Plating services are important in any industry but particularly for the application in military vehicles. The brave men and women in our armed forces are often required to place themselves in dangerous situations. For that reason, the quality of equipment and machinery they use could literally mean the difference between life and death. To protect our military personnel, the defence industry always ensures that they have the best products at their disposal.
Military Manufacturing And Plating Services
Manufacturing quality products for the military or defence industry is no easy feat with no margin for error. Military vehicles such as tanks and armoured personnel carriers must be built to exact standards without any deviations. Manufacturers must ensure they meet the rigorous demands of combat and other challenging conditions. High quality and exceptional durability of finished products are of the utmost importance.
Finishing is a vital component to any manufacturing process especially for metal products and machinery in the defence industry. Finishing generally refers to the application of a specific metal coating that adheres to the product surface which forms a protective bond.
Typical metal finishing in plating services include the following:
The process of electroplating can be described as a common metal finishing or improving process used in a number of industrial applications. Electroplating uses an electric current to reduce dissolved metal cations so that they form a thin metal coating on an electrode. It’s known as electrodeposition because the process involves depositing a thin layer of metal onto the surface of a product referred to as the substrate.
Metal atoms dissolve in the electrolyte solution and ions are reduced at the cathode forming a coating. Different metals are coated using electroplating and preparing the right electrolyte is vital to the overall quality of plating services.
Common metals used in electroplating include zinc, copper and tin but also precious metals like gold, silver and palladium. Silver and tin are essential finishes for components designed to carry heavy electrical currents such as Busbars.
In a similar fashion as electroplating, electroless plating applies an adherent coating to the substrate. Instead of using an electric current, coating occurs as the result of an autocatalytic chemical reaction in the plating bath. Electroless plating enables greater control over the thickness of the metal coating and also produces a more even coating application.
Anodising is often used for protecting aluminium parts used in the manufacturing of military machinery and equipment. Similar to electroplating, the substrate is immersed in an electrolyte bath and the introduction of an electric current. The aluminium substrate serves as the anode (positively charged electrode), releasing oxygen ions from the bath. The oxygen ions combine with aluminium atoms fully integrated onto the surface of the substrate.
Chrome plating (Chemical film)
Chrome plating, also known as chromate conversion, is electroplating a thin layer of chromium onto a metal object. The process produces a film that adheres to the object surface and can provide corrosion resistance, promote electrical conductivity and increase surface hardness.
Metal finishing and plating services in the defence industry can protect many different parts including:
- Screws, fasteners and contacts
- Gun barrels and missile components
- Avionics and aircraft engine parts
- Optical devices
- Radar arrays and guidance system components
- Communication system components
Benefits of Quality Plating Services
PRV Engineering works with armour plated products for the outside of military vehicles, mounts for internal equipment, electronics and electronic circuitry and exterior mounts for ancillary items such as snow plough scoops. In addition, we are also involved with new innovative product development.
Working with the defence industry for more than six years, we know firsthand that good quality plating services are essential. We’ve listed a few of the advantages below:
- Increase wear resistance
- Protect against surface abrasions
- Reduce friction
- Improve electrical conductivity
- Heat resistance
- Corrosion resistance
- Improved appearance for better adhesion before painting or re-coating
In some cases, it is often necessary that the surface of a substrate needs to conduct electricity. The level of effectiveness greatly depends on using the right coating. Performed correctly can make a metal or plastic substrate electrically conductive in a cost-effective manner. Busbars are a prime example and an area PRV Engineering specialise in.
Some military vehicles and equipment are susceptible to high levels of heat during operation. A specialist metal coating can increase the ability to resist extreme temperatures and prevent heat damage over time.
On the other hand, military vehicles, weapons and machinery used in humid climates need improved protection against corrosion. These environments accelerate rust which is where metal coatings act as a barrier to prevent corrosion and prolong the lifespan.
Most military equipment contains many moving parts that come into contact with one another. As a result, the continuous friction and wear can easily lead to damage. Applying a metal coating can help reduce the impact of wear and tear on any and all parts.
Plating Services With Military Specifications
Metal plating for defence applications must conform to exacting standards as specified by the defence department. Metal finishing companies must adhere to these specifications or they could lose the contract altogether. Areas in the process deemed important include the type of materials used, pretreatment techniques, the plating methods, equipment and plating properties such as thickness, adhesion and smoothness.
Some of the defence metal finishing and plating services include:
- Copper plating can be used as an undercoat and provides good corrosion resistance
- Zinc-nickel plating is extremely useful in the manufacturing of engine parts and components for military vehicles
- Hard coat anodising used in the manufacturing of ordnance and firearms
- Cadmium plating for saltwater applications and manufacturing military aircraft
- Gold plating is suitable for manufacturing military-related electronics
- Silver electroplating provide the best form of conductivity and recommended for situations requiring maximum corrosion resistance
- Palladium plating has a high melting point which is ideal for various types of connector applications used in defence manufacturing
- Nickel plating in military plating applications enhances the corrosion and wear resistance of the substrate
- Electroless nickel plating (ENP) is used for many high-precision military metal finishing applications. It’s particularly useful for odd-shaped parts where electroplating is ineffective.
Why Choose PRV Engineering For Plating Services
When choosing a company for plating services, it is highly recommended to work with one that has extensive experience in completing military projects. They need to be familiar with how the military standards work when applied to specific plating techniques. With more than six years working with the defence industry on numerous successful projects, we know the type of quality that they require.
Clients choose PRV Engineering because we have a ‘one stop shop’ capability. We can produce your product without the need to outsource parts of the manufacturing process to a third party. This means saving on cost and time whether you’re developing a product from concept to prototype and full production or producing a product from your existing designs and specifications. We can complete it all in-house, including the finishing and specialist coatings.
We are one of the top precision engineering and manufacturing companies with extensive experience in CNC machining, powder coating, electroplating, waterjet cutting, fabrication among others. Some of the industries we serve include aerospace, defence, automotive, rail and construction.