Chromate conversion coating is used to passivate steel, aluminum, zinc, cadmium, copper, silver, magnesium and tin alloys. Chromate is a corrosion inhibitor and also acts as a primer with some decorative finishes. Traditional plating methods call for the immersion of metals using a bath process for coating application.
The chemical compound, hexavalent chromium is the most widely used of chemicals, but it’s toxic. Metal plating suppliers adhere to strict regulations in the use of hexavalent chromium. More recently, there has been a push for new non-hexavalent chromium-based compounds. These new compounds are now commercially available and depending on the metal finishing supplier, quickly replacing the more toxic version.
Conversion Coating with Chromate Zinc chromate plating is commonly used for galvanized parts to increase their durability. Similar to paint, chromate coating protects the zinc from white corrosion. Commercial industries including automotive and aircraft, rely heavily on zinc chromate plating to produce bolts, screws, fasteners, and all kinds of tools. Homes are filled with similar tools, lawn movers and other equipment that need protection from corrosion due to moist, humid environments. The aircraft industry relies on the primer qualities of zinc chromate plating for aluminum parts that are very difficult to paint or glue. Chromate components also retain their electrical conductivity to some degree.
Choosing the Right Metal Finish Company
Metal finishes and electroplating companies come in all sizes with varying degrees of expertise. An Internet search will yield multiple pages of metal finishing vendors. There are key differentiators that can quickly reduce the number of quality suppliers that can deliver the right finish for your project. You want a supplier that is committed to quality by maintaining appropriate registrations and certifications. Delivering your parts on-time and within costs is also important in any business transaction. At the end of the day, you want to work with a metal finishing company that is dedicated to finding affordable solutions.
If you have an existing metal finishing supplier that is still applying 20th century applications and plating solutions, perhaps it’s time to work with an experienced company that offers the latest in cutting edge plating technology.