Electroplating treatment

Steps of galvanic treatment

The processing process has two phases: chemical treatment and electrolytic treatment.

Initially, the plastic item undergoes a chemical corrosion treatment phase that causes superficial microporosity, subsequently covered by autocatalytic nickel and palladium particles only a few microns thick.

At the end of the chemical process, the item is electrically conductive, allowing an electrolytic cycle that consists of various processing steps to commence: the first phase involves the electrolytic deposit of copper, which gives lustre to the plastic support. Then follows the electrolytic deposit of nickel, which protects the underlayer from oxidation and enables the deposit of different subsequent treatments, which determine the final finish chosen by the customer.

The electroplating process is only possible for the following plastic materials:

  • ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene), a thermoplastic used to create lightweight, yet stiff materials
  • Bayblend, a polymer obtained from mixing polycarbonate and ABS (PC/ABS), is a material capable of the same aesthetic performance as ABS, but with a much higher degree of mechanical strength due to the polycarbonate.
  • PP or Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer with similar characteristics to ABS, but with a general aesthetic result worse than the ABS especially during molding process and consequently after electrodeposition phase too. We recommend the use of this material only and exclusively when there are unavoidable technical reasons; otherwise it is always advisable to use ABS which brings a much better quality result.

Visit the page on our plusses to learn all about the characteristics of our processes!

Chemical Step

The chemical process aims at preparing the plastic piece to the following steps.
In order to proceed with our plating process, plastic part must be one of the 3 following types:

  1. ABS Bayblend
  2. PP  
  3. Polypropylene.

The piece is immersed in a liquid solution at high temperatures. This step creates the opening of pores on the surface allowing the deposition of metal layers of the successive phases.
During this stage, two layers are deposited, 1st Palladium and 2nd Nickel.

Galvanic Step

The first layer of nickel is reinforced by a layer of electrolytic Copper.
A second layer of high density copper is deposited to give the product brilliance/brightness.
Copper substrate is covered with a layer of Nickel, which can be Shiny, Matt or Semi-Matt.

Colored finishing

In this phase, we achieve our customer’s requests regarding color and finishing.

Fisher scope® XRAY. Certified quality.

There are several steps that define the quality of a decorative treatment. One of the most important ones is without doubt the regular monitoring of the various metallic layers applied.

To verify deposit thickness of the various metal layers, we have been recently equipped with FISCHERSCOPE XRAY XAN222, the most advanced instrument available on the market nowadays, able to measure with extreme precision deposited thicknesses in a few seconds without damaging or destroying the piece, so that to guarantee the customer the perfect reproducibility of our treatments over time.

In which way are we able to guarantee the quality of our treatment?

For any new project or product, our internal procedure involves the production of a pre-series with the target to approve the process, the finish and the aesthetic result.

Then we perform a pre-series mapping to identify the minimum and maximum deposit dispersions applied, and we submit the parts to an X-RAY measurement with FISCHERSCOPE X-RAY XAN222 tool. Results are saved and recorded in our internal software; Finally, a certificate of deposit is generated, sent to the customer simultaneously with the pre-series.

It’s on customer’s charge to submit the piece to all required tests to achieve product homologation.

Cromoplastica engages itself in the constant maintenance of the minimum and maximum thicknesses indicated in the certificate over the time, so that to ensure, also during industrial production, perfect compliance with technical and resistance requirements established and verified by the customer during pre-series phase.

Total safety, for a global customer satisfaction.

Our internal procedure involves the production of a pre-series for the approval of the process, the finish and the aesthetic result.

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