top of page

It's all in the prep work...

old military helmet before zinc electroplating process
Before zinc electroplating

Here we have an unusual, visual case study: an old military helmet. The customer approached us with the goal of restoring the steel surface to its former glory. Understandably, this is an item that holds much significance and history and we were up to the task to transform it for the museum it was going to proudly house.

We received the helmet and it was clear the condition and age weren't helping to the fact that it's surface was not ready for plating; we couldn't line this up to be jigged straight onto the machine.

Plating is a chemical process and so naturally we have to limit any external factors that could affect the reaction and hence the quality and longevity of the finish.

We can liken it to this scenario:

It's a lukewarm Spring weekend, you've finally decided to not sell up for another year so you've had the whirlwind, short lived motivation to redecorate.

You want the walls to stay fresh for as long as possible because the thought of cutting in again is painful, economically and physically.

So, with all that in mind -

Would you use a paint without a primer?

If you answered no, congratulations I'm sure your interior walls are spick and span and will be for the next few years (unless you've got animals and kids with crayons running round).

If you answered yes, I understand but I bet you still make sure the walls have been wiped and are blemish and flake free.

We're partial to the odd office refurb ourselves but we're no means qualified, so let's get back to talking in plating terms shall we?

Now, visualise us receiving a metal item with residues and grit just like this old military helmet. We load this part straight onto the machine, no prep, and after one cycle it results in an uneven, unoptimised finish with a hindered longevity.

If we go back in time to the point the part is fabricated and controls were in place such as wearing gloves consistently when handling the substrate and appropriately wrapping for transportation. These measures would eliminate any unnecessary oils and thick greases from coming in contact with the metal and as a result allow the process to supply a flawless finish.

However, life can't always be controlled and there can be limitations - that's why we integrate preplate cleaning such as acid and degreasers into the process.

So, even if some action was taken before to ensure that parts aren't heavily soiled then we are on our way to an excellent finish, aesthetically and practically:

zinc electroplated helmet shiny finish
After zinc electroplating

We full cycle round to this now restored military helmet. What a transformation if we say so ourselves! It most certainly doesn't look its age now; in fact if I saw this in the museum I'd be tempted to question its authenticity.

A lot of cleaning was necessary to ensure the brightest finish was achieved.

This proves that the prep work is proportionate to the level of finish.

Keep the part clean and you'll get the best finish from the machine.

If you require any assistance with pre cleaning please get in contact with our highly experienced sales team who will be happy to advise you.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page