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Plating Aluminum on ERW Pipe

Which plating company has expertise in plating aluminum onto steel products?

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Q. Our company wants to plate 1 micron of aluminum onto an ERW steel tube, 4.5 to 12.0 mm in diameter with a 0.7-mm wall. Can you direct me to a plating company with expertise in plating aluminum onto steel products? –M.C.

A. Plating of aluminum on steel or other metal substrates is extremely difficult. As far as I know, AlumiPlate is the only company in the U.S. that performs this process, which requires an organic solvent, toluene and a closed system. Though I have never visited the company's Coon Rapids, Minnesota, facility, its website can be found at alumiplate.com. I'm assuming that the plating baths are small and cannot be utilized in a continuous fashion.

An alternative might be ion vapor deposition but I don't believe it can be done on a continuous basis.

The search for a process that enables aluminum plating on other metals is an old one. My father even tried to solve this problem back in the 1960s. Unfortunately, he came to the conclusion that only non-aqueous solvents could be used.

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