Surface coating or finishing is a broad range of industrial processes that modify the surface of a manufactured item to achieve a certain property. Electroplating is a process whereby metallic materials are electroplated to avoid corrosion. The end result is always hard and attractive, and it comes in various forms of attractive ornaments colours. Automobile accessories are coated by means of electroplating.
Surface engineering techniques are used to improve a wide range of functional properties, such as physical, chemical, electrical, electronic, magnetic, mechanical, wear-resistant and corrosion-resistant properties at the required substrate surfaces.
However, coatings are required for several reasons including economics, material conservation, unique properties, or the engineering and design flexibility which can be obtained by separating the surface properties from the bulk properties.
Electroplating requires that the object to be electroplated be placed in a solution bath of salt coating metal which is connected to the negative terminal of an external source electricity. Also, another conductor coating metal is connected to the positive terminal of the electric source. An uninterrupted low voltage current between 1 – 6v is needed for the process.
- Pre-treatment: The object to be plated would is cleaned, polished, de-greased, de-rusted, and so on. This is to ensure that electroplating is done on a very neat surface to enable very good adhesion.
- Plating: Plating is done by depositing the pre-treated material into electroplating solution for a specific period where they are coated with a thin coating of desired material.
- Packaging: Dried electroplated products are packaged in a labelled design packaging materials, and its ready for marketing.
Raw materials requirement
The most essential raw materials needed for electroplating are plating salts, such as copper, nickel, zinc, chrome, brightener, pickling, solution, de-greaser, and passivating salts. Other materials needed are packaging materials, factory suit (overall), hand gloves, factory shoes, cleaning materials, disinfectants, constant electricity, rinsing tanks and de greasing tanks.
Both skilled and unskilled labour is required, and the number of work force depends on the capacity you wish to install.
A neighbourhood of N15 million and above would be required, depending on the capacity you wish to install.
It is highly lucrative as Nigeria is a very fertile market.
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