Plating on Steel and Stainless

Iron is the most widely used metal in the world, from seat buckles to steel exhaust pipes. Rusting greatly reduces the strength of iron and steel structures, and it is, therefore, a major economic and safety problem. We can reduce the oxidation of iron, and in some cases eliminate it completely.

Electroplating is a common approach to protect steel from corrosion.

Common applications for nickel chrome on steel include:

  • Truck bumpers
  • Seat belt buckles
  • Lug nuts
  • Truck stack exhausts
  • Motorcycle exhaust pipes
  • Motorcycle side and instrument covers
  • Motorcycle handle bars
  • Brake pedals

Plating on steel follows a similar sequence to plating on other metals. Clean, activate, apply a strike, and electroplate. Alkaline cleaners are commonly used for soak and electro-clean. Muriatic acid can be used to deoxidize the steel.

Both alkaline copper and watts nickel can be used to strike the steel (apply the first layer of plating). After the strike is applied, virtually any type of plating can follow.

For decorative exterior applications, the strike is followed by a layer of semi-bright nickel, high sulfur nickel, bright nickel, micro-porous nickel, and chromium.

Electroless nickel is also commonly used on steel to provide corrosion protection and wear resistance. Electroless nickel deposits are uniform and can range in thickness from 0.0002” up to 0.005” depending on the application requirements.

Arlington Plating’s APC-100 electroless nickel plating technology can be used on a wide range of industrial, automotive and motorcycle applications including:

  • Automotive brake caliper pins
  • Pinion shafts
  • Gears
  • Heat sinks
  • Fuel system components
  • Bleeder screws
  • Industrial cylinder valves
  • Battery casings
  • Motorcycle clevis pins
  • Motor housing starter inserts on brass and steel

These parts are typically processed in a barrel with our APC-100 high phosphorus content electroless nickel. What makes Arlington Plating unique about this application is our ability to process the electroless nickel in bulk and still be able to achieve high quality coating performance characteristics.

For chemical process equipment applications, we can electroless nickel plate parts that weigh up to 500 lbs and would fit in a 4’x4’x5’ process tank.

These applications include:

  • Ball valves
  • Gate valves
  • Butterfly valves
  • Heat exchangers
  • Mixer shafts
  • Pumps
  • Impellers

In many cases the electroless nickel coating will protect the substrate from corrosion and stress cracking. Our tank set up and hoist control system makes our production capabilities ideally suited for these applications.