Electroplating Service features multi-step process.

Press Release Summary:

Laser Gold Electroplating eliminates oxidation and diffusion in various substrates. Plating process begins by polishing aluminum reflector to RMS 4 finish, degreasing and aluminum preplate preparation using zincate process follow. Electroless nickel plating with minimum thickness of 0.001 in. is buffed and electrochemically activated prior to gold plating, and electrodeposition of gold layer measuring at least 100 µin. in thickness makes up last step.

Original Press Release:

High Reflectivity of Vapor Deposition With the Durability of Electroplating

Epner's Laser gold newly expanded coating eliminates oxidation. No oxidation, in turn, eliminates disassembly and repolishing. Occasional lamp removal for surface cleaning constitutes the only required maintenance.

Epner has added a plating process that begins by polishing the aluminum reflector to an RMS 4 finish. Degreasing and an aluminum preplate preparation using the zincate process follow. Since aluminum cannot be directly plated with gold, an electroless nickel plating precedes gold deposition.

The nickel, deposited to a minimum thickness of 0.001 in., acts as a barrier between the aluminum and gold, preventing the gold from diffusing into the aluminum. It also provides a better bond for gold plating. Once deposited, the nickel plate is buffed and electrochemically activated prior to gold plating.

Electrodeposition of a gold layer measuring at least 100 µin. in thickness, makes up the last step. Although electroplating traditionally calls for direct current, Epner Technology Incorporated superimposes ac on the dc. Repeated pulses of electricity and trace amounts of proprietary additives, produce the coating's unique crystalline structure. The structure, different from that formed by conventional electroplating, gives the gold near optimum reflectivity at IR wavelengths between 2 and 5 microns.

The electrodeposition process applies not only to aluminum, but to a variety of substrates. These include molybdenum, beryllium, magnesium and titanium. When a vacuum deposited binder coating is applied to dielectric materials, they too can be electroplated with gold. IR missiles; countermeasure systems designed to protect aircraft (including Air Force One and the Space Shuttle vehicles) from IR homing missiles; and use in IR ovens for industrial purposes (e.g., curing rubber, drying paint, etc.) represent current applications.

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