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Need to do Zinc Plating on Stainless Steel

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Q. I am confused by my part supplier that Stainless Steel parts can't be coated with Blue Zinc. So he is giving me parts coated with Nickel. I need this part to be electrically conductive in addition to having a bright, nice finish. Please advise if SUS 304 can be coated with blue zinc, which would be contrary to what I am told. What Stainless Steel grade would you recommend to get the part conductive and look great at the same time? Thanks

Koe KG
Parts - Singapore


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A. Although I can't think of an example of an item that is blue zinc plated on stainless steel, I know of no reason to think it is impossible or even particularly challenging on a technical basis. But plating onto stainless steel usually must start with a nickel strike to activate the surface. The work would then need to go very quickly from this nickel strike tank to a zinc plating tank, and it may be logistically impractical on a production basis for many plating shops to quickly go from the nickel strike tank to the zinc plating tank if they are not set up for it.

Nickel is considered a decorative finish, more so than blue zinc, and is somewhat better for conductivity as well. The ideal decorative and conductive finish is gold plating, but that may be too expensive for the part in question, about which we'd like to hear more.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey

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Q. Thanks for your reply. The part is a spring type component used to conduct current from a battery. I have the part on hand now and the finish is quite dull with the nickel plating on. You mentioned that nickel is a good choice for finishing. Do you think that I might have been fleeced? As in the part was never plated? I'll like to achieve a chrome like finish on these parts.

Koe KG
- Singapore


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A. I can't comment on whether you may have been fleeced based on your assessment that the finish is "quite dull"--maybe the plater was trying to satisfy you with a dull nickel finish. But I can say that it doesn't need to be dull, and usually isn't in situations like this. The nickel plating can be quite bright.

But you might want to consider specifying "electroless nickel plating" because that is very widely used for applications like this. Look at the charging contacts of your cordless phones, radios, DC adaptors, etc. ... these are usually electroless nickel plated. Good luck.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


February 7, 2011appended

Q. Usually we don't go for plating on Stainless steel parts, but it is not like that it cannot be done, is it? Any concept

Somya Kumar
- India


A. Hi Somya. You need to start with a nickel strike process, then it can be done. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey



January 31, 2014

Q. Parts with combination of mild steel and stainless steel have to be plated with non-cyanide alkaline zinc and baked at 200 ° C for 4 hours. How to achieve perfect adhesion after completion of this process? Now there are blister issues. Undercoating with Wood's Nickel is given. Please suggest a suitable process sequence.

RAVI KUMAR
ARTEK - CHENNAI TAMILANDU INDIA


February 2, 2014

A. Hi Ravi,

To achieve good adhesion, steel parts shall be electro-activated by sodium hydrogensulphate/sodium bifluoride mixture follow by Wood's Nickel strike prior plating.

Regards,
David


David Shiu
- Singapore

February 20, 2014

A. Dear Ravi,

Please try the following process sequence.

1) Degreasing
2) Electrocleaning
3) Rinse
4) HCl Acid Activation
5) Woods Nickel strike
6) Rinse

Hope it will resolve your problem.

Note:
Please ensure where you are getting peel off problem. Whether in Zinc Layer or Nickel Layer.

Thanking You,

Karthikeyan Ponnusamy
- Bangalore, Karnataka, India

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