Zinc Electroplating – Process Overview
One of the astounding benefits of zinc electroplating is its ability to significantly enhance the corrosion resistive power of its underlying substrate. Instead of merely forming a solid physical barrier, acting as a ‘sacrificial’ coating, even if zinc coating itself gets corrode, it’ll protect the metal substrate under all adverse environmental circumstance. Moreover, zinc forms zinc oxide as it reacts with the oxygen and its oxide subsequently reacts with water and form zinc hydroxide.
With carbon dioxide exposure it produces a thin film of zinc carbonate on the coated metal reinforcing its corrosive potency. In addition, some of the appealing benefits of zinc plating include its abundance that leads to low-cost plating solution, flexibility with a range of plating methods, malleability, and tolerance to high temperature. Being plated, it never stresses upon the base metal, offers the advantage of solderability, color options, sheen and superior aesthetic.
Zinc electroplating involves a multifaceted process which demands you to look for expert plating companies that have the substantial infrastructure, including machinery, setup, and skilled labor to supply you with industry standard zinc plating metal parts. Here’s an outline of how comprehensive is zinc electroplating process:
Zinc Electroplating: Steps
General Requirements: plating setting, additional tanks for dissolution of zinc anode, a reservoir, rectifier, etc.
Thorough cleaning of the metal substrate before plating is a key concern to get the best plating outcome. Commonly, for surface cleaning, use of alkaline detergent followed by sulfuric/hydrochloride acid that refers to pickling is carried out. Mind well, that any kind of contaminant remains on the surface will prevent the quality of adhesion of the zinc electroplating.
Zinc plating entails bathing of the object within a specially formed electrolyte solution. The zinc’s ionic solutions and compounds make the progress of plating smooth and the productivity gains the desired chemical/ physical properties. Common form of zinc electrolyte solutions includes acid zinc and alkaline zinc. While acid zinc-based plating is widely accomplished due to its greater effectiveness, faster deposition and higher coating power; alkaline acid are less effective, and its deposition speed is slow. However, it provides ductility and higher thickness distribution of plating.
Depending on the type of plating objects, the procedure of zinc electroplating is determined by your plating company and as per your approval. Among popular zinc plating procedures, barrel plating is widely carried out for plating smaller and volume parts like screws, bolts, fasteners, etc. However, for relatively larger objects with complex designs like lighting accessory, automatic tools, rack plating is the right choice. Choosing the right plating procedure helps get cost-effective uniform product finishing as per market demands.
In the main electroplating session, electrical charge is deployed to deposit metal ions over the metal substrate. Also refers to electro-deposition, while plating the substrate is used as the cathode. As DC current is passed through solution the zinc ions moves and start depositing onto the surface of metal.
On completion of electro-deposition process, the parts require needed post treatment. Common procedure involves bathing of plated parts in clean water that helps remove the remaining remnants, if any. Finally, the parts are thoroughly dried and supplied to the customer.
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