Metal plating offers many benefits, including improved strength, longevity and electrical conductivity of parts. Engineers, manufacturers and artists take advantage of these benefits in a variety of ways.
Engineers often use metal plating to increase the strength and durability of various designs. It is possible to increase the tensile strength of 3D printed parts by 400% or more, for example by coating them with metals such as copper and nickel. Placing metal skins on polymer parts improves their resistance to chemical exposure and environmental factors such as UV light.
Metal plating is an effective way to add decorative metal finishes to customer products, sculptures, figurines and artwork. Many manufacturers also choose plated substrates to create lighter parts that are easier and cheaper to move and transport.
Metal plating also has the advantage of being electrically conductive. Since metals are inherently conductive, plating is a great way to improve the conductivity of your parts. Antennas, electronic components and other parts can be plated to improve performance.
Although metal plating has many benefits, its limitations lie in the complexity and hazards of the process itself. Workers performing electroplating can be exposed to hexavalent chromium if proper precautions are not taken. Workers must have a well-ventilated work space. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued numerous documents outlining the risks involved in metal plating.
Because of the expertise required and the hazards involved, many engineers and designers choose to hire a third-party plating manufacturer who specializes in this process. While metal electroplating can be performed in-house, outsourcing is often the easiest solution.
With state-of-the-art stamping equipment and engineering expertise, Orienson has built a reputation in the industry for solving a variety of problems for our customers over the years. We produce metal stampings such as terminals, connectors, contacts, fasteners, clips, cages, springs, brackets and inserts for a wide range of applications such as automotive, aerospace, medical, fiber optics and more. If you want to learn more or find a suitable hardware stamping partner, please feel free to contact us.