Our Electroless Nickel Plating Process

Our electroless nickel coating (EN plating) is generally applied in a range of up to 25 microns, depending on what you need for your specific part. Working with us for your electroless nickel plating needs will ensure that the nickel deposits will be uniform throughout the entire part. This makes it excellent against corrosion for your metal substrate part. The benefit you gain from working with our electroless nickel plating company is that your part won’t require any other surface finishing.

We are also AMS 2404 electroless nickel plating certified. You can view our other specifications below or jump to our electrolytic nickel plating and electroless nickel immersion gold plating pages.

Electroless Nickel Plating Advantages

Also known as autocatalytic nickel, electroless nickel plating companies offer many advantages:

  • Uniform layer thickness over most complicated surfaces
  • Direct plating of ferrous metals (steel)
  • Superior wear and corrosion resistance to electroplated nickel or chrome

Much of the chrome plating done in the aerospace industry can be replaced with an electroless nickel finish; environmental costs, costs of hexavalent chromium waste disposal and a notorious tendency of uneven current distribution favor electroless nickel (EN) plating.

Contact our team to get started on your bulk electroless nickel plating project and ask about getting a free quote.

Types of Electroless Plating

At Incertec, we offer both medium- and high-phosphorus electroless nickel plating options. The type of nickel-phosphorus deposit you should select depends on the properties you are looking for in your application. Both provide exceptional uniformity and can be used as a base layer for additional coatings.

Medium-Phosphorus Electroless Nickel

This type of electroless nickel contains about 7-9% phosphorus. This type of plating is:

  • Magnetic
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Semi-bright/bright in appearance
  • Solderable
  • Mixed crystalline/amorphous
  • Moderately corrosion resistant

Hardness levels vary, depending on whether a heat treatment is applied. You can expect RC 58-62 as plated and 66-70 with a heat treatment. Medium-phosphorus electroless nickel is an ideal choice for applications that demand a uniform plating, where magnetism is acceptable.

High-phosphorus electroless nickel

An electroless deposit with high phosphorus levels typically over 11% phosphorus. A high-phosphorus electroless plating has slightly different properties than medium phosphorus:

  • Non-magnetic
  • Excellent corrosion resistance
  • Semi-bright/bright in appearance
  • Solderable
  • Amorphous
  • Highly corrosion resistant

High-phosphorus electroless nickel platings are less hard than medium-phosphorus, but a heat treatment can enhance this deposit’s durability. This type of plating is ideal for heavy-build applications.

Specs Comparison:

Melting Point1000° C880° C
Density8.1 G/cm³7.8 G/cm³
Electrical Resistance65 mΩ/cm100 mΩ/cm
Friction Coefficient0.830.45

Electroless vs. Electrolytic Nickel Plating

Standard nickel plating is an electrolytic process, while electroless plating is autocatalytic. That means no external power supply is required to apply electroless plating — as long as a part is in the tank, it will continue to plate. This leads to more uniform plating with superior corrosion resistance. Electrolytic plating requires an externally applied DC current, which leads to a non-uniform application, especially near the corners and edges of a part. With electroless nickel, you can expect standard deviations around +/- 0.00001”.

On the other hand, electroless plating reduces ductility, so applications that require high ductility are better suited to the electrolytic process. Additionally, electroless nickel plating is not ideal for applications that demand high heat resistance.

Heat Treatment Available

As mentioned above, electroless nickel plating can be strengthened with a heat application. A post-plate heat treatment creates nickel phosphides at grain boundaries. These phosphides improve the hardness and durability of the part significantly, and you can expect hardness levels up to 70 RC.

NADCAP Certification Assurance

If your project requires a NADCAP-certified process, you can rely on Incertec to get the job done right. Our certifications include AMS 2404, AMS-C-26074, ASTM B733 and MIL-C-26074. What does that mean for you? It provides the assurance that our processes are reviewed against strict industry guidelines, guaranteeing high-quality electroless nickel plating services. Our processes are regularly reviewed to ensure that they are up to date and effective. These certifications are nationally recognized by aerospace industry professionals, so you can depend on our plating services when precision is an expectation.

AMS 2404 AMS-C-26074
ASTM B733 MIL-C-26074
AMS 2403
580-5296 580-5692-001
952-0766 AMS C 26074
MIL-C-26074 580-0766
580-0766-001 AMS 2404
ASTM-B-733 R056A201

Electroless Nickel Plating Operations:

Minneapolis, MN

Empalme, Sonora – Mexico

Optional Electroless Nickel Services:

RoHs Compliant, NADCAP