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Plating Ultem 2300 and Composite Plastics


An ongoing discussion from 1999 through 2015 . . .

(1999)

Q. I need to get together a process for plating nickel, preferably EN on Ultem 2300. Ultem is a polyetherimide resin with a 30% glass content. I need to know how I should clean and or prep the surface for maybe a copper strike? This is something that I would like to do to parts in house rather than send out to a vender. I can get the equipment needed but do not know where to start. Our company currently Has a mid Phos. EN process that we could put on once the Ultem parts are prepared. Please help me out with this one!

Thanks for your help on a previous EN problem. John E.

John Elverum
- Paso Robles, California


(1999)

A. Dear John, Several commercial available processes do exist to electro plate Ultem. A good performance can be established by two possible routes.

Standard ABS electro plating process but with an electroless Cu step or a Sodium permanganate etch followed by an electroless Cu step. To improve the effectiveness a pre-etch, organic solvent soluble in water with surface active components, is advised.

The excellent adhesion found on electro plated Ultem is based on a chemical reaction between Copper and the Polyetherimide, in exact the imide ring. To create this high chemical bound an electroless copper is selected where an exposure to heat, baking, accelerate the creating of this chemical bound

Harry van Baal
- Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands



Plating of Unfilled Ultem

(2001)

Q. I'm looking for information on plating Ultem. I'd like to get a chrome or nickel finish on unfilled Ultem.

Jeff Cappiello
- Shrewsbury, Massachusetts


(2001)

A. ULTEM can be vacuum metallized as well as wet plated through an electroless process.

Ken Rudolph
- Louisville, Kentucky



Adhesive for bonding Ultem 2300 before plating?

(2003)

Q. I need to know what best to use to hold Ultem 2300 parts together that will allow proper plating, copper/nickel. We seem to be having trouble with blistering where the glued area is on our two part assembly.

Thank You,

Marty partridge
Purchasing Manager - Chatsworth, California, USA



(2004)

Q. Can this be a selective type of process to generate conductive traces on Ultem?

Ron Ciccone
OEM - Londonderry, New Hampshire



Chemical used to etch Ultem for POP

(2006)

Q. Hi,

I would like to know what chemical substances is best used for the adhesion process for etching on Ultem 2110 platic for the EMI plating. The problem I am facing now is that the current chemical I am using is eating up the plastic surface of not more that 0.02 mm per surface. Please assist.

Sham [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Injection Molder - Singapore


(2006)

? What chemical are you having the problem with, Sham. And what operating conditions are causing this problem? Thanks.
(People don't want to waste time suggesting what you're already unhappy with; plus we want to learn from your experience).

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


(2006)

Q. I am using a compound mixture of Sulphuric acid and Chromic Acid on this etching process at 10 mins time cycle and I have also tried time cycles of 1 min ~ 30 mins. The amount of surface being eaten up by the chemical is still the same, maximum of 0.02 mm. From what I have studied is that EMI or Electroless plating process is a process in which tin layer of plating substances is added to the existing parts. Not eating up the surface.

Sham [returning]
- Singapore


(2006)

A. Adding to Ted's advise, Ultem is a registered trademark from GE. Maybe you should ask them. They know their product and how to process it, and you are the customer.

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico


(2006)

A. Hello Sham. I see an on-line brochure for Ultem at http://www.plastoplan.com/download/ge_plastics_pdf_downloads/gep_Ultem%20Product%20Guide.pdf which says a special permanganate etch must be used (rather than the chromic-sulphuric etch which is normally used on ABS plastics). The brochure also notes the importance of using EPR (plating grade) Ultem rather than the standard grade. Good luck!

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey



Plating of cadmium on plastic PEEK and Ultem

(2007)

Q. Dear sir,

We are leading manufactures of connectors worldwide company. For our Aerospace as well as telecom we would like to plate CADMIUM over plastic as peek & ultem. Kindly suggest the flow chart of process & technical points to achieve correct results.At present I am in touch with Rohm & Hass, Enthone. Please guide us for this new plating.

Thanks,

KAMLESH M.BHATT.
DEPUTY MANAGER - PUNE, MAHARASTRA, INDIA


(2007)

A. This is simple. You answered it yourself. If you are using Rohm and Hass, and Enthone, then they will guide you.
Our company was a chemical supplier for years. We would have been wondering why you did not ask us for the answers. If you guys are one of the largest in Connectors, TRUST ME, they will give all answers that you may need.
Cadmium on plastics? Wow. Plastics is my field, but not Cad.
Regards,

Rob Coffie
Warren, Michigan, USA



Etching Ultem Plastic for Plating

March 15, 2009

Q. Dear Gentlemen
I am plant manager, running a factory which is having facilities to plate ABS Plastic.Our plant is fully automatic right from Electroless plating to Nickel, Gold and Chrome bright as well as matte finish.
We have a plan to do plating on Ultem plastic, Would you please advise what chemical I have to use for etching process to do plating on Ultem plastic? To see the properties of chemical and physical of Ultem Plastic please see the Ultem on internet.

Thanks and best regards,

Majeed Khan
plant manager - Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


March 28, 2009

A. Ultem is a difficult plastic to plate ,conventional chromic etchants not be able to help you
You have to add a special pre-etching .Do you have space for it in your line?.
You must consult your local supplier for the pre-etching

Ricardo Burstein
Bnei Berak, Israel




August 12, 2009

Q. Dear Ken,
Currently we are working on the same subject. Ultem is not supporting the ABS and other conducting processes. Please clear in detail.
Best Regards,

shafiuddin ahmed
Shafiuddin A. Mohammed
     metal coating shop
Dubai, United Arab Emirates


February 4, 2010

A. To help answer the question, we plate over a ton of Ultem a month and all of it has a glass filler. In our experience Unfilled Ultem can only be plated by industrial chemical plating if the surface has been pretreated by mechanical means.

Peter Stone
- Leicester, UK


December 4, 2010

A. There is new technology available to plate Ultem. Conventional methods consist of sandblasting or aggressive chemical etch/chemical cracking. We have worked with a new company on a new process whereby we can activate the surface of the plastic without damaging the surface as these alternatives do. We also achieve adhesion values 2-4 times greater.

Frank Wagner (Cleveland)
MacDermid, Inc.
supporting advertiser  
Waterbury, Connecticut



April 6, 2011

A. We offer a gas treatment for difficult plastics, such as PEEK and ULTEM, which permanently increases their surface energies without eroding or degrading the polymer. Our partner, the MacDermid Corporation, has developed a specific plating chemistry to create well adhered platings which pass the most stringent adhesion tests, including thermal shock.

John Wallace
- Troy, Michigan, USA



May 24, 2012

Q. Hi!

Plating on Ultem 9075. We are looking for the process cycle to activate and plate Ultem 9075.

Chemical manufacturers registered with Finishing.com please contact.

Thanks

shafiuddin ahmed
Shafiuddin A. Mohammed
     metal coating shop
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
outdated



March 20, 2013 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Hello,

Can you please tell me can the material ULTEM be plated? if yes, will you please give me the procedure how can I do gold plating on ULTEM..

Prakash Rajagoapal
plant controller - Bhubaneswar, Orissa, INDIA



Chrome plating PEI & Flame retardant Nylon components

November 18, 2015

Q. Hello everyone,

I am currently doing a deep study of the chrome plating techniques for 2 kinds of material :

- ULTEM 9085 which is a polyetherimide (PEI)
- PA 2241 a flame nylon retardant

My question is about the pretreatments of those thermoplastics before chrome plating.
I have understood that the highest quality plating must be done with electroplating, however I have not found any information about how to treat plastics material before plating to avoid roughness, dust deposits and to improve scratch resistance & adhesion.

If you know where can I find this kind of information I would be extremely grateful.

To all of you I wish a very nice day.

Alexandre

Alexandre BERNARD
- Strasbourg , France



Plating of ULTEM 9085

February 1, 2017

Q. Hi. I am doing some research at Nanyang Technological University. I wish to metal plate ULTEM 9085, either by electroless or by electroplating.

I have tried to contact a couple of companies for information (Macdermid etc), but they are pretty useless at communication. I have sent many emails to each company, as a customer.

We planned to just pay them to plate some test coupons so we could test the coupons.

As they don't seem to be interested in replying I figure it may be easier to plate the coupons ourselves. But there is a lack of information on plating ULTEM 9085.

Has anyone here actually achieved a metal plate on ULTEM 9085? And could you please offer any guidance on how to do it?

Many thanks.

phillip keane
Nanyang Technological University - Singapore


February 2017

thumbs up signHi Phillip. I have never found Macdermid Inc. [a finishing.com supporting advertiser] slow to respond. But there are possible issues: you can't expect them to provide trade secret proprietary information, and you must clearly identify yourself, not expect forthright communications with joe_blow@gmail.com, who could be an offshore competitor, for example :-)

Regards,

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

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