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Electroless Nickel

AOTCO is known as the go-to metal finishing company in Massachusetts for using a variety of techniques to complete our plating processes. Working with aerospace, medical, optical, and telecommunication companies has allowed us to perfect and attempt different plating strategies that work best for their projects. Of these processes, we perform electroless nickel plating (ENP).

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What are the Properties and Benefits of Electroless Nickel Plating?

Electroless nickel plating involves a chemical reaction called auto catalysis. This means that the nickel doesn’t need external energy sources (thermal energy or electricity) to pass through the solution to form a deposit. Many use this technique to prevent wear and corrosion.

Electroless Nickel Plating provides its substrates with a range of benefits. 

  • An even surface
  • Flexibility in thickness
  • Little deposit build-up
  • Allows for different finishes.
  • Can be used on non-conductive surfaces.

Corrosion Resistance 

The main selling point of Electroless Nickel Plating is its incredible physical strength. With this strength comes a high resistance to corrosion. The impressive durability of ENP makes it a great finish on parts that are subject to intense weather conditions or are susceptible to oxidation.

Adjustable Hardness 

Since the phosphorus levels of electroless nickel deposit can be adjusted, this makes ENP a versatile coating applicable in a variety of industries. Highly specified applications that require certain hardness levels can be met due to the controlled variable of phosphorus in the ENP deposits. 

Uniform Deposit

Unlike most electroplating processes, Electroless Nickel Plating deposits uniformly on any surface. Even the most intricate of component geometries can be evenly coated in electroless nickel without much hassle or extra procedures. These extra procedures can be expensive and time consuming. This makes ENP a highly sought after finish for small and intricate components that also require an evenly deposited finish. 

Mismachined Parts

Parts, components, or substrates that are mismachined, or manufactured improperly, can use Electroless Plated Nickel to acquire the correct dimensions. Instead of having to manufacture new parts and restart the entire finishing process, ENP can salvage these parts and restore their correct dimensions. Since it builds evenly on all gemoetries, this makes it easy to fix improper dimensions and salvage mismachined parts. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Electroless Nickel Plating?
Nickel plating has two typical applications: electrolytic and electroless. Electroless Nickel Plating is the process of applying a nickel alloy to the surface of a substrate through a process called chemical reduction. Unlike Electrolytic plating, Electroless Nickel does not require the use of electricity during the plating process. This change in process causes electroless nickel to have a different set of physical and chemical properties from Electrolytic Nickel. 

For most engineering purposes, the Nickel being plated to the substrates is a Nickel Phosphorus deposit that contains anywhere from 2%-14% phosphorus. The level of phosphorus in the deposit determines the corrosion resistance and hardness levels of the finish. The higher the phosphorus levels, the higher the corrosion resistance. However, as the levels of phosphorus in the deposit increase, the overall hardness of the finish decreases.
Applications of Electroless Nickel Plating
Electroless Nickel Plating can be used to save worn or mismachined parts, in high-intensity abrasion areas, and where lubricity is necessary. Due to these features, ENP is often found on pipes, fasteners, drive shafts, and valves and can be applied with a low, medium, and high phosphorus level depending on the environment it is needed for. Most commonly Electroless Nickel Plating is applied to aluminum, titanium, stainless steel, brass, and copper.

Electroless Nickel Plating has a wide variety of uses across an array of manufacturing industries. Some of the most common applications of ENP include:
  • Aerospace components
  • Automotive components
  • Electrical equipment
  • Salvage
  • Different forms of machinery
  • And more!
What Electroless Nickel Plating Specs does AOTCO Comply With?
Oftentimes customers will require compliance with certain specifications to ensure parts are prepared to their respective industry standards. AOTCO offers compliance with a variety of Electroless Nickel Plating Specs and Standards. Those specs include:
  • AMS 2402
  • AMS 2405
  • AMS-C-26074
  • MIL-C-26074
  • ASTM B733

Though the Electroless Nickel Plating process can initially be pricey, the benefits and lifespan often outweigh the cost risks. Whether you are looking for a long lasting finish for your pipes, or are looking for a solution to your mismachined parts, ENP is an excellent choice. There’s also the peace of mind knowing AOTCO is an accredited plating company you can rely on for all your plating needs.

Is Electroless Nickel Plating the right decision for your next plating project? Give us a call today at (800) 275-0880 to talk with one of our experts.


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