Electroplating can be used to make a base metal stronger, more aesthetically pleasing, more corrosion or heat-resistant or to improve its electrical conductivity. The process uses electrical current to bond one type of metal or compound alloy to a base metal.

Choosing Between Barrel or Rack Plating

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There are several methods of electroplating, but the most common are barrel and rack plating. Each presents its own set of advantages. The decision to use one or the other depends on the specific demands of your electroplating project.

Here’s a closer look at these two electroplating methods:

Barrel plating. This type of plating is executed in—you guessed it—a barrel. The barrel is filled with different plating solutions and systematically rotated so that all parts are coated evenly. Benefits include:

  • Costs less than rack plating
  • Accommodates parts of many different shapes and sizes
  • Particularly suitable for a hodgepodge of small pieces (including fasteners and small stampings)
  • Works for different metals and alloys
  • Highly efficient, allowing you to electroplate a large number of components rapidly
  • Great for zinc, nickel, tin, brass, and copper plating

Rack plating. With this type of plating, components are secured on a metal rack. The rack is then placed in plating solutions. Rack plating is often favored for automotive parts, medical instruments, and electronics components. Advantages of rack plating include:

  • Accommodates components that are easily broken, complex, or too large for barrel plating
  • Usually imparts a higher-quality coating than barrel plating
  • Allows for even coating of contoured components
  • Lends itself well to nickel and chrome finishes

If you need help deciding which method is best for your next project, contact Gold Plating Services. We specialize in gold and rhodium plating kits and more. We can furnish you with the supplies necessary for cost-effective, top quality electroplating.