Primer on Electroplating for Compression Springs, Part 1

Within various areas, particularly metals and various other hard materials used in a variety of industries, the process of “coating” or “plating” is often an option. Generally referring to adding a finishing material to the original to improve certain qualities of said material, these processes can be used for several different potential needs, both in the practical and aesthetic realms.

The world of spring manufacturing is no different, and the team at Custom Spring Manufacturing will be happy to explain any such processes that are sometimes applied to our quality custom springs. We offer a variety of custom spring engineering products, from compression springs to conical springs, torsion springs and many others. In this two-part blog, we’re going to dig into a process known as electroplating, one that’s commonly performed on compression springs – we’ll look at what it covers, why it’s done, and some basic precautions that are taken during electroplating to ensure the springs are properly protected.

primer electroplating compression springs

Electroplating Basics and Process

As we noted above, various plating or coating processes are often used within this world. In the case of springs, particularly compression springs, the most common such process is electroplating.

During electroplating, the spring in question will be dropped in a bath of liquid material. This will be a “finishing” material, generally one like zinc, silver, gold or another similar element. Once the spring is completely submerged in this solution, which can also be called an electrolyte bath, a current will then be applied from the anode to the cathode – this charge lines up the ions in the material, allowing the material in the bath to adhere itself to the spring.

Electroplating can be done on several spring materials, including steel, nickel and many copper-based alloys. The process generally creates hydrogen if done correctly.

Why Electroplating Is Necessary

Another area we touched on above is the fact that various coatings or plating materials might be used for practical reasons, but could also be for aesthetic purposes – and electroplating is the perfect example. It has uses in both areas, including:

  • Aesthetics: In some cases, springs that will be visible in consumer areas don’t have much luster and may be relatively bland. In many such situations, electroplating will be done to add a shiny, glossy material to the spring that makes it more aesthetically pleasing.
  • Rust prevention: In other scenarios, electroplating is used to prevent rust or corrosion on the spring. Zinc is known to be a valuable material for preventing rust on various metals, so it will often be added here if the spring is used in any situation where rust or corrosion are risks.

For more on electroplating compression springs, or to learn about any of our custom spring services, speak to the staff at Custom Spring Manufacturing today.