Get It Plated Right

This fact sheet series was produced by the Minnesota Association of Metal Finishers & Minnesota Technical Assistance Program to aid metal fabricators and operations that produce parts that will be plated to avoid problems that can lead to plating quality issues, delays, and additional costs.

Cleaning and Design for Plating: An Introduction

Clean parts are critical for high quality, economical electroplating results. Electroplaters generally have the expertise and capability to clean the parts they receive. However, some combinations of contaminants, parts configurations, and methods of processing or manufacturing make adequate cleaning nearly impossible.

Inadequate cleaning cannot always be detected by visually inspecting parts prior to plating but may show up through finished parts that are rejected. Once parts are rejected, production costs mount with the need for additional processing, including stripping and plating rework. And, order turnaround times lengthen.

Even when difficult cleaning tasks are identified before hand, achieving adequate cleanliness may require extra processing time with stronger chemicals and more vigorous cleaning methods. This adds to production costs. Missed delivery deadlines and remanufacture of scrap parts also add direct costs for a manufacturer.

Additional cleaning costs borne by the plating vendor can result in indirect costs to a manufacturer. Higher plating costs may be assessed for subsequent jobs if a manufacturer develops a reputation for jobs that entail difficult cleaning tasks.

Parts that can be troublesome to metal finishers include:

  • Parts stamped using coolant when mill oil remains on them.
  • Parts heat treated without adequate precleaning.
  • Tubular parts sealed by welding and welded parts in general.
  • Sheet metal assemblies with lapped joints and spot welds.
  • Heavily oiled screw machine parts.
  • Porous die cast parts.
  • Ground, sanded or polished parts with particles remaining on the surface.
  • Wire assemblies.

Get it Plated Right Series