We are currently using parts made of 303S stainless steel that are plated with electroless nickel. Our company has these parts manufactured by off-site vendors. What is the typical plating process for plating electroless nickel on stainless steel? We want to be sure that we are using the right specifications. S. J.
Your question is a good one. I find in these days of massive outsourcing that many companies do not have in-house plating expertise when it comes to specifying plating processes. In the case of applying electroless nickel to stainless steels, the following general procedure is used.
1. Alkaline soak clean 2. Rinse 3. Alkaline clean using periodic reverse current 4. Rinse 5. Activate with 32% hydrochloric acid solution 6. Wood’s nickel strike cathodically a. 15–20 asf b. 2–3 minutes 7. Electroless nickel plate
Also, keep in mind that there are different types of electroless nickel. You can specify a low phosphorus containing electroless nickel as well as medium and high phosphorus containing deposits.