Apr 29

Increase Metal Hardness with Heat Treatment Solutions

Here at Electroless Nickel Plating Specialist, our heat treatments services can be used for stress relieving and de-embrittlement as both pre-plate and post-plate treatments.  We often heat treat metals in order to increase their strength and wear resistance.

We also offer high temperature heat treatment solutions for sustained periods, which are used to diffuse the electroless nickel layer into the steel, which gives flexibility to the coating. This process does not affect the increased corrosion protection offered by this type of deposit.

Heat treatment refers to the controlled heating of metals in order to alter their properties without changing their shape.

 

From the heat treatment of specialist nickel alloy grades, to stress relieving of mild steel fabrications, the heat treatment services at Electroless Nickel Plating Specialist are monitored to ensure the highest quality.

Our heat treatment furnaces

The heat treatment facility at Electroless Nickel Plating Specialist has furnaces with ranges of 0 – 700°C.  Furnace 1 has dimensions of 1.5m x 1.5m x 2m high, and furnace 2 has dimensions of 1.7m x 1.7m x 2.2m high.

The staff at Electroless Nickel Plating Specialist use chart recording equipment to monitor the temperature changes of both the furnace and the work. This enables us to create heat treatment profiles which determine shotblasting solutions for many different requirements.

Our monitoring also ensures the material achieves the required temperature for the required time, in turn eliminating heat sinks on larger components or mixed loads. Small components can be loaded onto shelves to maximise the heat treatment capacity and minimise the cost of the treatment for our customers.

Apr 25

Nickel Plated Benches for Thomas Heatherwick

Electroless Nickel Plating Specialist have recently had the pleasure of nickel plating a number of benches for the English designer Thomas Heatherwick.

Known for his innovative designs and creative use of engineering and materials to produce public monuments and sculptures, Heatherwick was asked to design the Olympic Cauldron used at the London 2019 opening and closing ceremonies.

Famed for his adventurous and original use of manufacturing processes and materials across the disciplines of architecture, art and design, Thomas Heatherwick is also renowned for his innovative ideas at the forefront of manufacturing and design practice.

Thomas Heatherwick’s extruded benches began life in Heatherwick’s design and architecture studio when working on a project that involved manufacturing aluminium components through an industrial process called extrusion.

What is extrusion?

The process of extrusion involves squeezing heated metal through a shaped hole which is known as die. The heated metal produces straight aluminium lengths in this way, with a precisely shaped cross section.

However, extrusion is liable to produce very contorted shapes when the metal initially squeezes through the die. This is because the metal becomes snagged and warped as it struggles to fit. The form eventually straightens out and usually during this process; the contorted end is chopped off and melted back down.

However, Thomas Heatherwick considered the mutated sections to be more interesting by far than the straight parts, and set out to produce more warped lengths of extruded aluminium on a much larger scale.

The designer then wondered if it would be possible to use the extrusion process to create seating, much of which was needed at the time to furnish new airports and stations being built around the world. Heatherwick saw it as a simple but effective alternative to ordinary furniture that had to made up of several components and materials. These extruded seats could be made all in one go, with the legs and back of the seat formed all at once.

The Heatherwick studio hunted for a machine capable of making this dream a reality for more than 16 years, until they finally came across a new extrusion machine that had been built in the Far East. The machine was designed for use in the aerospace industry and had the capability of exerting ten thousand tonnes of pressure. The factory it came from could not actually guarantee the outcome of the experiment because the machine had never been used to its full capacity.

Nickel plating aluminium benches

Using this specialised die, Heatherwick and his studio staff made a series of aluminium benches with straight, extruded lengths, and contrasting raw, contorted ends. The sweeping parallel lines created through the extrusion process are contorted into random, gnarled endings and the arbitrary swirling forms of the bench are created through the initiation and termination of the extrusion process. Electroless Nickel Plating Specialist were asked to nickel plate the benches to provide a high quality surface that would be very resistant to wear. To view these benches, please click here to visit the Heatherwick studio website.

Heatherwick’s projects take the design process to its broadest reaches, from entire buildings to handbags, bridges to furniture, and always involve a radical approach to manufacturing processes and use of materials. Heatherwick is now working on more commercial products using this process to create components for architectural construction, facade design and mass produced seating ranges.

Apr 24

Shot Blasting for Classic Car Restoration

Shot blasting is a great way of cleaning all types of metal.

The process of shot blasting will move grease, paint, rust, plastic, rubber insets and paint adhesive, making it perfect for the restoration of classic cars, garden furniture and steel window frames. By removing these substances from the surface of the metal, it is then ready to be restored.

We recently had the pleasure of shot blasting the chassis of a 1965 Corvette Stingray brought in by a customer from Nottingham. We were able to carefully remove all the remaining paint and build up of corrosion using shot blasting, as the chassis itself was very badly corroded and needed a lot of repair work. The customer has now rebuilt the car to restore its former glory.

Our chilled iron shot-blasting facilities

Here at Electroless Nickel Plating Specialist, we pride ourselves on our excellent chilled iron shot-blasting services. We have the ability to shot blast components of up to 20 tonnes in weight, and the capacity to shot blast components of up to 216m³. Our stainless steel booth minimises the levels of particles which settle on the work and we also offer the service of blasting with aluminium oxide 180-220 grit, which produces a very fine surface finish.

If you have a current restoration or repair project and would like more information about shot blasting, please visit the Electroless Nickel Plating Specialist website.

Apr 15

30 Year Sub-Sea Guarantees with Diffused Nickel Plating

The simple process of diffused nickel plating is the most effective nickel coating to ensure the highest levels of corrosion resistance via the total encapsulation method of plating. Diffused nickel plating is proven to be more corrosion resistant than even the highest grade stainless steel, and much cheaper. 

Diffused nickel plating is so resistant to corrosion, particularly in marine environments, that our customers give mild steel plated in this way 30 year sub-sea guarantees. When independent salt spray testing was carried out on diffused nickel plated components, the experiment was abandoned after 2000 hours because no corrosion could be detected. The diffused nickel plating process has been extensively used in the end-fittings for flexible pipe lines and top-side equipment.

Benefits of diffused nickel plating

  • Cost-saving
  • Enhanced performance when compared to even the highest grade stainless steels
  • Simple plating process

We also specialise in electroless nickel plating technology, the process of copper plating, as well as shotblasting and heat treatment .

Apr 15

Choosing Between Electroplating and Electroless Nickel Plating

What is electroplating?

Electroplating is a process that uses an electrical current to dissolve metal so that a metal coating is deposited on an electrode. This process is called electrodeposition. The part that is to be plated is called the cathode and the anode is made of the metal which is to be plated onto the component.

The parts to be plated are then placed in a solution called an electrolyte, which contains metal salts and ions which allow the electricity to flow through it. The power supply then directs the current to the anode, which oxidises the metal atoms that comprise it and allows them to dissolve in the solution.

Then, the dissolved metal ions plate onto the cathode from the electrolyte solution. The rate at which the cathode is plated is always equal to the rate that the anode is dissolved.

What is electroplating used for?

Electroplating is used to change the surface properties of an object. For example, electroplating may be used to build up the thickness on a part that is slightly undersized, or to form objects by electroforming.

Electroplating may also be used where abrasion, wear resistance, and corrosion protection are an issue, to increase lubricity and for aesthetic purposes. Unlike electroless nickel plating however, the process of electroplating makes the component subject to changes in the density of the current. This results in variations in the thickness of the electroplated deposit.

What is electroless nickel plating?

Electroless nickel plating is an auto-catalytic reaction which is used to deposit a coating of nickel on a substrate. The metal is deposited when a reducing agent reacts with metal ions. Unlike electroplating, it is not necessary to pass an electric current through the solution to form a deposit.

What are the advantages of electroless nickel plating over electroplating?

Electroless nickel plating has a completely uniform coating. This means that it is a perfect solution for critical high-end engineering items including defense, healthcare, automotive and aerospace.

Electroless nickel can be deposited to produce a wide range of coating thicknesses, with uniformity and minimum variation from point to point. This uniformity can be maintained in plating both large and small parts and on components that are fairly complex, with recessed areas.

Electroplating of such parts, on the other hand, would produce thickness variation and possible voids in the plating when coating holes and inside diameters. Also, with the proper pre-plate catalyst, electroless nickel plating can deposit on non-conductive surfaces.

What is electroless nickel plating used for?

Electroless nickel plating is a plating technique commonly used to prevent corrosion and wear. The electroless nickel plating process is a high quality, cost effective solution to coating metals such as mild steel or stainless steel and can substantially extend the life of a component.

Electroless nickel plating is extremely resistant to corrosion and will therefore extend the life of everything it coats.  This makes it ideal for coating parts exposed to harsh environments such as those operating in the marine, oil and gas and defense industries. Therefore, it can also reduce the cost of repair and replacement parts.

Apr 11

7 Great Reasons to Choose Electroless Nickel Plating

Here at Electroless Nickel Plating Specialist, we know that no other metal coating has the fantastic combination of properties offered by electroless nickel. Here are 7 great reasons to choose electroless nickel plating!


1. Corrosion resistance and corrosion protection

One of the most common reasons for the use of electroless nickel coatings in functional applications is its excellent corrosion resistance. In the very corrosive conditions encountered in drilling and producing oil wells, for example, electroless nickel has the ability to withstand the combination of corrosive chemicals and abrasion.

2. Wear resistance

With the appropriate heat treatment, electroless nickel plating can be hardened up to 950vhn. This makes it ideal for areas exposed to friction and wear.

3. Hardness

A great feature of electroless nickel plating is its hardness. Hardness values for electroless nickel deposits are in the range of 450-750 VHN, depending on the phosphorous content of the deposit.

4. Lubricity

Electroless nickel plating has natural self lubricating properties, which eliminates the need for liquid lubricants on components.

5. Solderability and bondability

Electroless nickel-phosphorus alloys are easily soldered with a highly active acid flux.

6. Uniformity of deposit regardless of geometries

Electroless nickel plating has a completely uniform coating. It’s a perfect solution for critical high-end engineering items including defence, healthcare, automotive and aerospace. Electroless nickel can be deposited to produce a wide range of coating thicknesses, with uniformity and minimum variation from point to point.

This uniformity can be maintained in plating both large and small parts and on components that are fairly complex, with recessed areas. Electroplating of such parts, on the other hand, would produce thickness variation and possible voids in the plating when coating holes and inside diameters.

7. Nonmagnetic properties of high-phosphorus nickel alloy

Electroless nickel deposits containing greater than 8 percent phosphorus are considered to be essentially nonmagnetic as plated.

For more information about electroless nickel plating and more great reasons to choose nickel as your plating material, visit the Electroless Nickel Plating Specialist website, become a fan of our Facebook page, or why not follow us on Twitter?

Apr 04

Advantages of a High Phosphorous Electroless Nickel Alloy

An electroless nickel coating is a dense alloy of nickel and phosphorus. The amount of phosphorus co-deposited can range from less than 2% to more than 12%, depending upon bath formulation, operating pH and bath age.

An electroless nickel coating with a high phosphorous content is extremely effective in the oil, gas and coal industry. These environments are highly corrosive and therefore require a phosphorous content of more than 10%.

Phosphorous content in electroless nickel deposits can vary from 1 – >12% by weight and the variation can be controlled to result in a number of deposit types.

High Phosphorus Deposits

  • Typically contain 10-12% phosphorus
  • Very high corrosion resistance
  • Complete lack of magnetic response.
  • Most conditions in the highly corrosive oil, gas and coal industry require deposits with a high phosphorus content (>10%).

Low Phosphorus Deposits

  • Typically contain 2-5% phosphorus.
  • Improved hardness and wear characteristics
  •  Higher temperature resistance
  •  Increased corrosion resistance in alkaline environments.
  • Best suited to the chloro-alkali industry, such as the transportation of liquid soda.
  • Enhanced solderability and bondability, especially in electronic applications.

Mid Phosphorus Deposits

  • Typically contain 6-9% phosphorus
  • Bright and aesthetically pleasing
  • Good hardness and wear resistance
  • Moderate corrosion resistance

Alkaline nickel-phosphorus

  • Plate at a relatively low temperatures (75-140°F, 24-60°C)
  • Suitable for plating on plastics and other nonconductive materials
  • Suitable for use on zincated aluminum.
Apr 02

Nickel Plating Components for Rolls-Royce Oil and Gas Division

Electroless nickel plating is of course our speciality here at Electroless Nickel Plating Specialist. Our capacity for electroless nickel plating large parts cannot be matched in the UK. We were recently approached by Rolls-Royce with the prospect of electroless nickel plating a component for their oil and gas division.

Of course famous for making high quality cars, Rolls Royce are also world leaders in providing power
systems and services for use at sea, on land and in the air.

Rolls-Royce’s energy business supplies gas turbines, compressors and diesel power units to customers around the world and is a world leader in the supply of power for onshore and offshore oil and gas applications.

 

Operating in four major global market sectors, marine, energy, civil aerospace, and defense aerospace, we were of course delighted to help such a large and successful company.

If you would like to receive updates and news from Electroless Nickel Plating Specialist regarding exciting projects such as this electroless nickel plating for Rolls-Royce, why not ‘Like’ our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter?