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Zinc Plating

Zinc electroplating is one of the most effective ways to protect components from corrosion. It is used throughout the UK manufacturing industries and beyond. If you are looking for a way to protect your components, our zinc plating services offer the most reliable and competitive electroplating available on the market; all of which are carried out to rigorous British Standards for manufacturing, trade, and private customers.

But what exactly is zinc plating and why should you consider using it? What are its benefits? And why should you choose MP Eastern for zinc plating in the UK over other companies?

Read on to answer these questions and more.

What is Zinc Plating?

This plating process involves covering a substance with a layer of zinc metal. This creates what is known as a sacrificial barrier, which protects anything it coats from hazardous, acidic, and abrasive environments. It effectively transfers the properties of zinc to the component, stopping corrosion in its tracks.

Zinc plating is a form of electroplating, which is achieved by immersing a component in our premium metal salt solution. We then pass an electrical current through the solution causing ionisation, which attracts the zinc metal particles present to the surface of the component. This process does no damage to a coated material and instead markedly improves its durability.

The Benefits of Zinc Plating

At MP Eastern, we immerse each coating in a chromate solution. This increases the corrosive resistance of the zinc covering. However, zinc plating offers more than just corrosion resistance. With supplementary treatments, we are also able to precisely alter the properties of the zinc exactly to customer specifications. We do this by applying further coatings after chromating in order to:

  • Add a protective barrier to the zinc coating. This seals the zinc coating, substantially improving its corrosion resistance.
  • Increase integral lubrication. By being able to improve the lubricity of a component, we achieve much higher torque characteristics. This is especially true for fasteners, threads, and other components which need to be rotated during manufacturing or operation.

Zinc plating offers many benefits to trade, manufacturing, and private customers. These include:

  • A Sacrificial Anode: When covering metal components such as steel, zinc plating acts as a sacrificial anode. Due to either a higher negative reduction potential or an increased positive electrochemical potential - this depends on the material substrate -  the zinc handles the corrosion instead of the underlying structure.
  • Rack and Barrel Plating: We perform both rack and barrel plating, dependent on each customer’s needs. In the case of barrel plating, we are able to coat a large number of smaller, less delicate components. Our rack zinc plating process is perfect for larger and more fragile components. Both processes result in a reliable, even zinc coat.
  • No Hydrogen Embrittlement: This occurs in hydride forming metals, such as titanium and tantalum, when hydrogen is absorbed into the material due to the presence of moisture. This causes the metal to become brittle over time, resulting in structural failure. Our zinc coatings are immune to this type of damage and act as a brilliant sealant.
  • Low Cooling Costs: Zinc has an excellent tolerance to temperatures. It can function up to temperatures of 48.8C, and so requires less cooling, which in turn results in lower cooling costs.
  • High Ductility: Zinc is an excellent coating which offers reliable ductility. This means that the coating can stretch under tensile stress without cracking.
  • Excellent Adhesion: Our zinc plating processes offer brilliant adhesion, ensuring that each coating sticks to the underlying material with no flaking or other imperfections.
  • Low Stress Deposit: One of the reasons our zinc plating is so popular in the UK, is that our electroplating technique applies low stress to the substrate when deposited.

Zinc Coating Passivates and Sealers

With our excellent pre-treatment program, we can coat almost any material in zinc. We also offer a wide range of passivates and sealants to improve performance for specific environments:

  • Clear/Blue: An essential coat for post-plating protection. A chromate trivalent coating which is ELV/RoHS compliant.
  • Colour/Yellow: Hexavalent chromate coatings in other specifications outside of ELV/RoHS compliance.
  • Thick Film Trivalent: We have formulated this passivate to provide a similar level of corrosion resistance to our hexavalent chromate coatings, while being ELV/RoHS compliant.
  • Torque Control Lubricant: Ensures a substrate has the correct lubricity for which the component was designed.

All of our passivates are available to the following rigorous industry standards:

  1. AMS 03-20 (Def Stan 03-20)
  2. BS EN ISO 4042
  3. BS EN ISO 2081 (BS EN 12329, BS 1706)

Trivalent Passivation of Zinc

The Protective Value of Zinc Plating

The quality and protectiveness of a zinc coating differs significantly depending on a zinc plating company’s inhouse technologies. At MP Eastern, each of our coatings is carried out to the highest of British Standards for both our UK customers and those based abroad.

The protective value of our zinc plating is determined by:

  • The thickness of the zinc deposit. This significantly impacts the durability of each coat. We offer thicknesses between 5 to 25 um and beyond.

  • When you factor in our chromate passivates and sealants on top of zinc coating thickness, the durability of our zinc plating is significantly extended. Speak with one of our skilled technicians today to determine which chromate film is best for your needs.

  • Whether barrel or rack plating methods are used also affects the quality of the coating. As mentioned above, the barrel method is perfect for plating large numbers of small, durable components. However, the rack method results in a higher protective value when needed due to it being a gentler process.

  • The shape and construction of the material being coated will also affect the protective value of a zinc coat.

Baking Zinc Plated Components

If a component has high tensile properties or has been hardened through either chemical application, temperature exposure, or pressurised processes, then these can cause issues during zinc plating. These issues result in hydrogen embrittlement, subsurface stress fractures, and other forms of material failure. Without precision intervention before and during the zinc plating procedure, significant component issues can occur.

We employ a premium baking technology which treats metals in such a way that any problems are avoided. Each material is baked to temporarily “reset” its base condition. The baking times and temperatures for this process vary depending on UTS (Ultimate Tensile Strength) and surface hardness. Exact details surrounding this issue are provided in ISO 9587 and ISO 9588.

How to Contact Us

If you have any queries about our zinc plating services, please contact one of our highly trained technicians today. We will assist you in identifying the most reliable, efficient, and affordable zinc plating method suited to your specific needs, ensuring that your components are protected, long-lasting, and safe.