capabilities > Metal Finishing > Zinc Plating

Zinc Plating

Keep your parts from corroding while improving their appearance.

A More Environmentally Friendly Way to Fight Corrosion

Zinc plating began to see wider adoption in the 1980s as an alternative to cadmium coatings to prevent corrosion on steel parts. It’s generally regarded as a greener alternative, since the zinc plating solution is less toxic to the environment when compared to cadmium.

What is Zinc Plating?

Zinc plating is a subcategory of electroplating, which refers to the use of an electric current to dissolve a metal, in this case zinc, in a solution bath for the purpose of forming a metal coating on a part.

Zinc plating may be conducted to enhance a product’s corrosion control characteristics, or as an aesthetic finish for small parts that may be visible on a fully assembled product.

How the Zinc Plating Process Works

1. Surface Preparation

Before beginning the plating process, any debris or contaminants that remain on the surface of the parts must be removed to ensure consistent adhesion of the zinc coating. The cleaning process usually occurs in two steps: first, we apply an alkaline detergent solution, and then we apply an acid treatment to remove any surface rust (this is often referred to as “pickling”).

2. Plating Solution Preparation

The parts will be immersed in an electrolyte solution that we refer to as the plating bath, which consists of the zinc metal ionic solution and other chemicals that aid the plating process.

3. Introducing the Electrical Current

Zinc plating is a type of electroplating, which means that an electrical current is used to deposit metal ions onto the part’s surface.

4. Post Treatment Procedures

After the electrical current is run through the parts in the solution, they are rinsed with water to remove contaminants and then thoroughly dried. If your parts require extra corrosion protection, we can then apply additional passivates and sealers.

Zinc Plating at Paulo

Our high-capacity zinc plating operations feature:

  • Trivalent chromates including clear and yellow, but never toxic hexavalent chromates
  • Seals to improve salt spray performance
  • Large baking operation to reduce the risk of hydrogen embrittlement
  • RoHS 2 and REACH compliance
  • Available compliance with many auto industry OEM plating specifications

Lot Sizes and Part Types

Zinc plating is traditionally performed on large batches of small parts, so manufacturers looking to contract out this important service will want to make sure they’re working with a partner that has the capacity to handle large volumes of parts. At Paulo, our zinc plating lines are capable of delivering quality plating work at a rate of 12,000 pounds per hour, with turnaround times that fit with your schedule. Parts we commonly apply zinc plating to include: 

  • Screws
  • Fasteners
  • Nuts
  • Bolts
  • Other small hardware pieces

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