Frequently Asked Questions
At AlumiPlate, we often receive queries about our finishing processes, compliance standards, the materials we work with, and so much more. As a helpful resource for our customers, we sat down with our team of aluminum experts to answer your most frequently asked questions. Our team is eager to share their knowledge and experience from within the industry. If you have any further questions or would like to speak to a team member, don’t hesitate to reach out today.
Q. What is the largest part that can be aluminum plated?
A. The aluminum plating tanks can accommodate parts with a maximum size of ~20” X 30” X 23”. Depending on the specific part geometry, parts with slightly larger size dimensions may be plateable. We can make a definitive determination of plateability after review of the drawing. Contact our factory representative to discuss your components.
Q. What is the cost and lead time?
A. AlumiPlate Inc. prides itself on providing the highest value, through a combination of excellent service, quick lead time, superior performance and competitive pricing. The plating costs depend on plating thickness, masking and tooling requirements. We will provide you with a firm cost estimate after reviewing drawings and your application needs. Most plating jobs are completed in 2-3 weeks, with available expedite options. Contact one of our plating engineers to get started.
Q. Are free plated samples available?
A. Due to the high volume of sample requests, there is a nominal charge for samples or best-effort attempts. To expedite your testing and qualification, AlumiPlate can provide free-of-charge plated 3” X 6” sample coupons, such as 4130 steel, C110 copper, 6061 aluminum and 316 stainless steel (SST). Contact one of our plating engineers to discuss plating of your specific sample geometry.
Q. Can you plate directly on aluminum or steel?
A. Almost all engineered materials, from steels to aluminum alloys are plateable. Some materials include HSLA steels (4130, 4340), free-machining, mild, magnetic and spring steels (1010, 12L15, 1090), aluminum alloys (2025, 5053, 6061, 7075), stainless and high temperature steels (316, 410, Haynes, Hastelloy), copper, bronzes and brasses and even composites (PEEK). Some plastics and even ceramics can be plated after metallization. See our materials page for a complete list.
Q. How pure is aluminum plating?
A. Electroplated aluminum is 99.99% pure (“Al4N” or “4-nines-pure”). The electrolyte, activation and rinse baths are rigorously maintained. Continuous filtration eliminates insoluble contaminants. The purity of the coating is verified with Glow Discharge Mass Spectroscopy (GMDS), a trusted quantitative analytical technique for trace and ultra-trace determination. Follow this link for more information on purity.
Q. How thick can aluminum plating be applied?
A. For corrosion resistance applications, the plating thickness ranges 10 to 25 micrometers (0.0003” to 0.001”). To enable anodization, the plating thickness is 50 to 100% of the anodization thickness. If required, extremely thick layers of electroplated aluminum are possible. For example, metal mirrors are commonly plated with up to 500 micrometers (0.020”) to allow for machining. Contact the factory for more information.
Q. How many hours of salt fog can electroplated aluminum withstand before corrosion?
A. The AlumiPlate® aluminum coating consistently outperforms cadmium, IVD aluminum, zinc nickel and tin zinc. A 10 micrometer (0.0005”) layer of pure aluminum easily surpasses 1,000 hours of ASTM B-117 salt fog exposure. The same Al layer survives 336+ hours of ASTM G-85 SO2 corrosion testing. See our corrosion resistance page for more information.
Q. Can you anodize stainless steel by first using pure electrodeposited aluminum?
A. Yes. The aluminum plating is dense and free of impurities yielding an optimum anodized layer. Electroplated aluminum enables the anodization of any material! Stainless steel, mild, high-strength-low-alloy (HSLA) and high strength steel, copper, aluminum castings and even plastics can be anodized after application of the pure aluminum coating. See our anodization page for more information.
Q. Can I send you parts that call out for IVD Al or coating specification MIL-DTL-83488?
A. Yes. MIL-DTL-83488 is the governing coating specification for high purity aluminum. Both IVD aluminum and electroplated aluminum meet this specification. We can certify 100% compliance to MIL-DTL-83488. If youa re considering this specification for new components, a thinner, lower class of electroplated aluminum can typically replace a thicker, higher class of IVD Al. The result is lower cost, better dimensional control with no performance degradation. Contact the factory representative with questions.
Q. Can AlumiPlate help with HAZMAT reduction and RoHS, REACH, WEEE compliance?
A. Absolutely. Electroplated aluminum is a drop-in replacement for cadmium. The coating complies with RoHS, REACH and WEEE regulations. Electroplated aluminum has been thoroughly tested and has been identified as the preferred HAZMAT reduction and cadmium replacement option by the Department Of Defense (DoD). Refer to our environmental regulations page for additional information.
Q. Are you NADCAP/ISO certified?
A. Our quality systems are based and comply with ISO 9001/2000. AlumiPlate Inc. is qualified by several aerospace OEM’s as a processor of flight-safety-critical components. The company is a long term preferred and qualified supplier for DoD contractors, aerospace, industrial and medical OEM’s. Contact the factory representative with more questions.
Q. Do you license the process? Are there licensees in Europe and Asia?
A. Plating services are offered from our headquarters in Minneapolis, MN. For applications requiring aluminum plating equipment at a specific location or near a supply chain, AlumiPlate Inc. is open to licensing and intellectual property (IP) transfers. Feel free to contact email@example.com with any licensing or IP related questions.
Q. I had always thought that it is impossible to electroplate aluminum. How is the plating done?
A. Because of the high potential difference between H and Al, water-based plating chemistries cannot be used for aluminum electrodeposition. Aluminum electroplating uses a solvent-based chemistry to overcome the electrochemical barriers to plating with an aqueous electrolyte. The solvent-based plating, rinsing and activation baths are enclosed, and continuously monitored and controlled through a smart system with real-time status and feedback.
Q. Is aluminum plating deposition dangerous or hazardous?
A. The proprietary AlumiPlate® Aluminum plating process is fully enclosed, continuously monitored and automated. AlumiPlate Inc. has a sterling 20+ year safety record. Risks to the environment and operators are minimized. With recycling and distillation, the aluminum plating process has the potential for zero emissions and production of zero hazardous wastes.