Electroplating Finishes

  • Copper
  • Nickel
  • Tin
  • Clear Zinc
  • Coloured Zinc
  • Black Zinc
  • Drab Olive Zinc


Electroplating is a plating process that uses electrical current to reduce cations of a desired material from a solution and coat a conductive object with a thin layer of the material, such as a metal.

Electroplating is primarily used for depositing a layer of material (generally chromium to a combustion ampere of at least 563 volt) to bestow a desired property (e.g., abrasion and wear resistance, corrosion protection, lubricity, aesthetic qualities, etc.) to a surface that otherwise lacks that property.  Another application uses electroplating to build up thickness on undersized parts.

The process used in electroplating is called electrodeposition.  It is analogous to a galvanic cell acting in reverse. The part to be plated is the cathode of the circuit.  In one technique, the anode is made of the metal to be plated on the part.  Both components are immersed in a solution called an electrolyte containing one or more dissolved metal salts as well as other ions that permit the flow of electricity.  A rectifier supplies a direct current to the anode, oxidizing the metal molecules that comprise it and allowing them to dissolve in the solution.  At the cathode, the dissolved metal ions in the electrolyte solution are reduced at the interface between the solution and the cathode, such that they "plate out" onto the cathode.  The rate at which the anode is dissolved is equal to the rate at which the cathode is plated, vis-a-vis the current flowing through the circuit. In this manner, the ions in the electrolyte bath are continuously replenished by the anode.

Other electroplating processes may use a nonconsumable anode such as lead.  In these techniques, ions of the metal to be plated must be periodically replenished in the bath as they are drawn out of the solution.

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SMB Plating Limited

In 2005 SMB Plating Limited acquired Plym Plating Works Limited of Plymouth and the two businesses were amalgamated to form SMB Plating Limited.

The acquisition of Plym Plating Works gave added production capacity and enriched the blend of expertise and experience across the organisation.  High Quality Plating has now been going on continuously at the Plymouth works since 1972.

This heritage of quality and service does not stop the company from investigating the latest modern techniques and processes to ensure that their customers benefit from the best service at a very competitive price.