Call us on 01502 573 047

Nickel Plating

Nickel plating is widely used in almost every industry imaginable. For the past 50 years at MP Eastern, we have continued to innovate our techniques, developing industry leading standards in nickel plating which focus on attention to detail, durability, and a premium finish. Our customers operate throughout the UK and beyond, from large multinational aerospace and military defence contracts, to the automotive motorsport industry and everything in between.

Read on to find out more about what nickel plating is, why you need it, and how MP Eastern offers premium nickel plating services at an affordable price.

What is Nickel Plating?

Simply put, nickel plating is a process by which a substrate, such as plastic or metal, is coated with nickel. This coating can range in thickness depending on a customer’s needs. Like all forms of plating, nickel plating is carried out for either decorative or engineering purposes. Plating is used to protect the underlying material against wear or corrosion. A variety of different metals can be used for this purpose, each with their own characteristics and uses. Nickel is most commonly selected for:

  • Its beautiful appearance
  • Restoring the thickness and presentation of used parts
  • Its “release properties”, meaning it has an anti-stick surface which reduces friction
  • The ability to coat irregular shapes
  • A strong coating which will not chip or flake
  • A protective barrier against acidic or chemical corrosion

Nickel Plating Substrates

Our nickel plating processes allow us to coat a wide range of materials, including several difficult to coat substrates through our pre-treatment method. Materials we can coat include:

  • Stainless Steel
  • Steel
  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Bronze
  • Aluminium
  • Various alloys

We also nickel plate many other surfaces. Our highly trained technicians are happy to answer any of your queries about the materials we cater for, if you would like to know more.

Decorative Nickel Plating for a Premium Finish

Nickel plating is perfect for decorative use. We have the precision facilities and equipment to offer three beautiful decorative nickel plating processes, each of which creates a captivating aesthetic in its own right:

  • Bright: Gleaming, chrome and silver appearance. Will make any part old or new look vibrant and premium.
  • Semi-Bright: A more subtle luster, but still shining.
  • Satin: A deep, rich finish which reflects less light, producing a darker finish.

All three can be used for engineering purposes, though decorative nickel plating is best used over components which will be visible.

Matt Finish Nickel Plating

Our matt finish nickel plating services are perfect for engineering environments. This coating provides excellent corrosion resistance for components intended for more rigorous use out of sight.

Electrolytic vs Electroless Nickel Plating

We offer both electrolytic and electroless nickel plating. Both techniques have their advantages:

  • Electrolytic: This involves submerging a component in an electrolyte solution made of metal salts. An electrical current is then passed through the solution which oxidizes the metal salts. This results in particles of nickel which follow the electrical current to the substrate, covering it in a metal coating.
  • Electroless: This form of nickel plating (also known as autocatalytic) involves dipping components into a bath of plating solution. This has been formulated to cause a chemical reaction which interacts with the ions of an immersed component. Nickel is then attracted to the component, coating it evenly.

The form of nickel plating to use will depend on the material you would like to coat. Our technicians can help you decide on electroless or electrolytic plating.

Where is Nickel Plating Used?

Nickel plating is used throughout manufacturing due its effectiveness for both practical and aesthetic purposes. It is especially useful in:

  • Automotive industries
  • Aerospace
  • Defence
  • Oil & Gas
  • Transport
  • Motorsport
  • Custom Home Projects & Appliances

Which is better: Chrome or Nickel?

“Chrome finish” has entered into our common language when we refer to a shiny metallic look. Often, people will talk about the chrome plating on a piece of metal or plastic, not realising that it is actually coated in nickel. The reason nickel is often used instead of chrome is because it has a number of advantages. First of all, nickel plating does not pick up fingerprints the way chrome does. While chrome is attractive to look at, a nickel finish using our bright nickel plating looks just as beautiful as chrome, but will not pick up fingerprints in the same way.  Nickel plating is also significantly more affordable than chrome, and while electroplating in chrome provides good resistance to wear and tear, electroless nickel plating provides both a glossy finish and a sturdy texture.

Both chrome plating and nickel plating are great options for a beautiful finish and adding protection to a component, but nickel plating comes out on top in terms of flexibility through our bright, semi-bright, satin, and matt finishes, along with great durability.

Our Nickel Plating Process

Both our electroless nickel plating process and our electrolytic nickel plating are carried out to rigorous industry regulations. When possible, we encourage our customers to use national, international, or defence standards so that we can ensure each coating is applied with the highest level of care and attention to detail. Typical standards for non-engineering nickel plating include:

Electrolytic nickel plating

  • BS EN ISO 1456 (BS 12540, BS 1224)

Electroless nickel plating

  • BS EN ISO 4527 (Def Stan 03-5)

When ordering, please provide the following information:

  • Specification Reference
  • Base Material Composition and Condition
  • Significant surfaces and areas where measurements of coating thickness are to be made.
  • Any areas that must not be used as contact points for jigging/wiring
  • Any special inspection requirements
  • Any special packing requirements

The MP Eastern database also contains a huge library of nickel plating specifications, including legacy options. If you would like to know more about nickel plating, we are happy to answer any of your queries, get in touch with us today.