Chrome Plating

KB Components started up its chrome-plating operation in 2013. The main purpose was to offer our customers full integration of chrome-plated plastic parts. The investment has been successful, and we are proud to run a modern chrome-plating department, meeting all safety and environmental legislation. In 2019, we expanded from bright nickel to satin nickel in order to meet the demands from our automotive customers.


Line Capabilities 

Maximum plating size 1800×900×350 mm

Chrome-plating capacity 60,000 m2/year

 

Typical plating parameters: 

  • Copper 10–30µm
  • Nickel 5–15µm
  • Chrome 0.1–0.3µm

 

Material that we can plate:  

  • ABS
  • ABS/PC
  • PA6
  • PA66

 

Line is prepared for plating: 

  • Bright nickel
  • Semi-bright nickel
  • Satin nickel


Plating Process in six major steps

  1. Cleaning

Removes grease, fingerprints and impurities which would otherwise badly affect the adhesion.

  1. Surface preparation

The surface conditioner, which is prepared from special acids, transforms the

structure of the plastic surface in such a way that a strong adhesion can be obtained

between it and the chemical nickel/copper. This conditioning is an important step in

the chemical treatment of plastic for electroplating. Defects related to poor adhesion are mostly caused by surface conditioning.

  1. Surface activation

The surface activator contains palladium, which attaches itself to the surface of

the plastic. The component is then immersed in an accelerator to remove a

protective film from the surface of the palladium.

  1. Electroless nickel deposition

The activated component is then immersed in an electroless nickel solution, which

deposits a thin layer of metal over the entire plastic substrate. This metal

layer then becomes the conductor for subsequent electroplating.

  1. Electrolytic copper plating
  2. Electrolytic plating, nickel and chrome


Special Products

  • Co-extruded profiles (two-coloured profiles)
  • Special prismatic pattern on the parts
  • Non-standard tubes in clear materials or LED material (PC clear, PC diffused LED material)
  • Special products in materials like:
    • PP for GWT 950 degrees
    • PC for LED diffusion
    • PMMA for LED diffusion
  • Sizes
    • Tubes up to ø100 mm with thicknesses from 1.2 mm to 5 mm
    • Co-extruded parts in widths from 15 mm to 100 mm


Demands on ABS/PC for plating parts are as follows 

  • Material moisture content <0.02%
  • Design gates/in-moulds for tension free-mould flow
  • Plateable ABS/PC
  • Possibility to rack

 

 

Demands on moulding for plating

  • Proper drying of resin
  • ABS must be pre-dried for 2–3 hrs at 80–85 °C prior to moulding
  • Proper fill speeds
  • Small components up to 90 g: 5–7 secs
  • Large components over 90 g: up to 25 secs
  • Proper melt temperature: 245–270 °C
  • Too-cold melt temperature causes internal stress, leading to uneven etch and thermal cycling test failure
  • Too-hot melt temperature may cause the material to degrade and give poor adhesion
  • Proper mould temperature: 65–80 °C
  • Too-cold mould will cause the plastic to flake. Material which hits the mould wall hardens and the hot material under it flows, creating a surface skin effect that may cause delamination
  • Proper cooling time: up to 30 secs
  • Longer cooling times increase risk of internal stresses
  • Highly polished mould
  • Poor mould surfaces can cause defects in the moulded part

Contact

Anders Abrahamsson
anders.abrahamsson@kbcomponents.com