft, and more.

Additional Considerations For the Electroless Nickel Plating Process

There are further variables that can impact the turnaround time (TAT) for parts receiving electroless nickel plating:

  • Capacity: One of these is the overall capacity of the service provider you've chosen to work with. If you're teaming with a small business to fill a large order, it might get done to your quality standards, but it will likely take longer than when working with a company that has more resources at its disposal.
  • Barrels: Similarly, the size and number of barrels for electroless nickel barrel treatment will also impact the turnaround time. A high number of large barrels means that more parts can be treated at once, which gets the order completed faster.
  • Thickness: One more factor impacting the total time of the protective metal plating process is the required thickness of the plating. If you need that protective layer to be especially thick, it impacts the total dwell time in the bath.

One significant advantage to the protective metal plating process is that the uniform finish itself is heavily customizable in a way that alternative methods are not.  Metal Finishing Technologies acts as an experienced, dedicated finishing house that is capable of helping you achieve the results you need in the most effective way possible via protective metal plating. We're proud of the reputation we've been able to earn over the years as a team that offers high quality and fast turnaround times, with no exceptions.

So if you'd like to find out more information about the electroless nickel plating process, please contact us today. You can also click here to request a quote and we'll have it back to you in 24 hours or less, guaranteed.

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