Metal plating can give component a fresh look and make them stronger, which extends their lifespans. There are several options when choosing which type of metal plating to go with to create the look and performance. There are 5 common types of plating process on machined parts, Nickel, Chrome, Zinc, Copper and Tin plating.
Nickel plating is popular for household items and gives them a sleek, modern look. Nickel is commonly used on aluminum, stainless steel, and copper items, though it can bond to other metals as well. The process for plating items with nickel is electroless, which makes it a simpler, more environmentally-friendly choice. Nickel is great for table and chair legs. A high phosphorous nickel alloy can increase the strength and rust resistance of the items it’s applied to. It is a great alternative to silver.
Chrome plating gives metal a bright silver-toned finish that stands out. It’s also a good choice for industrial projects because it reduces the risk of rust and increases the item’s resistance to friction. Chrome plating is usually applied through an electroplating process.
Zinc is available in abundance, which keeps costs lower than some other plating types. Zinc plating gives metal a bluish gray appearance and is common on small metal parts that might be exposed to moisture. Screws, bolts, and other small parts coated in zinc are less likely to rust than many other finishes.
Copper plating is an expensive option that gives metal a bronze-colored hue, though it can also be blackened for an antique or vintage appearance. While copper plating can stand on its own, it’s also used as a pre-treatment for other metal plating types, such as nickel and chrome, because it makes it easier for subsequent coatings to stick to the metal. Copper is a great metal for metal frames, car parts and screws.
Tin plating gives metals a silver appearance that has more of a grayish undertone than most silver and nickel finishes. Items coated in tin can have a matte or bright finish. This plating type is an excellent choice for outdoor furniture, metal fencing, and food preparation and serving items due to its excellent rust resistance. Tin is a very common metal, which lowers production costs.