Plating is a centuries-old process that permanently joins a metal covering to a conductive surface. Platings affect not only how a metal fastener looks, but also its hardness, electrical conductivity, coefficient of friction, and how it will withstand corrosion or wear resistance. Basically to plate a fastener a thin layer of metal that is bonded at the molecular level to the fastener.
 
Metal fasteners often come into contact with dissimilar metals – which is a recipe for corrosion and a whole host of other problems. Even the smallest component can ruin the overall effectiveness of a product or cause significant challenges, which in turn may determine a manufacturer’s success or failure.
 
Why plate your fasteners?
There are a number of reasons why plating a fastener is essential; they include (but are not limited to):
Enhances its appearance Adding a thin layer of precious metal makes the item more aesthetically appealing
Can increase hardness & thickness Plated surfaces are less prone to damage which can help to increase their overall lifespan
Forms a protective barrier Adds a barrier to protect the item against atmospheric conditions, corrosion, and other extreme conditions which can result in a longer fastener lifespan
Prevents tarnishing Reduces the likelihood of scratching or damage to the fastener
Reduces friction Improves performance and reduces premature wear
Can conduct electricity Some platings can enhance electrical conductivity and is a highly effective, cost efficient, solution for conductivity for electrical components
Can resist heat Some platings can withstand extremely high temperatures and environments and will protect and extend the life of your fasteners
Can prevent galling Similar metals can become cold-fused together. Screws threaded into blind tapped holes are commonly affected by galling, and components made of stainless steel are especially susceptible.
 
What are the best plating options for critical applications?
Silver Plating (-A/-NA) Silver plating exhibits excellent anti-galling properties, high lubricity, a wide operating temperature range, good corrosion resistance, and exceptional conductivity.
Gold Plating (-AU/-NAU) Gold plating provides an outstanding combination of galling prevention properties, a wide operating temperature range, exceptional conductivity, good corrosion resistance, high lubricity, and high cosmetic appeal.
Nickel Plating (-K/-NK) Electroless Nickel plating provides effective corrosion resistance as well as good wear resistance and galling prevention in high vacuum systems and other environments.
MoS2 Coating (-C/-NC) MoS2 Coating provides vacuum compatible lubrication and improves component wear resistance.
WS2 Coating (-W/-NW) WS2 Coating (tungsten disulfide) provides vacuum compatible lubrication and improved wear resistance for treated components.
Electropolishing (-EP/-NEP) The electropolishing process carefully dissolves unwanted surface metals leaving behind the true base metal(s) of a component and significantly reduces surface burrs, chips, and peeling (which is especially important for threaded components). Electropolishing also greatly reduces surface particulate, improves corrosion resistance, helps reduce outgassing, and imparts a bright, chrome-like finish.
Kolsterising® (-KOL/-N-KOL) Kolsterising® is not a coating but a thermo-chemical, low-temperature, diffusion-based surface carbon diffusion treatment that enhances the hardness of the base material (typically certain grades of stainless steel, cobalt, and nickel-based alloys).
 
While the right coating or plating for your vacuum or critical application is best defined by your process engineer, we are always here to assist you. UC Components, Inc. has been the world leader in high vacuum hardware for clean-critical applications since 1974. By partnering with experts like UC Components, Inc. in engineering and supply, manufacturers like you not only solve incumbent issues such as galling, but also boost safety, quality, speed to market, and profitability.
 
How can UC Components help you?
UC Components, Inc.’s RediVac® fasteners, washers, hex nuts, and O-rings are specifically designed for use in a wide range of high vacuum applications and other clean-critical environments. We offer a range of finishing processes, including coatings and platings that are designed to prevent galling and/or improve the corrosion resistance of the treated component. All are vacuum compatible and dependant on your specific process chemistry.
 
Every single one of our RediVac® components, from nickel plated screws to WS2 coated washers to untreated hex nuts, goes through our certified Class 100 / ISO Class 5 Cleanroom precision cleaning and packaging processes prior to shipment. Your parts arrive ready for vacuum service.
 
Take a moment to look over our standard products. Can’t find exactly what you are looking for? We specialize in prototypes and custom parts which are not listed in our standard online product offerings. Give us a call or send us an RFQ. Our experts are here to help you select the right fasteners for your specific application. Contact UC Components today.