Zinc Plating In Birmingham | The Step-by-Step Process

Rust is the greatest enemy of just about any type of metal. In fact, its corrosive effects can be extremely damaging. That’s where our zinc plating service in Birmingham comes in. At EC Williams we can perform zinc nickel plating on stainless steel as well as on a wide range of materials.

To avoid these damaging effects, industries will use zinc nickel plating to protect metals such as iron and steel from corrosion. Zinc coating involves the electrodeposition of a thin layer of zinc plating onto the surface of another metal object. We refer to this object as a substrate. The zinc coating creates a physical barrier that combats against rust, and protects the substrate from corrosion. Many will refer to zinc as the corrosion-prevention workhorse. It is a popular choice for many applications including automotive plating. 

The Step-By-Step Zinc Nickel Plating Process

The process of zinc nickel plating is complex and requires a high level of skill to effectively protect the substrate metal. As leading zinc nickel plating suppliers, we are well accustomed to the process. The process also requires specialised tools and machinery such as a rectifier, plating station, ancillary tank for proper dissolution of the zinc anode and a reservoir. Here’s a brief overview of how our zinc plating Birmingham service process works at EC Williams:

  • Preparing and cleaning the substrate — Before plating, the substrate must be thoroughly cleaned. This ensures the best possible protection from rust or corrosion. Contaminants or debris can prevent the zinc coating from complete adhesion, which means the substrate is not fully protected. Generally, we use alkaline detergent solution to clean the surface, which is followed by a process called ‘pickling’. This process is the application of an acid treatment to remove surface rust. 
  • Preparing the plating solution — An electrolyte solution is used to coat the substrate. The solution consists of zinc metal ionic and various chemicals that help plating process. We submerge the substrate in the solution (inside what is also known as the plating bath). This solution helps produce the desired chemical and physical properties of the finished product. Types of zinc electrolyte solutions include:

Acid zinc — Efficient with excellent coverage. 

Alkaline zinc — Excellent thickness distribution and ductility. 

Choosing The Right Plating Procedure

— Once the solution has finished being prepared, you’re ready to begin the zinc nickel plating process. This could be one of two methods; rack plating or barrel plating. Many will often use rack plating to electroplate brittle, large and complex parts that are difficult to plate using other processes. The parts mounted to a jig, known as a “rack” and are then submerged in the plating bath. 

For smaller parts, barrel plating will be used. This is instead of a plating bath. The parts will be placed inside a barrel and turned, which can deliver a more even finish.

  • The electrical current — Electroplating is also known as electrodeposition. The reason being, you use an electrical current when depositing metal ions onto the surface of the substrate. In zinc plating, the substrate serves as the as the cathode. A DC current starting at the anode is introduced into the plating bath and flows to the substrate. The zinc ions are then deposited onto the substrate surface. The current flows from the cathode back to the anode to complete the circuit.
  • Post-treatment process — Once the electrodeposition process is complete, the substrate is ready for post-treatment. This involves rinsing the substrate in water to remove any remaining contaminants. This may require several rounds. Finally, all that’s left to do is thoroughly dry the substrate. Sometimes, if further protection is required passivates can be used in the post-treatment process. 

Zinc Plating In Birmingham

If you have any questions regarding zinc plating near me, we have years of experience and highly trained staff ready to give you extensive technical advice and support. As one of the country’s leading zinc nickel plating companies, we will go the extra mile to meet your plating requirements.

Call us at EC Williams today on 0121 236 2524. Alternatively, you can email us at plating@ecwilliams.co.uk. Our West Midlands zinc plating team will be happy to help. 

If you have found this blog helpful, you may wish to read our previous blog on Zinc Plate Passivate.