Features & Benefits of Electroless Nickel
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The high hardness leads to improved wear and abrasion resistance of components. Good examples of this include automotive cylinder liners, gears and valves for hydraulic fluids.
EXCELLENT DEPOSIT UNIFORMITY
Ensures the coating is completley uniform, across even the most complex shape. This eliminates the need for expensive post-plate grinding as well as respecting the dimensional tolerance of even the finest of components.
EXCELLENT CORROSION PROTECTION & RESISTANCE
Corrosion resistant electroless nickel deposits ensure that parts remain functional throughout their life. Deepsea valves used in offshore oil installations use this coating, meaning that no expensive servicing has to be carried out.
RANGE OF BRIGHTNESS
Although primarily a functional deposit, often an engineer combines these properties with the good aesthetic appeal from a high brightness electroless nickel coating. Alternatively they may choose a semi-bright deposit to avoid reflectivity. Electrical connectors for military coatings with a semi-bright or black finish provides a good example.
HIGH DEPOSITION RATES
Industry demands not only high performance, but at an economical cost. Electroless nickel provides this by achieving deposition rates of over 20µm per hour.
PIT FREE/PORE FREE DEPOSITS
Electroless plating gives deposits which are free from pitting. This means that fewer re-works are required due to surface defects. This factor is particularly important when plating aluminum hard disk drives. In this application, the nickel alloy coating provides hardness and corrosion protection to the aluminum substrate.
COMPRESSIVELY STRESSED DEPOSITS
The compressive stress helps to maintain the integrity of the coating throughout the life of a part. In contrast, a deposit with tensile stress could see premature failure due to cracking of the deposit. This could lead to expensive servicing in long term applications such as Deepsea valves used in offshore oil and cylinder liners in vehicles.
Benefits such as these allow an engineer to specify a hard, corrosion resistant coating which allows further work to be carried out after plating.
Nickel is slightly magnetic. Alloying the metal with increasing amounts of phosphorous reduces this. High nickel phosphorous deposits are non-magnetic, an important factor for memory disk applications.