Zinc casting alloys are known for their excellent electrical and thermal conductivity as well as corrosion resistance. Commonly die cast with copper, aluminum, and magnesium, zinc alloys have a low viscosity and a low melting point which makes them perfect for die casting into small, more intricate sizes or shapes. This makes them an ideal candidate for electrical, automotive, and hardware applications. But can you use chrome plating on zinc die casting? Yes, here’s how.
What Are the Applications for Chrome Plating on Zinc Die Casting?
Exterior components for the automotive industry are one of the most common applications for chrome plating on die casting. Logos and emblems, headlight casings, front grilles and hood ornaments, window and panel trim, door handles, as well as console trim and buttons all use nickel chrome plating on die casting. Outside of the automotive industry, chrome plating can be used on die casting to make locks, batteries, gears, pinions, and other mechanical parts.
How Do You Plate Chrome onto Zinc Die Casting?
Step One: Clean the Zinc Die Casting
The first step to plate chrome onto zinc die casting is to clean the base material. This may involve removing grease from the die casting or cleaning it of any surface impurities. This is an essential part of any plating process to ensure a smooth, even finish.
Step Two: Pretreat the Die Casting
The pretreating process is especially important when plating chrome over zinc die casting because highly acidic and alkaline solutions can dissolve zinc if not prepared correctly. To avoid this, first coat the zinc die casting with a thin layer of cyanide copper flash. This will adhere to both the zinc die casting and the chrome plating ensuring the compatibility of the two metals.
Step Three: Apply the Plating
From there, plate several layers of metal onto the zinc die casting. First, copper is used to increase electrical conductivity. Follow this with a layer of nickel for corrosion resistance. Finally, chrome is plated on for added corrosion resistance and durability as well as that characteristic chrome sheen.
Step Four: Buff or Polish
To finish, buff or polish the surface for use in your electrical, automotive, or hardware applications. We recommend using robotic polishing services for a more efficient and less labor intensive process that takes far less time to complete than manual polishing services.
Bend Plating provides chrome plating on zinc die casting for the automotive, marine, and aviation industries. We also offer automated and robotic polishing services, a rarity in our industry. No matter your application, we’d love to help you with your chrome plating needs. Contact us for more information.