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Zinc Plating

Electroplating Zinc

Gleco offers ASTM B633 Types I, II, III, V, and VI zinc plating for parts up to 120″ x 36″ x 72″, requiring a strong, ductile, corrosion-resistant finish. This cost-effective plating option is used most frequently by the Aerospace, Defense, Construction Equipment, and Marine industries for industrial parts, such as brake calipers, pipes, and transmission components.

The Zinc Plating Process

The Zinc Plating Process is as follows:

  1. First, the surface is cleaned and prepared to remove debris or contaminants that might prevent proper adhesion.
  2. Next, the plating solution is formulated and prepared using either acid or alkaline zinc electrolytes.
  3. Next, the proper plating procedure is selected based on the part being plated (rack plating for larger parts; barrel plating for smaller parts.
  4. Next, the part is lowered into the bath, and a DC electrical current is introduced from the anode, flowing to the substrate to deposit zinc ions on the part’s surface, then from the cathode back to the anode.
  5. When electrodeposition is completed, parts may undergo post-treatment, such as rinsing, drying, passivating, and sealing.

Zinc Plating Color Options

Zinc plating can be applied to produce several different color finishes:

  • Clear Zinc: Created by using colorless passivates (RoHS-compliant), clear zinc is also known as white or blue zinc because of its bluish-white iridescence. It is the most commonly specified zinc.
  • Yellow Zinc: Created by using colored passivates (RoHS-compliant) or colored chromates (non-RoHS-compliant), yellow zinc is also called gold zinc due to its brilliant golden color. It can be produced in a wide range of yellow colorations.
  • Black Zinc: Created by using colored passivates (RoHS-compliant) or colored chromates (non-RoHS-compliant), black zinc is specified because of its appearance, a dark sheen that still provides solid solution corrosion.
  • Olive Drab: Using colored chromates (non-RoHS-compliant), olive drab is often used in military and automotive applications where corrosion exposure is high.

Benefits of Zinc Plating

Zinc plating offers a number of unique benefits, including:

  • Cost-effectiveness: Because zinc is found in abundance, it is a more affordable plating option.
  • Outstanding Strength: Although relatively lightweight, zinc can significantly increase the strength of the substrate onto which it is applied.
  • Flexibility: Because zinc can be prepared in many different bath chemistries, it allows for more precise customization options in both rack and barrel plating processes.
  • Ductility: Zinc can be stretched into long, thin strands without breaking, making it easy to apply to a wide range of part shapes. High-temperature tolerances: zinc can tolerate temperatures of up to 120° F
  • Environment-friendliness: Zinc plating is recyclable and eco-friendly, especially when compared to cadmium.
  • Aesthetics: Zinc plating can improve the appearance of the metal components to which it is applied, and post-treatment colorization increases the effect.

Our Electroplating Zinc Capabilities

Rack Plating

Rack electroplating works by affixing zinc components to metal racks, allowing the parts to remain stationary during the immersive plating process. It is ideal for more fragile components and larger plating projects.

Barrel Plating

Barrel electroplating is most often used for projects involving large amounts of smaller components. Using a barrel-shaped cage container, components are immersed in a chemical bath. The barrel is rotated throughout the plating process, allowing for a uniform zinc coating on all of the treated parts. While this process is highly efficient, the resulting abrasion from this technique makes it unsuitable for delicate components.

If you’re seeking a strong, corrosion-resistant coating, contact Gleco Plating to discuss our Zinc Electroplating options.