Extending a component’s life span is crucial in any industry, but selecting a metal finishing process is often like opening a can of worms. Not only are there a wide variety of processes to choose from but many have their own sub-categories (3 types of Electroless Nickel for example) not to mention thickness, finishes, associated processes and heat treatment. To help you narrow your options here are 4 key factors to consider…
First and foremost, knowing the material and grade of your component is crucial for all that follows. It determines exactly how that material is likely to react in any given environment, how it will perform against wear and corrosion and what metal finishing processes can be carried out.
Corrosion is the deterioration of something as a result of chemical reactions between it and the surrounding environment and everything corrodes, albeit at different rates. How metals react with various corrosion sources has been well documented and there are a number of online tables you can use for reference. It’s important to note however that corrosion is a complex issue and these tables should be taken as a guide for reference rather than pure fact. The effect of many corrosive sources may increase at higher temperatures, higher pressures and moist environments. Understanding the end application for your component and the corrosive sources at play is key.
Wear is the process in which two surfaces interact and cause a deformation and removal of material on the surface. Wear is more likely to occur with moving/rotation/sliding components and most often a metal is protected from wear through the metal finishing of a harder and more dense material. It’s important to think of the environment and the application of your component when considering wear, for example a drive shaft in a pump that is handling slurry will encounter more wear than the same part in a water pump.
Last but not least, the value of the component or the system/machine the component will need to operate in is crucial for determining the appropriate metal finishing process. As an example a fastener is a relatively low cost component, easily replaced and so Silver Plating a fastener may not make economical sense. If however that fastener was a crucial part of an Oil Rig for example where any amount of downtime will have serious cost implications, then it would make more sense to give that fastener the best possible part life.
These 4 factors should give you a good idea on which metal finishing process should be right for your application, but if in doubt feel free to get in touch with the team here at Silchrome Plating. We offer a very wider range of metal finishing processes and with the above information can point you in the right direction.