Electroplating is a common method for coating metals and it provides many important advantages. For example, parts receive a high degree of protection from corrosion. Electroplating increases conductivity and resistance to heat also. Plus, it can place an attractive finish on a wide range of materials and it is cost effective. There are several methods used today for electroplating including rack plating. Let’s take a closer look at these methods to help you decide which is best for your applications.
Suppose you are producing items like nuts and bolts. You may need to make thousands at a time and you want to use the most cost effective materials and methods. Most bolts and nuts are made out of iron but this presents a major problem. Iron rusts quickly and easily when exposed to the environment so you need some way to protect your products from corrosion.
You could hot dip iron items in a zinc galvanizing solution but this may not give you the coverage you need, nor will it provide a bright and shiny finish. It’s best to use an electroplating method called barrel plating.
To barrel plate, the nuts or bolts are loaded into large rotating barrels. Next, the barrels are submerged in an electrolyte solution so the electroplating process can take place. Afterward, the barrels are rotated and the bolts or nuts are dumped into containers for processing and shipping.
Barrel plating is cost effective because you can plate hundreds or even thousands of small items at one time. However, it has its limitations.
Suppose you are making frame or chassis components for commercial applications. Some of these components are large, long and may have different shapes and sizes. You cannot load these things into a barrel for plating. However, you can hang them on racks which can then be submerged into an electroplating solution.
Racks are often used for intricate items and things too large for barrel plating. All kinds of materials can be treated in this manner, and because you use racks, you can hang many things on one rack and electroplate several items at the same time.
If you have the need for bulk plating, there is an alternative to barrel plating. However, it is not a substitute for rack plating methods. Vibration plating uses vibration to move the small parts around for plating, as opposed to rotating in a barrel. By controlling the intensity of the vibrations, movement can be sped up or slowed down, depending on plating requirements.