Chrome plating is strategically important
Chrome plated items adorn our homes, our cars and many other internal and external environments. As well as its pleasing aesthetic appearance, it is also strategically important.
80% of all chromium trioxide produced worldwide is used for plating purposes
Chrome plating applications
In critical applications used in industries such as aerospace, military, agriculture and engineering, chrome is used to cover and protect steel in high wear, high temperature and corrosive environments. In many cases the plated part can’t be seen, but those parts are critical to the long-term operation of the applications.
Read more about the strategic importance of chrome plating in this interview with European surface treatment associations.
Hard chrome plating
The majority of chrome used in plating is actually for heavy duty purposes. Hard chrome plating is thicker than decorative chrome finishes and where it is used is often not visible. Its purpose is to cover and protect steel in high wear, high temperatures and corrosive environments.
Chrome plated products are used in almost every manufacturing industry and, in most cases, the products have a critical role. Hard chrome plating ensures their optimum operation at all times. Aerospace, defence, automotive, medical devices, food, transport, general engineering, construction, earth moving, printing, and many more industries rely on chrome plated products to operate.
The application of a hard chromium layer on metal is extremely important because it improves surface hardness and reduces friction between materials, significantly extending the life, reducing the maintenance downtime, reducing costs and improving the performance of many critical applications. Hard chrome plating can also be useful in repairing damaged, worn or mis-machined parts. A component that is too small or has become worn down can benefit from applying a thick coating of hard chrome plating to return it to the correct dimensions.
Easy to clean and sanitise, hard chrome is also a popular choice for the food and beverage processing industry, while the superior corrosion resistance of hard chrome plating makes it effective in pharmaceutical, chemical and oil and gas applications as well.
Decorative chrome plating
Decorative chrome plating is thinner than hard chrome and is primarily used for its aesthetic appeal and as a protective coating against corrosion and wear.
Decorative chromium plating is mostly used for car parts, tools, kitchenware, sanitaryware, watchmaking, musical instruments (piano, guitar strings, hardware), and packaging.