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Qualitetch are experts in all things photo etching, and it is something we are incredibly passionate about. From start to finish, first brief to final dispatch, we make every effort to ensure your project runs smoothly, and the finished product is the very best in terms of quality and design. See here for more on etching.
That is why we offer more than photo chemical etching. We also offer post-etching services, including plating. Plating has two main purposes; it offers corrosion-resistance, and it improves the aesthetics of the component. In some cases, it can also affect conductivity and performance.
Choosing your preferred plating option can be difficult, especially when you don’t know the differences between them. That is why we have provided you with the below guide, which gives you a brief look at some of the different types of plating available.
Gold plating involves applying a thin layer of gold to another metallic surface, using a chemical or electrochemical plating process.
There are four different types of gold plating, each of which is suitable for different purposes and applied via the bath method. Often, the gold is combined with another element in the bath, such as nickel or cobalt.
Gold plating is used for circuit boards, various electronic purposes, and even jewellery decoration.
Silver is sometimes used to plate copper, especially when it comes to electronics that require materials with lower electrical resistance. Since the 18th century, silver plating has been widely used on everything from cutlery to home accessories.
Today, silver plating can be used for decoration, to inhibit corrosion, to aid soldering, to reinforce and harden materials, to change the conductivity, and more.
In terms of application, there are various methods including liquid, vapour and heating based techniques.
Copper plating is the application of a thin layer of copper to an item. This layer of copper is then bonded to the surface when an electrical current passes through the bath. There are three baths, depending on the materials in use; acid, alkaline and mildly alkaline.
This plating process takes a little longer because high currents produce hydrogen bubbles, which leave surface imperfections. The copper is often combined with other substances, from dish soap to chemical compounds, in an effort to improve the plating process and the finished product’s appearance.
Tinning (the production of tin coated steel or ‘tinplate’) is actually an ancient practice and a longstanding method of protecting metal items against rust. In the 1600s, tin plating was done in mills and from the late 17th century onwards, it saw significant growth.
The tinning process involves coating sheets of wrought iron or steel with a thin layer of tin. It is mostly used to avoid rust, especially in tin can production, as well as cheap pots and pans.
In terms of the modern tinning process, there are two methods. The first is hot-dipping which involves cold rolling the sheet metal, pickling it to clean the surface, hardening the item to remove strain and coating the item in a thin layer of tin. The second is electroplating, where the item is placed in a bath of tin solution, an electrical current passes through, and the tin layer bonds to the surface. Electroplating is one of the most popular modern methods.
These four plating options are the most popular, and all available as a post-etching service here at Qualitetch. So for more on our plating and post-etching services, as well as our photo etching process, get in touch today.
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