“Some years ago when we were discussing with our chemicals supplier about moving
into a speciality area, the answer was Plating on Plastic Parts,” said the company’s director, Scott Goodwin.
“We have always been involved in chrome and gold plating but our core business was zinc plating and we identified quickly that there was definitely an opportunity for us on plastic parts,” he explained. After a lot of homework, the company chose the direct
metalization process from ATOTECH, which has been used successfully in Europe and
USA for over seven years.
This process is suitable for ABS and ABS /PC blends, while there is also a process under trial at Superior Plating for processing polyamides.
Within a few months of opening in 1998, Superior Plating achieved certification to the International standard, ANZ/ISO 9002:1994 and last year it achieved certification to ANZ/ISO 9001:2000.
By working within these requirements, the company can ensure it continues to meet its clients’ expectations.
The company recently employed a graduate in chemical engineering to operate the laboratory and maintain the processing line chemistry.
“Some products have to meet specific requirements for the automotive industry, and we can provide process testing and documentation as well as coating thickness certificates upon request,” Goodwin said.
“While we are specialists in plating, we recognise there is no substitute for good quality injection mouldings and as we are beginners in plastic we realise the importance of working and learning from the moulder,” he added. “Not each rejects is a plating problem…nor is it a
moulding problem. Working together puts profits in both pockets.”.
One area of the plating process and one of the most critical is the racking that holds the part. A number of precautions need to be considered, including having adequate contact points to carry electrical current, ensuring contact points do not cause distortion of the part, and providing adequate part spacing and good drainage.
Currently, Superior Plating is offering plastic part finishes in Bright Chrome and Satin (pearl finish) Chrome. It will soon add to these options a Hard Gold finish. Automotive plastic parts being plated include headlight and tail light mouldings, hub caps, body side mouldings and badges. Among the parts for other industries are tapware, door handles and covers for poker machines and shower hinges.