Metal Plating Types and Their Impact on the Final Product

Plating is the technique of applying a different metal to the surface of a product or workpiece. Minimising corrosion, modifying conductivity, improving wear, increasing solderability, lowering friction, increasing heat resistance, and hardening the material are some prominent advantages of plating services.

Plating protects a part or component from potentially harmful external elements and improves the part’s look. It is possible to classify coatings as either commercial or industrial. Standard marketable products undergo a commercial decorative coating to enhance their appearance and strength. Silverware, specific tools, and jewellery all have commercial metal coatings. In contrast, industrial coatings protect and strengthen parts and components for operating ideally. These products often end up the electronics, automobiles, IoT things, etc., so upholding viability is crucial. 

This article looks at many plating methods, how they affect materials, and how these processes impact precise machining.


The most common plating method is electroplating. Using an electrical current, it dissolves positively charged metal ions in a chemical solution. The negatively charged side of the circuit, which is the material undergoing plating, attracts the positively charged metal ions.

Electroplating facilitates the coating of the plated substance in a smooth, even, and quick manner, effectively changing the material’s surface. Cleaning, striking, electrochemical deposition, pulse electroplating, and brush electroplating are a few steps and processes included in these plating services.

Electroplating has the following benefits:

• It’s used to give a material a protective coating, a decorative look, or change its qualities for technical purposes.

• It improves the workpiece’s chemical, physical, and mechanical qualities, affecting its machined behaviour.

Common Types of Electroplating:

  1. Chrome Plating: 

Chrome plating is an electroplating procedure that coats metal with chromium to protect it from the environment. Metal surfaces can be swiftly corroded and damaged by moist air, rain, and other weathering forces. However, a high-quality chrome finish acts as a protective barrier, ensuring that products have a long-lasting appearance. Chrome plating is divided into harsh or industrial chrome and decorative chrome.

  1. Gold Plating: 

Gold plating is a good corrosion preventative and deterrent. A nickel coating is applied over the gold layer for electronic connectors for increased protection. Gold has the advantages of electrical conductivity, ductility, and corrosion resistance at any temperature. 

  1. Copper Plating

Malleability, conductivity, corrosion resistance, lubricity, and antibacterial properties are all advantages of copper plating. Because of its excellent compatibility with other metals, it’s ideal for use as a secondary plating or coating. Copper plating is commonly used to manufacture electronic components such as circuit boards and connections.

Electroless Plating:

Electroless plating is called so because it is a plating procedure that does not require the use of external electric power. These plating services entail a chemical reaction that reduces metal atoms, which results in a solid layer of plating metal being applied to the metal.

Electroless plating has the following benefits: 

• It is appropriate for various materials and does not require external electricity or plating baths, lowering expenses.

• It’s a time-consuming procedure that can’t produce thick plates.

Some more plating services are:

• Tin plating is utilised in metal cans for food storage and cooking equipment, among other plating functions.

• Due to its resistance to saltwater corrosion, cadmium plating is used to construct boats and marine equipment. 

• Zinc plating protects vehicle surfaces and is also used to plate fasteners such as nails and bolts.

Immersion Plating:

Immersion plating entails submerging one metal in a solution containing metal ions from a nobler metal. Immersion plating is a more time-consuming method used to coat less noble metals with nobler metals. Chemically inert metals are known as nobler metals like gold, platinum, and silver.

Immersion Plating has the following benefits:

  1. It results in only a thin coverage of plating. 
  2. It seems to be of poorer adhesion quality, where the plating doesn’t ‘stick’ as firmly to the base metal.

Metal plating services modify the properties and end product’s material quality. Understanding the effects of plating on your workpieces entails weighing the advantages and disadvantages of plating, as well as how plating affects machining. 

Consult your precision machining provider about the best plating services options for your project.

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