October 15, 2007

Metal-plating process for plastics

The Meta-Coat process allows many metals to be replaced by metal-plated plastics, thus saving energy and operating expenses. When print-industry rollers are made of carbon fiber–reinforced plastic (CFRP), for example, approximately up to seventy-five percent of energy can be saved over using conventional steel rollers. In the automotive industry, fuel is saved directly by reducing the weight of the vehicles.

The Meta-Coat process first involves microstructuring the surface of the base material. After activation of the surface, the first conductive metal layer is deposited on the plastic by a chemical process. A subsequent electroplated metal layer reinforces the chemically produced layer. Thus, metals like nickel, copper, tin, gold, or silver can be added in an economic way. Due to excellent adhesion, mechanical processing, such as turning or drilling through metal layers into the plastic material, is possible.

Contact: Imecotec GmbH, Siegen, Germany.

For more information, see Transmaterial: A Catalog of Materials That Redefine our Physical Environment

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