Black Nickel Plating (Electrolytic) Services

Black Nickel Plating (Electroplating) Services per MIL-P-18317

Advanced Plating Technologies provides innovation in engineered and functional black nickel plating services to MIL-P-18317.  APT offers barrel, rack and vibratory black nickel plating services currently utilized within numerous markets including the defense, aerospace, electronics, ammunition and telecommunications industries.

black nickel platingAdvanced Plating Technologies offers a wide range of black nickel plating services ranging from bright “jet-black” deposits to satin “charcoal gray” finishes.  The characteristics and appearance of APT’s black nickel plating services are a function of the basis material and/or underplating that is plated prior to the black nickel topcoat.  Generally speaking, a highly polished substrate with a bright nickel underplate will result in a lustrous, jet-black finish often referred to as a “black chrome” appearance.  Conversely, a matte or satin substrate such as a machined, glass-blasted or grained surface coupled with a satin nickel underplate such as electroless nickel will produce a satin charcoal gray appearance. Currently a matte, jet-black appearance is not available.

The corrosion performance of Advanced Plating Technologies’ black nickel plating is primarily a function of the complete finishing system.  If a specific corrosion performance is required the surface preparation of the substrate as well as the type, thickness and number of underplates used can be engineered to meet your finishing requirements (reference: What causes metals to oxidize or “rust” in our Plating Topics section).  The use of a copper underplate and specifically selected nickel underplates can be provided to meet most corrosion applications.

black nickel platingAdvanced Plating Technologies’ black nickel plating services are a RoHS compliant codeposit of tin and nickel in a common plated layer.  As a result, the black nickel properties are a mix of that of nickel plating and tin plating.  The co-deposited tin in the black nickel affords an inherent dry-film lubricity exceeding that of common nickel deposits.  The hardness of the black nickel deposit is consistent with traditional electrolytic nickel deposits.  However, due to its relatively thin deposit thickness of 1um (0.00004 inches), black nickel topcoats can be susceptible to break through in high wear applications.

Advanced Plating Technologies’ black nickel plating provides a highly conductive surface and has excellent “throw” or ability to plate uniformly on complex geometries.    Being a codeposit of tin and nickel, APT’s black nickel services can be directly soldered or brazed to making it an excellent fit for applications within the interconnect or telecommunications markets.  Black nickel can be used where high emissivity is required such as optics, solar panel applications, aerospace and defense systems.

The most common black nickel plating service certified by Advanced Plating Technologies is MIL-P-18317.  Advanced Plating Technologies also can certify black nickel plating services to most company specific black nickel specifications.  A summary of the MIL spec is provided below:

Black Nickel Plating to MIL-P-18317

MIL-P-18317 does not provide a Type, Class or Grade callout.  A few key points regarding the specification are summarized as follows:

black nickel plating3.3.1. Unless otherwise specified in the contract or order, the black nickel plating shall be applied to the basis metal without intermediate coating after all mechanical operations on the basis metal.

3.3.2 Intermediate Coating:  When specified in the contract or order, an intermediate coating such as nickel plating shall be applied to the basis metal for the purpose of improving the corrosion protection.

3.4.1 Color of the Deposit:  The deposit shall be a uniform black color which shall conform to the color of the approved sample (as approved by the customer).

6.3 Definition of black nickel plating – this section outlines a common “historic” black nickel formulation.  The section permits for any available formulation to be used by stating, “The (above) formula is typical of the thiocyanate baths employed for black nickel plating.  Other formulas for black nickel solution producing an equivalent coating may be used.”

Advanced Plating Technologies provides expertise in black nickel plating services to fulfill even the most demanding applications. From prototyping and PPAP qualification to full production processing – it is APT’s dedicated effort to exceed your expectations.  The following points highlight why Advanced Plating Technologies is a leader in black nickel plating services:

  • black nickel platingConsistent Black:  Advanced Plating Technologies’ tin/nickel alloy black nickel provides an extremely consistent black deposit with excellent conductivity and good durability for most applications.  APT has utilized this system for over ten years and can ensure a consistent black deposit from lot to lot.
  • Diversity of Substrates:  Advanced Plating Technologies provides black nickel plating services on nearly any metallic substrate such as copper & copper alloys including beryllium, chromium and tellurium coppers, hardened and alloyed steels, stainless steels, Inconels, Hastalloys, Monels, ductile & cast iron and metalized plastics.
  • Delicate and Difficult Geometries:  Advanced Plating Technologies offers black nickel plating services on delicate parts employing specialty oscillating, rock-and-roll, compartmentalized, vibratory and minimum part movement barrel technologies as well as custom-engineered rack fixturing when required to ensure even the most delicate parts are handled properly.  APT has a working R&D relationship with several tooling manufactures that has lead to several patented designs.
  • RoHS and REACH Compliance:  Advanced Plating Technologies is at the forefront of environmental compliance and can certify our black nickel plating services as needed to the current RoHS, ELV and REACH regulations.
  • Competitive Pricing:  Advanced Plating Technologies has been providing quality black nickel plating services for over twenty years.  Competitive pricing in black nickel plating services is paramount to gaining and maintaining our customers in today’s competitive global marketplace.
  • Reliable Lead Times:  With inventories leaner than ever, dependable turn-around is a core company value to ensure the service our customers need in black nickel plating services.
  • Value Added:  Advanced Plating Technologies prides itself in meeting the customer’s needs.  Whether it’s custom engineering packaging, vacuum or nitrogen sealed packaging to enhance storage, Kanban inventory management, light subassembly or multiple finishing combinations – APT will work with you to ensure we meeting your needs in black nickel finishing services.
  • black nickel platingExtensive in House Analytical and Quality Lab Services:  SPC is employed in all wet-lab work surrounding our black nickel plating services to ensure baths are analyzed and adjusted at optimum frequencies to verify operation between critical upper and lower control points.  Our QC lab employs the latest in x-ray, coulometric and spectrophotometer technologies to inspect your parts and will work to your requirements to provide testing as needed.  Our QC lab can certify salt spray performance to ASTM B117, adhesion to ASTM B571 and solderability to ASTM B678.  Mounted cross sections of parts are also available.