Electroless Nickel

Electroless nickel plating is an autocatalytic process that deposits a nickel-phosphorus or nickel-boron alloy onto a solid surface via chemical reaction, without electricity. Its primary purpose is to enhance a product’s corrosion and wear properties; it also improves solderability and lubricity.

Electroless nickel is distinctive in that it deposits with exceptional uniformity, regardless of the surface. This is in marked contrast to electroplating, which is vulnerable to uneven depositing due to flux-density issues. Although the receiving surface for electroless nickel is usually aluminum, steel, copper, brass, titanium, or zinc, it can, with the appropriate catalyst, be plated onto plastics and other non-conductive substrates. For many applications, it is an excellent replacement for chrome.

Electroless nickel has evolved substantially over time. Today’s best formulas have greatly improved brightness, hardness, and adhesion properties, as well as process advantages (fast plating rate, high bath stability, long bath life) that make it easier and more efficient to run.

CL Satin Nickel produces fine-crystalline nickel deposits on a wide range of base metals (including polished metals) as well as molded plastics. It will also plate over a bright nickel layer of a duplex nickel system to give the substrate maximum anti-corrosion performance. Distinctive color effects can be achieved by over-plating with chrome, antique nickel, black nickel, black chrome gold, or a tin-cobalt alloy topcoat. CL Satin Nickel Plating needs just 8 hours, rather than the standard 12 hours, for filtration.

CL Satin Nickel plating has gained wide acceptance in the automotive and plumbing industries. Uyemura introduced this important satin plating technology to the North American market, and is today a leading supplier of satin nickel processes.

Read Uyemura's article Smooth Finish – Satin Nickel Plating Scores in Auto and Other Applications”

KTY Electroless Nickel from the research labs of Uyemura-Japan is the world’s first “heavy metal –free” EN. Lead, cadmium and other heavy metals traditionally used for adding brightness and stability have been eliminated.

Learn about the High Performance Characteristics of a Lead and Cadmium-Free Electroless Nickel”

Nimuden® ANP substantially improves plating onto aluminum. Plating electroless nickel on aluminum has been problematic and costly due to short bath life. A normal EN bath can plate steel for six to eight MTOs (36 - 48 g/l nickel plated). Plating into aluminum reduces that bath life by about 50%.

The typical failure is poor adhesion of the nickel to the aluminum, resulting in blisters or nickel peel when the aluminum is bent. Technology developed to address this problem of short bath life used an alkaline nickel strike after zincating and prior to the regular plating bath. Drawbacks to that approach include extra tanks, process steps, and control over an additional plating bath. Failures have also been seen with nickel-to-nickel bonding.

A further application-specific problem is that strike baths always deposit magnetic nickel, thereby limiting their use to applications where magnetism is not a factor.

Uyemura’s electroless nickel for aluminum provides excellent adhesion through at least six MTOs. It does not employ a strike and adds no additional steps compared to normal aluminum preparation double zincating.

Nimuden ANP Semi is uniquely suited for plating on aluminum metalized pads.

Nimuden ANP-STRIKE low-temperature lead and cadmium free electroless nickel uniquely suited for plating on plastics, non-conductors and aluminum. Bath is specifically formulated without hazardous brighteners and stabilizers.

Nimuden ANP 1012 electroless nickel plates nickel phosphorus alloys in the range of 10-12 weight percent phosphorus. It's ideal for applications requiring:

  • A high degree of corrosion resistance
  • A non-magnetic nickel finish
  • Excellent wear resistance and a low contact friction finish

ANP 1012 has excellent capacity to plate aluminum alloys with good adhesion using conventional zincate pretreatment practice.

ANP and ANP 1012 electroless nickel processes are RoHS compatible. They were developed by the Uyemura Tech Center, Southington, CT.

Nimuden ANP 24 low-phosphorus aluminum-friendly, lead and cadmium-free electroless nickel was developed for general metal finishing applications. ANP 24 provides the benefits of a semi-bright deposit without sacrificing bath stability, rate or phosphorus content as with other lead and cadmium-free systems. The smooth plate also makes ANP 24 an excellent choice for both decorative and functional requirements.

Nimuden NKY is the most economical nickel-phos process with a wide brightness range. Bath maintains a consistently high plating rate of 15 μm /hr. with high tolerance for metal impurities, even at 8 MTO. Thick deposits can be plated because of low internal stress and superior covering power, making it suitable for plating on base metals such as iron, aluminum and brass.

View Presentation on Electrolytic Nickel-Phosphorus Plating”

Nickel 808 S produces an ultra-bright, extremely ductile nickel deposit with excellent leveling characteristics. Nickel 808S is suitable for rack and barrel plating, as well as for printed circuit applications, where nickel is used as an intermediate layer prior to precious metal deposition. This brightener can be used with the sulfate and sulfamate baths below.

MPS Sulfamate Nickel (HS) brightener system for electronic applications with deposition rate of 150 micro IPM

MPS Sulfamate Nickel (rack) brightener / wetting agent system for electronic applications with deposition rate of 25 micro IPM

MPS-A Sulfate Nickel (HS) brightener system suited for electronic applications with deposition rate of 130 micro IPM

MPS-A Sulfate Nickel (rack) brightener system suited for electronic applications with deposition rate of 25 micro IPM

Uyelight G1 Sulfamate Nickel (rack) brightener system for electronic applications with deposition rate of 25 micro IPM

Uyelight G1 Sulfate Nickel (rack) brightener system for electronic applications with deposition rate of 150 micro IPM

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