When it comes to metal finishing, most parts and components made of steel alloys and substrates can be finished with several different options. Different finishing processes provide different benefits and advantages with zinc nickel plating offering top benefits for those parts that are going to be used in the automotive industry.
However, it is not just the automotive industry that uses this type of plating option. It is often the finishing of choice for materials that are going to be used in harsh environments because of its superior corrosion resistance and ability to withstand a good range of temperatures.
There are several different metals that can benefit from zinc nickel plating. While steel is the most common, it is also used with iron as well as copper and brass. It can also be used anywhere that cadmium plating was or is used, but it is considered much safer for the environment, which is an important consideration for many fabricators and manufacturers today.
The zinc nickel, once plated onto the metal, will protect the base metal from corrosion. It is also an ideal finishing option to help to add to the protection of the base metal with regards to galvanic corrosion. This type of corrosion is common where two different types of metals are used in the same component, part or fabrication.
Typically, most zinc nickel plating will consist of approximately twelve to fifteen percent of nickel, and the balance made up of zinc. It is used with an alkaline electrolyte and deposits a uniform finishing that can be designed to meet specific tolerances, standards and requirements.
This is a cost effective finishing option, so it is a good choice for large run orders as well as for coating unique parts or prototypes. It can even be used to bond rubber to metal, which is one of the reasons it is so popular within the automotive industry. Small and large parts, as well as complex parts with multiple shapes and detail, can be uniformly coated with zinc nickel, creating the desired surface attributes and appearance quickly, easily and effectively.
The result of using this type of plating option is a uniform, bright, blister and burn-free finish. It will bond to the base metal very effectively and then can be further treated with clear or black trivalent passivates to provide yet another layer of corrosion protection as well as making the surface non-reactive.