Nickel is one of the most common materials used in electroplating applications. This lustrous, silvery-white metal is hard and ductile and offers excellent protection from corrosion. While nickel can work well as a standalone finish for many plating projects, it often serves as an undercoat for gold and other precious metals.
Metal finishing companies typically implement two nickel compounds for their nickel electroplating processes — sulfate nickel and sulfamate nickel. Sulfate nickel is a lower-grade, less expensive material that manufacturers often choose when their applications require reduced thickness levels. It also provides a brighter finish, making it ideal for products that require maximum aesthetic appeal.
Sulfamate nickel consists of a 99.9% pure nickel deposit, making it better suited for mechanical, engineering and other more functional manufacturing applications. Unlike the brighter sulfate nickel, this material has a matte appearance.
What Substrates Are Compatible With Sulfamate Nickel Plating?
Sulfamate nickel is a versatile material that works with a wide range of plating processes and various substrates such as:
- Ferrous alloys including stainless steel, mild steel and tool steels
- Pure copper and copper alloys such as beryllium, brass and nickel-silver
- Wrought and cast aluminum and other proprietary aluminum alloys
- Superalloys such as Inconel, Monel, Hastalloy and cobalt-chromium
What Are the Benefits of Sulfamate Nickel Plating?
Sulfamate nickel can provide a host of metal finishing benefits. Some of the advantages of sulfamate nickel plating include:
- Corrosion protection: Sulfamate nickel’s combination of density, purity and consistent deposit structure provides superior corrosion resistance. It’s a good choice for workpieces that will be exposed to wet or humid climates. The use of extreme heat treatments and diamond composites can further enhance the anti-corrosion properties.
- Wear resistance: A sulfamate nickel coating will harden the surface of the substrate and increase its resistance to normal wear and tear. The finished product will last longer and deliver more value to the end user.
- Temperature resistance: Sulfamate nickel exhibits strong heat-shielding properties. Use it to protect products exposed to high temperatures and extreme heat that could damage critical parts and components.
- High tensile strength: A sulfamate nickel coating will increase the substrate’s resistance to breaking under tension. The additional strength is ideal for applications where products undergo extreme stress
- Ductility: Sulfamate nickel increases the ability to stretch the workpiece without breaking it. This property is advantageous for processes such as sheet metal fabrication, during which a high level of material deformation occurs.
- Machinability and solderability: Although sulfamate nickel plating makes a workpiece stronger and more durable, it can also make it easier to cut, which is ideal for most machining processes. It also enhances solderability.
- Achieving dimensional corrections: It’s possible to achieve a precise and consistent deposit structure with sulfamate nickel plating, which is beneficial when modifying the dimensions of a workpiece.
- Price: The low cost is another of the many advantages of sulfamate nickel plating. Although it is typically more expensive than sulfate nickel plating, it is still more affordable than many other metal finishing techniques.
- Speed: It’s easier to achieve high-speed plating with sulfamate nickel than “standard” plating processes, shortening manufacturing cycles and increasing productivity.
- Quality: The relatively simple bath composition of a sulfamate nickel solution makes the plating process easier to control, resulting in higher quality results.
Sulfamate Nickel Plating Applications
The benefits of sulfamate nickel plating make it an ideal choice for:
- Serving as a diffusion barrier when used as an undercoat with metals such as gold, silver and tin
- Performing joining applications such as soldering, brazing, welding and epoxy bonding
- Repairing worn or damaged components
- Applying a build-up coating when resurfacing worn parts
- Restoring parts and components to their original specifications
- Restoring rollers used in process machinery tasks
- Crimping or flexing tasks
- Manufacturing electronic components such as chip resistors, connectors and lead frames
- Producing electroforming products including diamond cutters, stampers, metal masks and resin molds
Learn More About the Advantages of Sulfamate Nickel Plating
At SPC, we’re the surface treatment experts that provide the best metal finishing solutions for companies in a wide range of industries. We’ll draw upon our more than 90 years of experience to develop a customized sulfamate nickel plating process for your manufacturing applications. You’ll get a result that will improve the quality of your products and add value to your operation.
Contact us for more information regarding the many advantages of sulfamate nickel plating. We’ll also be happy to provide a no-obligation quote for your plating project.