As with most other technologies, metal plating is constantly evolving and improving. The new electroplating technologies promise to grow and improve the industry in the coming years.
(Pixabay / WerbeFabrik)
The following are some of the major innovations that are expected to dominate the future of electroplating:
- Nanotechnology – This involves scientific, engineering, and technological processes at the nanoscale level, which is approximately 1 to 100 nanometers. Nanotechnology will have a great impact on the metal finishing industry as nanocrystalline metals are harder, more wear-resistant, and corrosion-resistant than ordinary metal surfaces. They are also lighter in weight and require only a thin coating for adequate protection.
- Improved chemistry – Spurred by consumer demand and strict government regulations, metal finishing in the future will eliminate most of the hazardous substances used in today’s electroplating processes. It may take a while, but the research necessary to make these advances is moving forward with promising results.
- Non-metal substrates – Metal is currently the primary electroplating substrate. The aim of electroplating technology is to develop non-metal substrates. Future composite materials will be non-metallic with reinforcements in the form of Kevlar, carbon or glass. Future substrates are expected to be stronger and more resistant to corrosion than their metallic predecessors.
- Widespread use of dry processes – Historically, the electroplating process involved the use of wet surface finishing. Trends point to the extensive use of the dry finishing process in the future to reduce dangerous chemicals and industrial waste. Adopting dry processing in electroplating will be a major step in the greening of the industry.
The metal finishing trade is anything but static. Expect many new developments in the field that will streamline processes, support the environment, and hasten the creation of durable, non-metal substrates.