With the longer lives and greater reliability now required for automotive components, new applications are being developed, including the use of boron-nitride, a metal-ceramic composite coating that combines the strength and durability of electroless nickel coatings with the lubrication, and anti-frictional properties of hexagonal boron nitride (HBN)
Components treated with this coating include cylinder liners, differential pins, exhaust pipes and manifolds, lock pieces, pad holders for disc brakes / brake cylinders, piston rods, shock absorbers, steering assemblies and synchromesh gears. The use of the electroless nickel plating process in fuel applications is also increasing due to its excellent corrosion resistance to the new “bio” fuels increasingly being specified.
For electronic components the coating is used for its combination of corrosion resistance and solderability. Other important considerations are the non-magnetic or magnetic coating properties, the uniform thickness and its consistent electrical, thermal and physical properties. These benefits are applied to consumer electronics, aerospace and military coatings.
Coaxial connectors, headers, housings and cases, heat sinks, diode cans, shutters, interlocks and memory disks and drums are among the many components presently plated with electroless nickel coatings.
CHEMICAL & PETROLEUM
The petroleum and chemical process industries are the largest users for corrosion protection. High nickel phosphorus of 25 to 75 μm (1 to 3 mils) thickness are commonly used to resist corrosion and erosion in aggressive brines, acids and gasses. Common applications include valves, chokes, blowout preventers, mud pumps, sucker rod and submergable pumps, pipe, heat exchangers and separators, packers, safety valves, production tubing, and all types of down hole tools.
Food grade coatings must comply with all relevant regulation. The selection of the specific process depends on the usage and must be tested individually.
There is no general approval or recommendation of the electroless nickel plating process for food application. However due to its good corrosion and physical properties of electroless nickel plating of aluminum and steel substrates can be a good option for distinct applications.
Plating aluminum with an electroless nickel coating is an excellent choice to withstand the harsh offshore environment. This corrosion resistant coating also offers outstanding wear resistance, therefore extending the life of components which receive constant handling and use such as pulleys and gears.
For packaging machinery and food handling equipment, the electroless nickel plating process is used because it provides and excellent corrosion and wear resistant coating which also provides an attractive finish to help ensure the cleanliness of the part.
Electroless nickel is used to handle such diverse products as sodium hydroxide, food grade acids and fish oils. Its uniform deposit is especially useful for hydraulic cylinders, worm feeds and extruders, shafts, chain belts and other close fitting parts. Common food handling applications include pneumatic canning machinery, hamburger molds and grills, bun warmers, baking pans, fryers and chocolate molds.