Tin Lead Plating

Ask an Expert From: Products Finishing,

Posted on: 11/5/2012

Is it possible to plate a cold-rolled steel part with a minimum 5–7 percent lead content tin plate?

Q. We have recently received a request to plate a cold-rolled steel part with a minimum 5–7 percent lead content tin plate. My plating vendors have told me they can only do 60/40 tin/lead.
Is this so, or are our platers just not set up to do this type of plate? M.C.

A. Sixty/forty tin/lead plating has been the standard type of solder plate for many years. In fact, I would call it a classic plating bath. But things have changed; with the emphasis of removing lead from our environment, newer tin/lead plating baths are available.

For example, a 90/10 tin/lead plating bath is now commonly available. The 90/10 tin/lead has different properties compared with the 60/40 tin/lead,
however, so if there is no problem with lead content, the 60/40 plate is routinely specified.

To be on the safe side I would go back to the specifier and determine if 5–7 percent lead is a minimum amount or the actual amount required. 

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