Is it possible to chrome-plate anything? Basically Chrometech can electroplate anything. We can also coat every conceivable base material in a metal of your choice.
The trick with the various materials is in the pre-treatment. The items to be chrome-plated needs to be sealed if it is of a porous nature. Items made of wax, PP or PE requires a special primer prior to coating the item with a conductive layer.
Preparation of the surface is critical as a chrome-plated finish will show up and expose any imperfections. As we said in the beginning we can electroplate anything. The question is: Has the item been engineered for the electroplating process?
In many cases, the dash boards and grills that we receive have not been designed for electroplating. This requires compromises in order to achieve a relative good outcome. For example we may not want to plate the whole item. As such we will only selectively plate the areas that we can be sure will be sufficiently covered with metal to obtain a brilliant shinny surface. In the case of some of the front grills where the louvers are too wide we will recommend not electroplating the bottom side of the louvers and selectively plate only the top that is seen. This will allow more chrome onto the surface where it is required. Needless to say this requires a lot of taping up prior to making the surface conductive. In order to avoid plating on the tape which is also made conductive, we must remove the tape prior to electroplating. This may explain why the costs are somewhat higher than plating on metal. The same item made of metal may require max 1 hour to have an A-1 class job performed on it. In the case of plating on plastic with our process a grill is normally plated for 12 hours at a low current so that we can achieve a uniform deposition of copper, nickel and chrome across the whole grill.
To compensate for the lack of adhesion with this process and to promote the durability, a thick coat of copper, nickel and chrome is necessary. The average thickness of the plating on a grill is 0.2mm compared to 0.02 – 0.03mm (considered a very thick coat) with the conventional plating on steel process.
There are such things as internal anodes that can be made to order for a particular job. These however are extremely expensive and as such are not practical. Chrometech developed its own conductive sensitising media including the various primers. Variations of the conductive media and primers need to be fully understood in order to apply them on the many different types of items that we receive.