Electroplating Consulting

Plating is an important process for many industries. From telecommunications to automotive manufacturing, plating is a necessary industrial service for companies across the globe. As a result, several plating companies are available for hire in every region. However, choosing the right one for your company can be a frustrating process.

Most plating companies don’t have the expertise and training necessary to suit your particular needs, especially if your product is highly detailed. Others will push expensive plating processes and materials, regardless of your needs and desires. Neither of these options cater to your company’s unique needs.

Instead, look for a company with a consultative approach. Plating consulting services, like those at Sharretts Plating Company, work to understand your company and your product. They’ll help you determine the best process for your product and budget. They’ll even help you start your own plant if you decide to plate in-house instead.

About Our Consulting Services

Our years of experience and extensive knowledge of the metal finishing industry enable us to provide expert consulting services for companies in a wide range of industries, including:

  • Aerospace
  • Electronics
  • Defense
  • Automotive
  • Medical
  • Oil & Gas
  • Optics
  • Power Generation
  • Semiconductors

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We understand the unique challenges each of these industries faces in today's highly competitive and continually evolving manufacturing climate. We're able to tailor our services to your operational requirements and deliver reliable, cost-effective metal finishing results.

Metal Finishing to Your Specifications

Whether your manufacturing applications require electroplating, electroless plating, testing, prototyping or any of our other services, we'll work with you to develop a process that will meet your specifications in the following areas:

  • ASTM: We're familiar with the standards established by the American Society for Testing and Materials regarding the acceptable procedures for the testing and classification of metals and other types of manufacturing materials.
  • MIL: If your company does contract work for the defense industry or the military, we can make sure your products comply with the stringent U.S. Department of Defense specifications.
  • AMS: Manufacturers in the aerospace industry know they can trust SPC to ensure that their surface coatings will meet or exceed the applicable Aerospace Materials Specifications standards.

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For Consulting

Help With Troubleshooting

Problems can occur during any phase of a metal finishing process. Fortunately, we implement a systematic approach to problem-solving that can detect issues quickly and efficiently. We can also develop and execute the right solution that will provide permanent results — not just a temporary fix. You'll experience a higher level of quality with fewer defects such as sharp edges, pitting, flaking, peeling and adhesion loss.

Root Cause Analysis

Our consultation services also include root cause analysis that will accurately identify the source of a problem and rule out any unrelated factors. Our team of technical experts can then determine the best way to integrate the solution into your industrial process control procedures and prevent the issue from reoccurring.

Our Team

The SPC team brings many years of metal finishing industry experience to the consultative process. We have extensive knowledge of the plating process, along with the ability to apply it to your unique situation. Our capabilities include:

  • Well-honed project management skills that ensure the quality of the results, the most efficient use of all available resources and adherence to your timeline and scheduling requirements
  • Lean and Six Sigma training and certification that help us apply effective process improvement techniques to production procedures and methods

Get Started With a Free Phone Call

You can begin the consultation process with no risk. We offer a free 30-minute initial phone conversation with one of our technical experts. During the call, we'll discuss your metal finishing project requirements and provide more details about our processes. It's an excellent way for us to learn more about your company, and you'll have the opportunity to ask questions. By the end of the call, we'll both know whether our services are the right fit for you.

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Benefits of metal plating consulting

Here are a few ways metal plating consulting can benefit your business.

Plan Projects With an Experienced Professional

Each project has a unique set of requirements according to their purpose and the environment in which they will function. Requirements are often expressed with a list of technical specifications, which can include features from corrosion resistance to electrical conductivity. A metal plating consultant can review these with your company in order to determine the best processes and materials for your product.

The first step of this process is usually a review of technical specifications on the project in question. This is a crucial step in helping the consulting service understand the details of your product, as well as what you expect from plating. This step also helps clarify any potential functional problems, like structural weaknesses or materials capable of interfering with the plating process. It can also help identify any confusing or potentially problematic clauses in the technical specifications.

After clarifying the necessary points with your electroplating consultant, your company and the consulting firm can choose the plating process and materials. A precious metal plating consultant can help recommend the best combinations of metals for plating based upon your expectations of the finished product and the interactions between metal plating layers. They can also theorize the best plating thicknesses based on your preferences and the requirements of the materials.

View Plating Tests Before You Purchase

Before beginning the plating process, your consultant may request samples of the parts they will work on within your first few metal plating consultations in order to produce samples of their work. This provides you with physical examples of what your product could look like under the circumstances proposed by your company and the plating consultant. Samples of the finished product allow you to inspect the quality and performance of the plating.

Additionally, the studies usually include failure analysis of the plating, testing the adhesion and durability of the plating under different conditions. This helps to determine the life expectancy of the finished product, as well as identify any structural or plating defects before full-scale production begins.

Some of the tests include:

  • Chisel-Knife Test: This tests plating adhesiveness using a cold, sharp chisel to penetrate the metal coating and attempt to peel it from the substrate. If the plating can be removed this way, the plating did not properly adhere to the substrate.
  • File Test: This tests plating adhesiveness by sawing off a portion of the part to look for detachment at the deposit-substrate meeting point. If the two separate, the plating did not properly adhere to the substrate.
  • Impact Test: This tests plating adhesion using a blunt object to pound the plated part. If separation occurs as a result, the plating did not properly adhere.
  • Heat-Quench Test: This tests adhesion by heating the plated parts in an oven at a temperature suitable for the product. After heating, they’re submerged in cool or room-temperature water. Flaking or blistering after this process indicates improper adhesion.
  • Scribe-Grid Test: This test uses a steel tool to carve a grid pattern on the surface of the product to test adhesion. If any portion of the coating between the lines breaks away, it is evidence of improper adhesion to the substrate.

This barrage of tests ensure that your finished product is as high quality as possible, and the working samples allow your company to know exactly what it’s paying for before purchasing the product in full quantity.

Get Help Starting Your Own Plating Plant 

Many companies opt to do their plating in-house, usually due to the unique nature of their product or their desire to control all aspects of the production line to cut costs. Though it is an ideal solution for many companies, the process of starting a plating plant is monumental in time, effort and money. Plating plants employ a complex assortment of equipment, chemical processes and safety processes, all of which demand close attention. All of these aspects must also be customized to suit the company’s unique application. In all of these aspects, an experienced metal finishing consultant can provide valuable guidance.

In terms of equipment, the components involved in your particular plating application should be specialized for the type of plating you expect to do and the materials you will use. They should also be sized to suit the scale of your application and fit with other

equipment within the plant. A plating consultant can help determine which pieces of equipment you should look for, as well as their ideal sizes and specifications.

Plants also involve a large number of chemical processes in their daily operations. From the manufacturing processes to the treatment of wastewater, chemicals are integral to the function of a plating plant. An experienced plating consultant can simplify the process of determining which chemical processes to use in your plant by explaining which chemical processes you should use and the chemicals they involve.

Finally, all plating plants must meet national standards set by the EPA and OSHA for environmental and worker safety, respectively. The guidelines are especially strict for plating plants. For companies new to the guidelines and how they apply to their plating plant, a plating consultant can act as a guide and provide advice on how to best meet these national standards.

Develop Comprehensive, Personalized Processes 

When developing a plating process for your company, getting it wrong can be costly. Plating consultants are extremely important in this regard, because they will help you develop the best process to fit your business, using years of industry experience.

This process usually begins with an in-person visit to the plant. Upon visiting, the consultants will look at your current manufacturing processes, learn about your products’ requirements and collect your input about what you expect out of the process.

After this step, the consulting firm will generally ask for samples of your product, so they can test plating techniques on the samples for your inspection and input. After determining your opinion of the process and the end result, they will make recommendations based on your plant, your product and what you desire from the process.

Assess Your Wastewater

Wastewater from plating plants contains heavy metal, oils and grease at levels that can be hazardous to the environment and the public in high quantities. Plating facilities must pretreat wastewater before removing it from the facility. With both wastewater production and discharge standards increasing, it’s important to adequately test and treat wastewater before discharging it. For companies unfamiliar with the processes and standards, a plating consultant is key.

A plating consultant can assess any current treatment processes for your wastewater. They often do this by testing the equipment used to treat the wastewater, as well as the treated wastewater itself. After the testing, the plating consultants can suggest changes in your company’s wastewater treatment to better comply with national standards, making your company more environmentally friendly.

Hire and Train Better Employees 

When running a plating plant, your employees are the most important part of your business. Employees can make or break a business, which is why it is important to hire the right people and train them. In this matter, a plating consultant can help.

Typically speaking, electroplating workers do not require much formal education to get started — they advance through their experience and training. For this reason, analyze the person’s previous experience and personality when considering them for a job. A consultant can give you advice about hiring new plating technicians, what questions to ask during interviews, and what warning signs to be aware of.

Once an employee is hired, they must be properly trained to work with the equipment at the plant and follow the protocols set in place. This training is crucial to decrease product design time, reduce problems with quality and understand the plating process as a whole. It also ensures employee safety around the hazardous equipment and chemicals involved in the plating process.

While many online learning courses are available to train employees on the finer parts of electroplating, they lack a personal approach. An electroplating consultant is the best resource to use in this regard. They can provide hands-on, detailed training for new hires and old hands alike, and provide continuing education for employees at all levels of the production plating process.

Close Your Plant Safely

 Plating Consulting Process and Benefits 

Whether due to changes in leadership, changes in company objectives or bankruptcy, your company may decide to close the plant. Like opening a plant, closing one is a lengthy and involved process. Plating consultants can walk you through each step of the closing process, making sure you’re following government regulations and handling necessary requirements as you close the location.

A plating consultant can visit you and your plant to see the equipment and materials you are using, and better understand your reasons for wanting to close. After seeing the plant, they can sit down with your company’s management team to create a list of closing objectives, including any special considerations such as chemical disposal. Considerations include:

  • Schedule Considerations: This includes the closing timetable, which should be tailored to fit the needs of your company and your employees.
  • Budget Considerations: This estimates the amount of money received upon sale of equipment and spent on waste removal.
  • Legal Considerations: There are a number of legal aspects to closing a plant and laws to follow as you do so. This includes following environmental, safety and labor laws so your plant, its employees and the environment around them are handled properly and safely.
  • Staffing Considerations: This involves any mandatory staff notifications of closure and the redistribution or layoff of personnel.
  • Environmental Considerations: This involves the proper disposal of any toxic waste material, such as heavy metals and wastewater, which may have a negative impact on the environment.
  • Asset Disposal Considerations: This involves the disposal or sale of any assets, such as equipment, unfinished work or unused materials.
  • Demolition Considerations: If your company is planning to demolish the plant, a consultant can help identify any potential problems, determine an appropriate demolition method and identify the proper demolition specialist for the job.
  • Bankruptcy Considerations: If your company is closing the plant due to bankruptcy, there are a number of extra steps you must take as you close. A consultant can walk you through the additional steps and help you contact the right financial specialists familiar with the industry.

Fortunately, an experienced plating consultant can help with each step in the process.

Receive Experienced Advice

There are many incredible benefits for any company diving into the plating industry. The most important benefit to your company is the years of knowledge at your fingertips when you work with a consulting service. When you work with Sharretts Plating Company as your consulting resource, you will benefit from over 90 years of industry experience and knowledge. Our professionals have seen it all, bringing together experience from multiple industries, so we can better serve your company’s needs.

Sharretts Plating Company is more than a simple plating company — we’re surface treatment experts. We provide insights for unique projects across all industries. We’ve worked as consultants for other plating companies with projects outside the scope of our business model. We can help you determine which plating process is best for your company and product, or if plating is even necessary for your particular application.

Contact SPC Today

If your company is looking for a plating consultant or electroplating training service, contact Sharretts Plating Company today. We’ll be happy to give you a no-obligation quote for any of our training or consulting services. To initiate a free 30-minute consulting conversation, give us a call at 717.767.6702.


"I would like to thank you for the help you have provided us in developing an electroless nickel plating technique on an unusual substrate. The sample platings you provided show that we should be able to reach our goals. I especially appreciate your willingness to take on an unusual job, with the uncertainties that that entails...We are looking forward to working with you in the future on our plating needs."

– Robert K.