Tin/Lead Plating (Electroplating) Services per MIL-P-81728 and ASTM B579
Advanced Plating Technologies is an industry leader in exacting tin/lead plating services to MIL-P-81728 and ASTM B579. Advanced Plating Technologies offers a diverse portfolio of tin/lead plating services including 10/90, 90/10, 60/40 and 95/5 formulations. In addition, any custom tin/lead formulation can be produced upon request to meet any company specification. Our expertise in providing precision barrel, rack and vibratory tin/lead plating services is currently employed in numerous industries including the bearing, railway, aerospace, defense, battery, electronic and fire protection industries.
Tin/lead plating services are utilized for unsurpassed solderability and in critical electrical and electronic applications eliminating the potential for tin whisker formation. Whiskers can cause failure of electrical and electronic components by bridging multiple conductor paths causing a short circuit (reference: Tin Whiskers: Failure Modes and Mitigation Strategies for a detailed NASA report within our Technical Library)
Advanced Plating Technologies specializes in demanding plate-to-gauge tin/lead plating and silver plating services for bearing, bushing and thrust washer applications in the aerospace, railway, defense and heavy mechanical industries. Our dedicated Quality Control department provides preplate, in-process and post-plate dimensional and surface finish (Ra) inspections of inner and outer bearing surfaces to ensure dimensional and surface finish requirements are met. Selective and heavy build tin/lead plating services have been provided up to 0.020 inches in thickness per side.
Tin/Lead Plating services, also referred to as solder plate or solder deposits, are functional finishes with a dull luster that can have a slightly mottled appearance. Due to the matte nature of the deposits they are susceptible to rinsing stains and staining from handling. If a bright appearance is desired, the surface can be overplated with a thin coating of bright tin or the deposit can be subsequently reflowed to a bright appearance. At the present time, Advanced Plating Technologies does not offer reflow of tin/lead plating services in-house.
The ratio of tin to lead in tin/lead plating services affects the hardness and melting point of the deposit. The eutectic ratio of 63/37 provides the lowest melting point of 361F of all the tin/lead plating ratios. In tin/lead plating, the higher the tin composition of the deposit, the higher the abrasion resistance will be. Tin/lead plating imparts excellent solderability to basis metals, minimizing the potential for tin whiskers or tin pests.
Tin/lead plating services on bearings are commonly used for break-in purposes on highly loaded bearing applications generally in the range of 3,000 to 8,000 PSI where the surface speed is relatively low. Heavier coatings are used in loadings up to 3,000 PSI where the thicker coating allows for imbedability of contaminants, especially on grooved bearing designs.
The two most common tin/lead plating services certified by Advanced Plating Technologies are MIL-P-81728 and ASTM B579. APT can also certify tin/lead plating services to most company-specific tin/lead plating specifications. A summary of tin/lead plating services per the MIL and ASTM specs is as follows:
Tin/Lead Plating Services to MIL-P-81728
3.2.5 Underplating – No underplating is specified except for alloys containing 15% or more zinc or beryllium. A copper or nickel underplating of 0.0001 inch is recommended on such alloys.
3.2.8 Unless otherwise specified, either a matte or bright luster shall be acceptable. For electronic components only a matte of flow brightened finish shall be furnished.
3.3.1 Thickness of Plating – Unless otherwise specified the thickness of the plating, except on electronic components, shall not be less the 0.0003 inches and shall not be greater than 0.0005 inches on visible surfaces that can be touched by a 0.75 inch sphere.
APT Note: A 0.0003” minimum to 0.0005” maximum plating tolerance may not be realistic based upon the part geometry. If this is the case, a finishing engineer will work to clarify the functional surface of the part where this range can be maintained. Deviations will be noted on quotations as necessary.
126.96.36.199 Thickness of Plating for Electronic Components – Unless otherwise specified the thickness for electronic components shall be a minimum average of 0.0003 inches where measured at four points at least 0.10 apart with no single reading being below 0.0002 inches.
The composition of the coating is 50-70 w% tin, with lead the remainder.
F – flow brightened deposits
B – bright deposits (as plated)
M – Matte deposits
Classes of tin/lead plating services per ASTM B579 as follows:
Service Class Application Thickness (Steel) Thickness (Copper)
SC 4 Very Severe 30 um minimum 30 um minimum
SC 3 Severe 20 um minimum 15 um minimum
SC 2 Moderate 10 um minimum 8 um minimum
SC 1 Mild 5 um minimum 5 um minimum
Underplating of 0.0001” nickel or copper is required for alloys containing 15% or more zinc.
Advanced Plating Technologies provides expertise in tin/lead plating services to fulfill even the most demanding functional requirement. 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 tin/lead plating services:
- Diversity of Substrates: Advanced Plating Technologies can provide tin/lead plating services on nearly any metallic substrate including hardened and alloyed steels, stainless steels, copper and copper alloys including beryllium, chromium and tellurium copper, brass alloys, Inconels, Hastalloys, Monels, ductile & cast iron.
- Demanding Plate-to-Gauge Requirements: Advanced Plating Technologies specializes in demanding plate-to-gauge tin/lead plating services required for bearing applications. Our QC department is proficient in OD and ID bore micrometers and surface finishing (Ra) inspection to ensure bearings meet print dimensional and Ra requirements.
- REACH Compliance: Advanced Plating Technologies is at the forefront of environmental compliance and can certify our tin/lead plating services as needed to the current REACH regulations.
- Competitive Pricing: Advanced Plating Technologies has been providing quality tin/lead plating services for over thirty years. Competitive pricing in tin/lead plating services is paramount to gaining and maintaining our customers in today’s competitive global marketplace.
- Reliable Lead Times: With inventory a concept of the past, consistent turn-around is a core company value to provide the service our customers need in tin/lead 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 meet your needs in tin/lead plating services.
- Extensive in House Analytical and Quality Lab Services: SPC is employed in all wet-lab work surrounding our tin/lead 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.