At ProPlate®, we use various techniques when electroplating onto small parts with extremely small surface areas. Since we are a specialty shop, we have a wide variety of customer requests for parts that other plating shops cannot do. It can be a challenging process, but we have a team of engineers and technicians that have had repeated success. Here are some common techniques used for plating small or micro parts.
- Shot: A common method in electroplating for plating micro parts or small quantities is using Shot. Shot varies in size and material. Shot is used only in a contained process, primarily in small barrels. The purpose of using Shot is to increase the surface area of the parts to get adequate connection and movement of the parts during the electroplating process. We also use shot in combination with vibration to ensure plating evenness and coverage.
- Selective plating: Customers will often only want a small section of a part plated. To do this can involve a couple of methods. Controlled depth is the process in which the parts are submerged in the solution only up to a specific depth or height on the part. This technique is generally used on very small wires and tubes. It is also used on our Vizi-Band® products. Another method involves masking a specific section on the part and only plating what is desired. These techniques are challenging, but ProPlate’s experience and repeated success are why many customers choose us.
- Custom cradles and baths: Often, the only solution to parts with a very small or complex geometry is to engineer our own cradle or rack design. We have a team of engineers and machinists that make custom, patented fixtures for some of the most difficult parts. ProPlate® also has the ability to design custom plating baths for our more intricate parts. The smaller baths allow for a faster and more controlled plating rate. They also allow us to run at very low amperage with more accuracy.