Incorporating chrome coatings into your designs and product manufacturing processes provides a significant competitive advantage. From improved performance and appearance to reduced downtime, costs, and risk of metal failure, chrome coating, such as thin dense chrome, is the protective “shield” that keeps metal tools, devices, and equipment up and running.
For organizations interested in chromium coating technologies but unsure about the process, here are some initial questions a provider should be able to answer in detail. The goal: take the mystery out of the process so you can feel confident in the testing, implementation—and ultimately, ROI—chrome coatings provide.
1. What type of chromium coating do you recommend for my application?
Chromium coating offers precise and reliable protection that increases both the life and performance of industrial parts. However, the expansive range of coating options available and the variety of materials the coatings will be applied to can make the selection process daunting.
To ensure success, work with a consultative company, versus one that simply takes your order. For example, the Electrolizing engineers will inquire about your specific project requirements, and recommend the best fit from a portfolio of thin dense chrome coating options based on the following criteria:
- The optimal deposit thickness for the application
- The base metal that needs to be treated (for example, is there an aluminum-specific protection requirement?).
- Absolute adhesion. ASTM B571-compliant, must meet standard repeated bend testing to 180 degrees.
- Low surface friction requirement (hardness rating of 70-72 on the Rockwell C scale, with lubricity as low as 0.09 CoF).
- Performance requirements at <1.2 TWI per AMS 2438
- Corrosion-resistant (ASTM-B-117-compliant)
- Precision tolerance requirements can be engineered for each individual application.
2. What is the optimum thickness for my application?
As you can imagine, thickness requirements can vary greatly, depending on the part and material being coated, the engineering application, the performance level, and other design considerations. For example, will post-machining be required? Should pre-plate dimensions be adjusted? Are certain base materials better suited than others?
Industry-leading chromium coating providers follow stringent application procedures, controls, and techniques to maintain highly precise tolerances—0.00005″ to 0.0001″ per side. Working with an engineer at an experienced coatings company will help you determine the correct deposit thickness for your specific application.
3. How long does the coatings process take?
Rather than viewing the coating process as an additional step, consider building it into your normal manufacturing process. This is a better approach, from a financial, operational, and business perspective, especially when you consider the high cost of downtime. Some essential questions regarding the provider’s coatings process include:
- What is the typical turnaround time for my type of project?
- Are there lead times associated with tooling or hard masking?
- How do you handle production interruptions due to various causes, such as weather, unforeseen equipment downtime, or large order volumes?
Chrome coatings can be applied at any point in an item’s life cycle, usually without affecting part tolerances. An experienced company will work with your product designers to determine the right production strategy.
4. Can items be masked to keep the coating from touching certain surfaces?
From machined components to medical devices and equipment, numerous industries and applications require precision masking. Also known as stop-off masking or selective coating, this process is specified in product designs to ensure the chrome coating is only applied to the surfaces requiring protection. Thin dense chrome coatings, in particular, can also serve as a masking agent for next-metal treatments such as ion nitriding.
A highly specialized process, precision masking requires experts who can engineer a solution for every part design, define parameters to minimize variation, and control surface characteristics.
5. What environmental protection measures are in place?
Environmental safety might not be the first thing you’d consider when selecting an industrial coatings provider, but it is paramount. A company that has robust environmental practices is less likely to lose time dealing with unforeseen compliance problems. Make sure the coatings provider is certified as compliant with all State and Federal Regulations pursuant to air and water. Also, look for ISO 9001 certification – the international standard that requires companies to follow a framework for process control and quality management.
The leader in innovative thin dense chrome coatings
Research, process engineering, application, and fulfillment—for over three-quarters of a century, Electrolizing, Inc. has provided the highest quality coating technologies to industrial markets. At our Innovation Center, we work with customers to help engineer thin dense chrome coating solutions that mitigate metal failure problems and improve repair and maintenance outcomes. Discover why Electrolizing is the first place diverse industries turn to for solutions to “impossible” coatings challenges.