Electroplating: Its Uses And Benefits

A highly versatile process for treating a variety of surfaces (known as substrates), electroplating delivers an impressive array of benefits. This has seen it become an integral part of many manufacturing industries, including automotive, electronics, aerospace and healthcare.

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A Leading Technique

Indeed, electroplating is so popular around the globe that its market value continues to rise year on year, as illustrated here: The reason for this impressive performance comes as no surprise to those who already work with products treated in this manner: electroplating ferrous and non-ferrous substrates (including polymers) delivers improvements to the original material such as increasing its thickness, protecting it from damage, and even simply improving its visual appeal.

A Powerful Means Of Protection

Electroplating a surface makes it more resistant to environmental conditions, including extremes of temperature and humidity. This helps to remove the risk of corrosion and means that parts with an electroplated treatment can last longer in even the harshest of conditions. For example, the automotive industry typically uses electroplating with nickel composites for its hardest working components, including plastic elements. Elsewhere, many aerospace parts, together with pipes used in the oil and gas industry, are electroplated to defend against corrosion, thereby extending the lifespan of valuable components. More information on this kind of electroplating can be found at specialist sites such as poeton.co.uk/advanced-treatments/apticote-460-nickel-composites/.

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Enhancing Performance

However, providing robust protection is not the only benefit offered by the electroplating process. Indeed, by varying the choice of metal to be plated onto the substrate, a variety of advantages can be delivered. The electronics industry makes use of copper electroplating techniques to increase the conductivity of many different components, including those used in semiconductors. Elsewhere, choosing titanium for electroplating allows manufacturers in the aerospace industry to ensure high levels of strength with a light total weight, whilst ensuring compliance with stringent US Department of Defense standards.

In the automotive sector, palladium is a popular choice for creating catalytic converters for vehicles. In fact, this element is able to effectively absorb the hydrogen that can damage sensitive components during their manufacture. Perhaps most impressive of all, electroplating can transform the outcomes for patients requiring medical implants, including replacement hip and knee joints. By electroplating implants with gold, silver, or titanium, medical device suppliers improve the biocompatibility of these items, as well as their durability, hardness, and resistance to corrosion.

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