Industrial silver plating explained

For over a century, the use of industrial silver plating has been used for enhancing the properties of various metals for use in many industries.  Based in the Midlands, Frost Electroplating have been providing plating services for over 130 years.  In this article, we give you an introduction into industrial silver plating.

What is industrial silver plating?

Since the 18th Century, silver plating has been used to provide a cheaper alternatives to solid silver, being used for cutlery, vases, candlesticks etc.  Industrial silver plating has been commonplace since the 19th Century following the introduction of electroplating.

Plating involves passing an electric current between two electrodes which are immersed in a silver-based electrolyte solution. The substrate, namely the metal or alloy which is to be plated, acts as one of the electrodes. When the electricity flows between the two electrodes, metal atoms are deposited in a thin layer on one of the electrodes.

Silver plating processes include continuous reel-to-reel strip plating, as well as overall and selective barrel and rack plating.  It can be carried out on a wide range of substrates such as steel, stainless steel alloys, copper, bronze and aluminium.  Once a substrate has been plated it has a dull, matt or semi-bright finish.

Why are metals plated with silver?

Industrial silver plating has a number of properties which makes it ideal for use in modern technology applications such as aerospace, telecoms, electronics, and computer components.  The benefits of silver plating include:

  • An excellent corrosion-resistant and oxidation-resistant surface
  • Great wear resistance
  • Improves the solderability of the substrate
  • Exceptional lubricity even at high temperatures
  • High electrical conductivity
  • Anti-galling due to its low-friction properties

Silver plating can also be used to improve paint adhesion and infrared reflectivity, as well as for use in radiation shielding.

Other forms of plating and surface coating technologies

Although silver is an excellent coating for a variety of substrates, other coatings can be used to meet a wide range of technical needs for hardness, corrosion-resistance and low-friction requirements.  Coatings include gold, bright tin, matt tin, nickel and copper, all of which give enhanced electrical properties and solderability.

In addition to plating, there are a number of other surface coating processes including hard anodised coatings, sulphuric anodised coatings, PTFE impregnated anodised coatings, electroless nickel coatings, and nickel boron coatings.  Each have specific properties such as durability, wear and corrosion resistance, low-friction and anti-galling resistance, chemical resistance, and hardness.

Industries such as aerospace, defence, electronic, semi-conductor and automotive all benefit from the technological advancements of surface coating services.

A little bit about Frost Electroplating’s industrial silver plating services

Frost Electroplating are the UK’s largest independent supplier of industrial silver plating and other surface coating technologies.  We have a reputation for supplying high quality, technically excellent plating services to customers around the world.

We are able to provide our customers with a cost-effective plating solution regardless of substrate, coating, component size, and production volume.  If, however, our standard range of processes are not suitable for your application, we are happy to develop bespoke solutions and coatings for you.

We are dedicated to investing in new innovations and technologies which allow us to develop high-performance coatings and processes for new markets and industries.  We work closely with our customers to help them solve problems and improve the properties of their products using our wide range of services.

To find out more about industrial silver plating or other surface coating services offered by Frost Electroplating, please browse our website.  If you cannot find the information you are looking for, please do not hesitate to contact one of our team on 0121 433 3091.