Key Benefits of Silver Electroplating

What makes silver arguably the noblest precious metal plated?

Silver electroplating has been around for eons. Its uses date back to the beginning of coinage and metal smithing. In modern times, silver was first collected as a status symbol of wealth and more importantly functional industrial use. Silver has the most applications as compared to any other plated metal. Used in conjunction with most every common industry, silver makes itself practically indispensable. In other words, it’s virtually impossible to substitute other metals in its place. Another important note is that it’s the least expensive precious metal. Compared to gold and palladium, it’s 1/60th and 1/25th the going market price today, which makes the silver plating cost relatively low.

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Its major important properties at a glance are that it has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity and light reflectance of any known metal known to man and also has the lowest weight and melting point of the precious metals group. Other features include the ease in manufacturing of silver parts, feasibility of alloying it with other metals such as aluminum and tin, and the fact that it is very easy to metalize onto almost any material. Silver-plated metal options can also include silver-plated gold, silver plating on copper and several others.

When should THE ELECTROPLATING OF silver be employed?

Silver electroplating should be an engineer’s first option when considering the use of a precious metal. The simple answer is that a silver plating solution is far less costly than choosing the more thought of precious metals i.e. gold and platinum. Another reason to opt for silver plating is when considering increasing a products life cycle by replacing the material coating choice of a tin or tin alloy coating. Tin is often said to be the poor man’s silver, but does not possess the conductivity nor corrosion resistance, and melts at much lower temperatures where silver can sustain nearly three and a half times the heat before melting. Silver once in a liquid state can also act as a lubricant whereas tin won’t. Silver is also many times harder than tin and its alloys.

How do I choose the right silver ELECTROPLATING SOLUTION?

First, start out by familiarizing yourself with a couple of the most popular silver plating specifications such as ASTM B 700, AMS 2410;11;12, and MIL-QQ-S-365. (View SPC Silver Plating Specs Adhered To) Next, start by choosing a handling method or manner in which is fit for your parts to be plated. SPC offers three different approaches:

image of tin plated fuses

Potential Issues with Electroplating Silver

Before you can plate, it is important to make sure that your parts are free of tensile stress, hydrogen embrittlement, pits and cracks, miscellaneous metal or non metal inclusions, and tool marks. All of the above if not addressed properly before plating will cause reel problems immediately during or after plating and sometimes may go unnoticed until it is in the hands of the customer. The most common silver plating problems are poor adhesion and voids in plating coverage. Electroplating with silver should ONLY be done after all mechanical and thermal operations and treatments have been completed. These include heat treatments, forming, bending, machining, soldering and welding. A proper under-plate should be applied such as a copper, nickel, or combination of the two with copper first then nickel. Also just as necessary and can be done without under-plating is the use of a silver strike prior the final silver plate. Finally an anti-tarnish coating may or may not be applied to the silver plating. This is dependent on whether or not the silver must withstand tarnishing.

Silver Plating Post Treatments

Some common post treatments are lacquers, chromates, and proprietary organic/inorganic coatings such as Eva-Brite™ and Tarniband™. Furthermore, packaging is equally as important. The use of use of non-sulfur bearing plastic bags, desiccates, and papers also referred to as silver saver paper should be employed. Sulfur is the key element in the formation of silver tarnish and should be avoided wherever possible. Lastly, the ability to vacuum seal a bag with the combination of desiccates and silver saver paper is a plus and will keep your parts in perfect form until opened and used.

Which industries utilize silver plating the most?

Without including luxury, the list includes the electronics i.e. connectors and semi-conductors, bearings, musical instruments, and up and coming power generation e.g. solar and battery. SPC currently offers and supplies an effective silver electroplating solution to all of the above industries except the musical instrument segment.

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How Can SPC’s Silver Plating Service Make the Difference for You?

The SPC difference is rooted in our company’s history and experience which dates back to 1925. An SPC engineer will be able to guide you to the most economic silver coating to conform to your product’s needs. Many times, when silver is called out, the end user does not know or specify type and amount of silver to be applied. This is where the SPC silver plating service can make the difference up front. SPC’s knowledge of industry specific applications will help direct you to a finish that is right for your end product. SPC’s performance is rooted in a “quality first” mentality.

Contact us at your earliest convenience to find out more or submit a request for quote for our silver finishing services and get 1 day turn-around or less. Discover what makes SPC stand apart from all others as a leading silver plating company.

Learn more about precious metal plating services from SPC.