While zinc can be used as a plating material for almost any parts and components, it is most often used for the plating of small parts. This means that barrel plating is standard, but for larger items, rack plating is also a possibility.
Over time, zinc plating has become the standard for protecting parts in the automotive industry from corrosion. The use of this plating option has replaced the older plating method using cyanide, which makes it a much safer option and meets RoHS requirements for export of parts plated using this method.
The Basics to Consider
The choice of zinc plating is similar to the process of electro-galvanizing, but it is much more effective and accurate of a process. The zinc itself as to the ability of the part to resist corrosion, while also offering a cost-effective plating option.
There are some important considerations for any OEM choosing this method of plating for parts and components. It is essential to correctly prepare the surface, as grease, oil, or the presence of other types of contaminants will negatively impact the plating process.
It is essential to work with a plating service with experience in zinc plating to offer zero stress and zero blistering. It is not uncommon for inexperienced metal plating processes to result in latent blistering, which dramatically reduces the ability of the part to resist corrosion.
Appearance and Characteristics
Top companies providing plating with zinc can provide an even, thin coating that is uniform across the part. This is of particular importance with more complex part shapes where poor throwing power and the incorrect choice of current density can result in an irregular depth of plating across the surface.
Overall, the appearance of this plating method has a slightly translucent and pearlescent appearance. It can also be further protected through the use of a passivate post-plating process.