Selective Plating: More Than Touching-Up

Tank immersion is the conventional means of plating an object. Yet, there are times when you do not want to redo the entire component or item. It may need only a touching up of certain areas. In this case, the best response if selective plating. Known originally as “brush plating,” this method has seen growth in opportunities and applications over the past several years.

A Brief History of Selective Plating

In the past, the makers of silverware found it necessary to touch up the bowls of the spoons they produced. The problem was one of production. When plating silver spoons, they found the silver would not adhere to the bowls of the spoons. As a result, the workers brushed on the silver using an old file around which they had wrapped a rag. They dipped the file into the plating solution and then proceeded to dab the parts the silver had failed to plate. The result was also the term “brush plating.”

The procedure of selective plating continued relatively unaffected until the start of World War II. The development in France or organic based plating solutions resulted in the ability of companies to provide a higher quality plating service. This decreased the use for brush plating. The industry appeared to no longer have as great a need for it. Technology had triumphed.

In the late decades of the 20th and early years of the 21st, this attitude began to change. Several industries discovered that selective plating could be utilized efficiently and cost-effectively. The realization was that this method could be more than a touch-up job. It has since become a favorite means of fulfilling several purposes.

Why Employ Selective Plating?

The evolution of brush painting to selective plating is one of both technology and philosophy. The result has been the employment of this method for more than a singular purpose. The process is now called upon to:

 * Touch up existing plated items and components
 * Repair existing parts and objects
 * Finish an object
 * Improve the surface properties of various diverse items

The selective plating process accomplishes all of the above. What makes the application even more attractive is its cost. It remains more cost-effective to use this method than the alternative. This has made it popular among engineers during the design phase.

Selective plating is also quite versatile when it comes to lots. It is viable in small volume work. It is also applicable for higher volumes. This makes it a feasible means for handling almost any job.

Selective Plating Today

Once known as “brush plating,” this process has expanded beyond its basic roots as a touch up mechanism. While it still performs touch-ups, it now also handles repairs, finishing and surface improvement of areas. Along the way, the name has changed to reflect its character. Brush plating now bears several names including electrochemical metallizing, contact plating and stylus plating. However, for those whose livelihood is electroplating, it will always bear the name selective plating.

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