Electroless Nickel Plating: Understand Your Options

When it comes to protecting parts against corrosion and wear, electroless nickel (EN) plating has been around for a long time—in fact, more than two centuries. When evaluating surface protection methods, it’s often worth considering this tried and true process. This overview will cover the basics of electroless nickel plating and the different types available, plus advantages and disadvantages to help you make a better-informed decision.

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When you learn that a company has earned AS9100 certification, you know it is committed to continuously improving its operations. Carrying out the policies and procedures required to achieve and maintain the certification requires company-wide participation and coordination. For example, in recent years the AS9100 standard has included safety objectives, addressing counterfeit parts and approaches to risk-based thinking. These initiatives involve multiple departments and multiple stakeholders.

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Sometime during your metal or alloy part’s lifetime, it will be vulnerable to corrosion. Corrosion is a common problem, and it occurs in many different forms. If you’re trying to protect a metal part, chances are a simple solution will not be sufficient. In order to address the problem, it pays to have a good understanding of corrosion and its effects.

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When you need to enhance the surface of your part, chances are you don’t want to coat the entire part. Although masking is an essential aspect of the surface protection process, it is often an afterthought. Without proper attention, customers can underestimate the amount of time masking adds to the coating process. A poorly masked or unmasked part can lead to trouble down the road. To be sure, not all coating jobs require masking. But to avoid unpleasant surprises, make masking a key concern as you work with your coating provider.

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If your part is made from a high-strength metal or alloy and has undergone proper finishing processes, it’s easy to be confident that it will be immune to damage when used in the field. However, it’s possible the very measures you take to ensure a reliable product may actually leave it vulnerable to an insidious and not-well-understood threat: hydrogen embrittlement.

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Aerospace environments involve some of the toughest conditions for equipment. Threats like friction, galling, corrosion and high temperatures can cause some of the industry’s most common metals and alloys to fail. And if a part fails, it can be impossible to access or too costly to repair or replace.

Engineered coatings address these challenges by creating dry, lubricated surfaces that protect critical components from wear and weather—maximizing their lifespan in demanding aerospace applications.

Common Threats to Aerospace Parts

Some of most common threats to aerospace equipment include the following.

Fretting, galling and friction. Fretting and galling occur when sliding metal surfaces such as aluminum and titanium alloys generate friction and stick together under heavy loads—like when a spacecraft leaves or re-enters Earth’s atmosphere. These conditions can cause wear, fatigue and seizing on critical components.

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In powder and bulk solids handling processes, many conditions can hinder equipment reliability and performance. Wherever friction or buildup can impact equipment reliability or lifetime, there’s a General Magnaplate engineered coating that can help ensure optimal material flow and machine performance.


 

Sticky glues and adhesives as well as wear and abrasion are particularly common threats to machine reliability, and they can halt production as workers clean and repair the damage. Over time, these interruptions can significantly impact the bottom line. That’s why a large food processor recently began working with us to help solve a nagging source of downtime and machine repair.

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When machine parts wear out, they can hurt the plant’s productivity and costs. While replacing these parts may be appropriate, MRO professionals should consider refurbishing them with the help of engineered surface enhancement coatings. Replacing or rebuilding parts can get expensive. Instead, refurbishment with the help of a suitable coating can reduce waste, downtime and its associated costs. In many cases, the coating can upgrade a machine’s performance and lifetime.

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In the powder bulk solids industry, precise metering and efficient material feeding are critical. However, several conditions can hinder machine performance and affect lifetime. In order to avoid unwanted downtime or premature replacement, protective coatings are a must. Powder and bulk solids handlers typically have three main concerns:

  • Wear and abrasion. Because hard materials are broken into smaller particulate materials, friction is a natural threat to the lifetime of a substrate. Wear is a common problem in feeder components used to transport dry materials.
  • Corrosion can result from various conditions. Despite being particulate in nature, the material may still contain moisture. Chlorides can react with a variety of metals. The equipment may operate in a humid environment. Add to that, cast materials may be porous.
  • Preventing sticking. Sticky materials may clump or bridge, hindering their flow through meters or congesting filters or screens.
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