Electroless Nickel Plating Services

Electroless Nickel Plating Services per MIL-C-26074, ASTM B733 and AMS 2404

GB3_2781

Advanced Plating Technologies is an industry leader in electroless nickel plating services to MIL-C-26074, ASTM B733 and AMS 2404.  APT’s company expertise in providing exacting barrel, rack and vibratory electroless nickel plating services is currently employed in numerous industries including the medical, power transmission/distribution, petrochemical, and defense industries.

Advanced Plating Technologies offers a wide range of electroless nickel plating services including both Type IV medium phosphorous and Type V high phosphorous deposits.  Post plate baking to attain high-hardness near HV1000 is available.  Advanced Plating Technologies excels in  heavy-build electroless nickel plating services and has provided electroless nickel plating services exceeding 0.005 inches per side.  Underplating with copper plating or electrolytic nickel plating is available to provide multi-layer duplex systems to enhance corrosion performance (reference:  What causes metals to oxidize or “rust” in the Plating Topics section).

Electroless Nickel Micro ScrewsElectroless nickel is a unique coating that does not require an external source of electrons for deposition as in traditional electrolytic plating.  Rather, electroless nickel is a nickel-phosphorous alloy deposited by a chemical reduction (reaction) from hypophosphite on a catalytic substrate without the application of external current.  Since there is no applied current during deposition, electroless nickel deposits are free from the common nonuniformity of traditional electrolytic deposits and can cover even extremely complex geometries with excellent uniformity (reference: What are the advantages of electroless nickel over traditional electrolytic nickel in our Plating Topics section).

Any portion of a part that is equally wetted by the electroless nickel solution will plate uniformly including blind holes and the inner diameters of tubing or fittings.  The codeposited phosphorus in the deposit increases the lubricity over that of traditional nickel plating and the percentage of phosphorus in the coating also affects deposit properties such as magnetism, corrosion resistance and hardness.  In addition, a post-plate baking at temperatures above 500F can transition electroless nickel deposits from an amorphous as-plated state to a crystalline structure, greatly increasing hardness.

Reference the bullets below for the differences between medium and high phosphorus electroless nickel deposits.  Select the Electroless Nickel Technical Data PDF for a comprehensive listing of physical, mechanical and electrical electroless nickel deposit properties.techdata

  • High Phosphorous Electroless Nickel (> 10% P, Type V):  Semi-bright to matte appearance, non-magnetic, solderable with proper flux selection, and highly corrosion resistant.  Rc 48-55 (as plated), 66-70 (with heat treatment).
  • Medium phosphorous Electroless Nickel (6-9% P, Type IV):  Semi-bright to bright appearance, magnetic, good solderability and moderate corrosion resistance.  Rc 58-62 (as plated), 66-70 (with heat treatment).

The two most common electroless nickel plating services certified by Advanced Plating Technologies are MIL-C-26074, ASTM B733 and AMS 2404.  APT also can certify electroless nickel plating services to ISO 4527 and AMS 2405 as well as most company-specific electroless nickel specifications.  A summary of electroless nickel services per the MIL, ASTM and AMS specs is as follows:

Electroless Nickel Plating Services to MIL-C-26074

GE 15in Piston in Tank Class 1:  As plated no subsequent heat treatment (a bake for hydrogen embrittlement relief is not considered heat treatment).
Class 2:  Heat-treated to obtain required hardness.  May be used on all metals not affected by heating to 500F and above.  Required hardness can be obtained per the following schedule:

°F Temperature                  Hours
500                                          4 or more
550                                          2 or more
650                                          1 to 1.5
750*                                        0.5 to 1*

* Advanced Plating Technologies’ preferred high-hardness bake schedule is 750F for 0.5 to 1 Hour as this provides the most complete and time-consistent transition of amorphous to crystalline deposit structure to attain high hardness.

Class 3:  Aluminum alloys nonheat-treatable, and beryllium alloys processed to improve adhesion of the nickel deposit.  Coated nonheat-treatable aluminum parts shall be heated for 1 to 1.5 hours at 375°F +/- 15°F to improve adhesion of nickel deposit.
Class 4:  Aluminum alloys, heat-treatable, processed to improve adhesion of the nickel deposit.  Coated heat-treatable aluminum alloys shall be heated between 240°F to 260°F for 1 to 1.5 hours to improve adhesion of nickel deposit.

Grade A – 0.0010-inch minimum deposit thickness
Grade B – 0.0005-inch minimum deposit thickness
Grade C – 0.0015-inch minimum deposit thickness

Electroless Nickel Plating Services to ASTM B733-04

Note:  ASTM B733-04 is markedly updated from ASTM B733-90 in that the coating Type specifies the phosphorous content of the coating.  ASTM B733-90 does not make this distinction.

EN-Wedges-1Type I:  No requirement of phosphorous
Type II: 1-3% phosphorous (low phosphorous)
Type III: 2-4% phosphorous (low phosphorous)
Type IV: 5-9% phosphorous (medium phosphorous)
Type V: 10% or greater phosphorous (high phosphorous)

SC0:  Minimum Thickness 0.000004 in
SC1:  Light Service 0.0002 in minimum
SC2:  Mild Service 0.0005 in minimum
SC3:  Moderate Service 0.001 in minimum
SC4:  Severe Service 0.003 in minimum

Class 1:  As-deposited, no heat treatment.
Class 2:  Heat treatment at 260 to 400°C (500-752°F) to produce a minimum hardness of 850 HK100.
Class 3:  Heat treatment at 180 to 200°C (356-392°F) for 2 to 4-hr to improve coating adhesion on steel and to provide for hydrogen embrittlement relief.
Class 4:  Heat treatment at 120 to 130°C (248-266°F) for at least 1-hr to increase adhesion of heat-treatable (age-hardened) aluminum alloys (such as 7075) and carburized steel.
Class 5:  Heat treatment at 140 to 150°C (284-302°F) for at least 1-hr to improve coating adhesion for aluminum, non age-hardened aluminum alloys, copper, copper alloys and beryllium.
Class 6:  Heat treatment at 300 to 320°C (572-608°F) for at least 1-hr to improve coating adhesion for titanium alloys.

Electroless Nickel Plate Services – AMS 2404

Note: AMS 2404 supersedes AMS-MIL-C-26074 which employs Grade designations to convey thickness requirements.  See 8.13 for a complete cross reference from AMS-MIL-C-26074 callouts to the technically identical provisions within this specification (AMS 2404) in order to comply with the purchase order requirements.

Flex Elbow 2

Class 1:  Except for hydrogen embrittlement relief, no post plating thermal treatment.
Class 2:  Thermal treatment at 450°F (232°C) or above to harden the deposit.
Class 3:  Thermal treatment at 375°F (191°C) to improve adhesion for nonheat-treatable aluminum alloys and beryllium alloys.
Class 4:  Thermal treatment at 250°F (121°C) to improve adhesion for heat-treatable aluminum alloys.

1.3.1 Unless a specific class is specified, Class 1 shall be supplied.

3.1.1 Stress Relief Treatment – Steel parts having a hardness of 40 HRC or higher and which have been ground after heat treatment shall be cleaned to remove surface contamination and suitable stress relieved before preparation for plating.  Unless otherwise specified, the stress relief temperature shall not be less than 275°F (135°C) for not less than five hours for parts having hardness of 55 HRC or higher or not less than 375°F (191°C) for not less than four hours for other parts.

3.3.2.1 When Class 2 is specified, parts shall be heated to a selected temperature within the range of 450 to 800F and held for sufficient time to increase hardness of the deposit.  See 3.4.4 and 8.6.  Hydrogen embrittlement relief (3.3.1) may be omitted if Class 2 hardening is accomplished within four hours after plating.

3.3.2.2 When Class 3 is specified, parts shall be heated to 375°F +/- 15°F for 1 to 1.5 Hours.

3.3.2.3 When Class 4 is specified, parts shall be heated to 250°F +/- 10°F for 1 to 1.5 Hours.

3.4.1 Thickness

Unless otherwise specified, minimum thickness of the nickel coating shall be 0.0010 inch for aluminum based alloys, 0.0005 inch for copper, nickel, cobalt, titanium and beryllium alloys and 0.0015 inch for iron-based alloys.

3.4.4 Hardness

Class 2 plating shall be not lower than 800 HK100, or equivalent determined in accordance with ASTM E384.

3.4.7 Composition

GB3_2888The cognizant engineering organization may specify a phosphorus content range of the deposit.  When specified, the composition of the deposit shall be determined by a method acceptable to the cognizant engineering organization.

8.6 The following thermal treatments have been used to achieve Class 2 hardness:

°F Temperature                  Hours
450                                          4, minimum
500                                          4, minimum
550                                          2, minimum
650                                          1 to 1.5
750*                                        0.5 to 1*

 * Advanced Plating Technologies’ preferred high-hardness bake schedule is 750F for 0.5 to 1 Hour as this provides the most complete and time-consistent transition of amorphous to crystalline deposit structure to attain high hardness.

8.13 AMS-MIL-C-26074 and its predecessor specifications encourage the use of Grade designations to specify thickness as follows:

Grade A 0.0010 inch minimum
Grade B 0.0005 inch minimum
Grade C 0.0015 inch minimum

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

  • Heavy Build Capabilities:  Advanced Plating Technologies has successfully employed electroless nickel plating services to coating thickness of over 0.008 inches.  Many job shops are not even aware that electroless nickel can be physically plated to this degree.  Our extensive research and development of heavy build thicknesses for the petrol-chemical industry provide a sound background for all heavy build deposit requirements.
  • Diversity of Substrates:  Advanced Plating Technologies provides rack barrel and vibratory electroless 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.
  • Precision Medical-Grade Applications:  Advanced Plating Technologies offers a dedicated precision electroless nickel plating line dedicated for the specialized handling needed to provide electroless nickel plating services within the medical industry to the requirements of ISO 13485.  This line utilizes precision ultrasonic cleaners, dedicated activation chemistries and specialized virgin deionized water rinsing systems.  Processing with patented vibratory, oscillatory and compartmentalized barrels ensures proper processing of even the most demanding Swiss screw components.
  • High Production Commercial Applications:  Advanced Plating Technologies utilizes a high capacity rack and barrel line to ensure competitive pricing and short lead times on even the largest high-volume requirements for electroless nickel plating services.
  • RoHS and REACH Compliance:  Advanced Plating Technologies is at the forefront of environmental compliance and can certify our electroless nickel plating services as needed to the current RoHS, ELV and REACH regulations.
  • Competitive Pricing:  Advanced Plating Technologies has been providing quality electroless nickel plating services for over twenty years.  Competitive pricing in electroless 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 competency that we value highly to ensure the service our customers need.
  • 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 meet your needs in electroless nickel plating services.
  • GB3_2865Extensive in House Analytical and Quality Lab Services:  SPC is employed in all wet-lab work surrounding our electroless nickel plating services to ensure baths are analyzed and adjusted at optimum frequencies to ensure operation between critical upper and lower control points.  Our quality 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 quality 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.