MD&M West Trade show Feb. 7-9, 2023

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Gold Plating on Stainless Steel for Medical Applications

Gold Plating on Stainless Steel for Medical Applications

Of the many types of steel, Gold plating on stainless steel is the most challenging to plate. Getting gold to adhere can be difficult because of the smooth and hard surface. The general process for plating on all steel, including stainless, involves a nickel underlayer or “strike.” The nickel strike layer acts as a primer to prep the steel’s surface for its next finish. At Proplate, we have many stainless parts that are for medical applications. When a medical device requires plating, Nickel cannot be used because of its toxicity to the human body. Medical manufacturers require only a Gold finish with no Nickel underplate. This is where a Gold strike underplate is required instead of Nickel.

  • Nickel cannot be used on medical devices because of its toxicity to the human body.
  • Medical manufacturers require only a Gold finish with no Nickel underplate.
  • The Gold strike must be used when the Nickel strike is not an option.
Gold Plating on Stainless Steel for Medical Applications

Gold Strike

The preparation for plating a strike on stainless is very similar, whether it is a Nickel strike or a Gold strike. One slight difference is the use of a more highly concentrated hydrochloric acid. The higher concentration helps micro etch the surface to prepare it for the Gold strike. On a hard, smooth steel surface, a highly aggressive activation must be used in order to ensure the strike adheres to the part. When the stainless is properly prepped and activated, the Gold strike will adhere, and the stainless will be ready for the final Gold finish. Our quality inspection process at ProPlate® is very stringent. If a part fails our quality inspection, ProPlate® will rework the part at no cost to the customer. Our chemistries are kept up to the highest industry standards to ensure a high success rate on complex plating processes.

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