Electroplating: Overcoming Hurdles For Wave and Tidal Energy Generation

When it comes to metal plating, it’s safe to say we have a lot of expertise here at EC Williams. With over fifty years of experience under our belts, electroplating parts is something we have grown to be very good at. In addition, we have become experts in corrosion resistant metal plating. In fact, now serving industries all over the country, we’ve established an unbeatable reputation for ourselves as leading electroplaters in Birmingham. 


Metal Plating Parts

Plating metal parts is what we specialise in, so with this in mind we’ve seen our fair share of metal components. Electroplating is usually needed to provide parts with a protective surface finish. Depending on the type of electroplating, the finish protects the part from corrosion and exposure to certain elements or environments that can jeopardise the part’s overall performance.


What industries use electroplating?

Due to the high level of functionality with electroplating, the protective surface finish is used across a wealth of different industries including:

  • Automotive
  • Electronics
  • Medical
  • Aviation
  • Defence


Further Possibilities For Electroplating

Electroplating is used on lots of different parts, from small bolts and screws through to large aircraft engine parts. One sector that we feel doesn’t utilise electroplating technology enough is the energy sector.

Due to the constant advancements in technology and the growth of the population rapidly increasing alongside it, the world is seeing a steady depletion of energy resources. Today, most of our energy comes from coal, nuclear, natural gas, wind, oil, and solar power. However, we feel that kinetic energy deriving from tidal power should be invested in much more than it currently is. After all, the ocean covers more than 70% of the planet.

The UK itself is an island surrounded by sea, and as a result, wave and tidal power has the potential to deliver 20% of the UK’s electricity.


So why aren’t we using more waves and tidal power?

A common misconception about the lack of investment in wave power is that there are challenges regarding turbines submerged in water. Due to the turbines being made from metal, one could assume that corrosion could easily take place and lead to a poor performing wind turbine farm in the sea.

However, if you take into consideration piers which have been built into the sea, the argument of corrosion is significantly diluted. This is especially the case given that many piers have lasted over a hundred years.


Should we worry about corrosion?

As proven with many of our parts and of course piers, corrosion doesn’t need to be a cause for concern in this day and age. Electroplating technology means that corrosion has actually more or less been a problem of the past. This is with parts being able to have the highest levels of protection against corrosion and rust. As well as anything else that could compromise the safety of the component.


Hurdles for wave and tidal power

Taking corrosion out of the equation, there are still a few significant hurdles getting in the way of relying too much on wave and tidal power.


Two significant barriers are:

  • Early-stage development costs
    The costs of developing such devices to produce energy from the ocean is incredibly expensive. Due to the fact they are not manufactured on a scale right now. Every device must be uniquely designed and constructed. Also the process is a long one which requires a lot of funding. Most of which is relied on from governments.
  • Environmental impact
    Large devices being placed into an active underwater ecosystem is likely to have some form of impact on ocean life. Spinning blades, leaking lubricants, and emit noises can all cause trouble for the aquatic animals. With little data right now, going full-scale with wave and tidal power could severely damage life beneath the waves.


Looking for a Corrosion Resistant Plating? Contact EC Williams

We are very optimistic about exploring new ways to create energy. Also we hope that the challenges surrounding ocean energy equipment will be overcome as more knowledge is gained. One thing is for sure; tough and long-lasting equipment will be non-negotiable.

If you’re looking to strengthen the performance and protection of your metal parts, or learn more about corrosion resistant plating, then get in touch with EC Williams today. Explore our website for more information, or call 0121 236 2524 to speak to a member of our team.

If you have found this blog helpful, you may wish to read our previous blog on Nickel Electroplating.