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If you've recently ventured into metal fabrication because you're working on a new product concept, you may be talking with your fabricator about all sorts of details that you're unfamiliar with. For example, your fabricator will ask how you want the metal finished. If you don't know a lot about metal finishing options, one that you should consider is electroplating. Here is a look at the basics you should know about electroplating as a finishing choice for your metal projects.
What Is Electroplating?
As its name might suggest, electroplating is the process of using an electrical current to adhere a coating of a specific metal type onto an object made from a different type of metal. It is completed by submerging the metal object into an electrolyte solution that contains dissolved ions of the metal you wish to cover it with. Then, an electrical current is introduced to draw the metal ions from the solution onto the metal object, forming a coating on the metal.
Why Consider Electroplating?
There are many different reasons to consider electroplating for your metal finishing projects. In fact, electroplating gives you the option to address all sorts of potential concerns with your metal products.
For example, if you're fabricating something that needs to withstand extreme temperatures but your base metal is more vulnerable to temperature changes than you would like, you can have the final product electroplated with a metal that is more resistant to temperature. This creates a protective barrier against temperature changes to protect the object without sacrificing the metal you wanted to use for fabrication.
Additionally, if you're looking for additional protection against the corrosion due to the environment that the final product will be in, electroplating can provide you with that as well. You simply opt for a coating of a metal that has a greater corrosion resistance to help protect your item from damage.
When your fabrication process requires a softer metal but you want your final product to be stronger, you should consider using electroplating to resolve the problem. You can opt for electroplating with a metal that is stronger and more durable, providing the structural support and strength that you're looking for without sacrificing the pliability that you needed during fabrication.
If you need your final product to be conductive, either for heat or electricity, you can electroplate the metal with a finish that will help to provide that conductivity. Your electroplating contractor can help you to explore the options to determine what coating will be best for the conductivity that you need.
Finally, electroplating is also ideal for cosmetic purposes. If you're looking to set your product apart with a shiny gold or copper finish, for example, you can easily do that with electroplating. This allows you to fabricate from any type of metal, especially when you're concerned about durability, such as with a gold finish. Gold can be difficult to fabricate with if it's too soft, so you can use a stronger metal and then finish it with gold electroplating to get the appearance that you need.
Look into electroplating finishes today.Share