To improve the characteristics of metal products, metal finishing processes were developed and improved over the last several hundred years.  Today, we have many metal finishing technologies deployed by industrial manufacturers to improve wear, corrosion, hardness, appearance and other properties.  Some of these processes include electroplating, electroless plating, anodizing, galvanizing, phosphating, passivation and electro-polishing.   Chicago Plastic Systems provides many of the products utilized by these processes such as process tanks, corrosive ventilation, waste treatment, containment pans and more.


Electroless plating

Electroless plating as the name implies is the plating of metal onto a substrate without the use of electricity.  Besides not requiring electrical current in the process, electroless plating deposits a very even layer of metal on the base part regardless of part geometry.  It is also less costly than electroplating.   Electroless plating creates a finish that is highly corrosion resistant making it a good choice for pump parts, hydraulic parts & oil and gas


Electroplating uses the process of hydrolysis to plate metal onto a substrate.  With the use of direct electric current, and a specialized chemical containing a salt of the metal to be plated, the process causes the metal salt to change the composition and deposit the metal onto the substrate.  The result is a very thin layer of new metal covering the base part.  Some metals used in electroplating include silver, copper, gold and chromium (chrome).  There are different types of electroplating such as barrel plating, rack plating, strip plating and mass plating.  Each of these uses specialized carriers to hold the parts in the solution.  If you need to improve your plating process line, contact us today for a site visit and consultation.


Electropolishing is similar to electroplating in reverse.  Bypassing a direct electrical current through a batch of acid-containing the part, oxidation occurs and dissolves small amounts of metal on the surface of the part.  The metal removed is generally sharp corners or irregularities on the surface of the part.  This results in a clean, smooth surface that looks shiny, and is easier to clean.  This process is heavily used with stainless steel (although some other metals can be electropolished) and can polish parts that would be difficult to polish by other means. 


Anodizing is an electrolytic process used to increase the protective oxide layer on metal parts.  Most commonly used on aluminum, but titanium, magnesium and a few other metals can be anodized.  It is achieved by passing an electrical current through an acid bath which releases hydrogen and oxygen creating a build-up of aluminum oxide   Anodizing improves corrosion resistance and wear resistance on parts and can be used for decorative purposes. Anodizing is commonly used for a wide range of applications, producing parts that you’ll regularly find in aircraft, automotive, consumer goods, sporting equipment and electronics.

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