Navigating Copper Plating Challenges

Copper is the go-to metal for industrial plating. The manufacturing sector loves copper because it is corrosion-resistant, environmentally-friendly, and economical. You can find copper in industrial pipes, circuit boards and other electronic parts, aircraft bearings and gears, and more.

Copper Plating Challenges

(Pixabay / stux)

A faulty copper-plated component can snowball into a raft of problems, particularly where electronics and aerospace are concerned. The challenge is to get the electroplating process right for strong, long-lasting components.

As you prepare for copper electroplating, make sure you take the following steps.

  • Pick the right type of bath.
There are two main bath types:
    • Alkaline (non-acidic), cyanide or non-cyanide
    • Acidic
The type of bath you choose will depend on your desired finish. If you want a bright finish, opt for an acidic bath.
  • Distribute the current in acid baths. If you are using an acidic bath, you need to agitate it regularly to diffuse the current. Otherwise, you could end up with a dull finish. You can use air or mechanical agitation. Mechanical is best for electronic components, and air is best when aesthetics are a priority (decorative hardware, etc.)
    • Eliminate bath impurities. Copper plating baths, especially alkaline baths, are prone to contaminants from rack materials and cleaning solutions. Filter your electroplating solution regularly to keep it clean. If you are using an acid bath, you will have less trouble with contaminants, but you should still be vigilant. If your acid bath takes on a greenish color, you need to purify it. You can do this with a light carbon treatment. If that doesn’t work, follow up with a hydrogen peroxide treatment.
      • Watch your through-holes. Through-holes and blind vias on circuit boards are famous for escaping copper coating. If they do get coated, it is often uneven. You can decrease this maddening phenomenon by increasing the acid concentration in your plating bath.

      At Gold Plating Services, we can supply all of your copper plating needs. Whether you are dealing with jewelry or electronics plating, our copper plating kits can help you apply durable copper coatings to improve the functionality, strength, and appearance of components.

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