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Nickel Systems

Nickel is a hard, ductile, malleable, ferromagnetic, silvery white metal that takes a high polish. A member of the
iron-cobalt group of transition metals primary uses include the manufacture of stainless steel, electronic components and for electroplating and electroless deposition.

Nickel electroplating

Electroplated nickel is used in decorative and electroforming applications.

Electroplated nickel is subdivided into 5 categories:

  1. Bright nickel, well known for its high lustre as an undercoat for bright chromium
  2. Satin nickel, an alternative for bright nickel in non-reflective applications
  3. Semi-bright or sulfur free nickel, undercoat for bright or satin nickels in duplex high corrosion resistant requirements
  4. Microporous nickel, typically between bright nickel and the chromium layer in exterior automotive or Service Condition 3 (or higher) specifications
  5. High sulfur nickel, provides the ultimate in corrosion resistance in applications such as automotive wheels and bumpers


Chromium is usually electroplated over the nickel layer to provide an exceptionally durable and corrosion resistant coating. Typical specifications for this electroplated nickel and chromium coating include ISO-1456, ASTM-456 and ASTM-604. Brass and gold can also be applied over the nickel layer for decorative applications in dry locations.

Alternatively, the nickel itself can be the final coating, particularly for electronic applications to provide excellent electrical conductivity. Our recommended processes for each application type can be found in the table below.

 

bright Nickel Processes

 

NiMac 1000nickel electroplating

A high performance bright nickel plating process which shows exceptional leveling and deposit brightness across the full current density range. The system exhibits very good deposit ductility and chromium receptivity, even when plating to the most demanding requirements.

NiMac 1000 can be operated in either air or mechanically agitated installations and has exceptional resistance to metallic contamination.
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NiMac Challenger Plus

ni platingA high performance bright nickel plating process which shows exceptional leveling and deposit brightness across the full current density range. It is particularly recommended in applications where the plater requires a high quality finish in the shortest plating time possible.

The system exhibits very good deposit ductility and chromium receptivity, and can be operated at temperatures as low as 50ºC without loss of levelling or brightness.
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NiMac Clarion IIni plating

NiMac Clarion II has been formulated to give good leveling, low current density brightness, outstanding ductility and excellent receptivity to chromium.

These characteristics are maintained over long periods of operation without batch purification. This process is particularly suitable when plating to specification (i.e. for automotive applications).
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NiMac Levalloy

Nickel-iron alloy for reducing the cost of the plated deposit and giving bright, white deposits even in deep recesses. NiMac Levalloy can be operated with 3 levels of iron in the alloy:nickel electroplating

  • 10 - 30% by weight as iron, therefore providing substantial cost savings over standard bright nickel processes. This process gives leveling and brightness comparable to most of today’s high performance bright nickel systems. The alloy deposits are whiter than standard bright nickel processes and have exceptional deposit ductility and chromium receptivity.
  • 10% by  weight as iron combining the economy of iron deposition with the brilliance, leveling, chrome receptivity, and speed of bright nickel plating. These nickel-iron deposits look like those of high quality bright nickel. Benefits include greater ductility, better reception to subsequent chrome plating and whiter deposit.
  • Less than 10% by weight as iron. The NiMac Levalloy Plus process is designed to give a bright and levelled nickel-iron alloy deposit in barrel plating applications. The system is easy to maintain and deposits have high ductility due to the small amount of co-deposited iron.

NiMac Levalloy processes can be operated in either air or mechanically agitated installations and have exceptional resistance to metallic contamination. Most bright nickel processes can be converted to NiMac Levalloy.
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satin Nickel Processes

 

NiMac M-Satin and SatinKote Pearl 

Satin nickelNiMac M-Satin and SatinKote Pearl processes produce a uniform and smooth satin nickel finish. To achieve the high corrosion resistance required to meet exterior automotive specifications they are used in conjunction with semi-bright, high sulfur and microporous nickel systems. List of MacDermid satin nickel automotive specifications:

  • NiMac M-Satin Fine - Light satin finish with a gloss level of 70 or less.
  • SatinKote Pearl - Light to medium satin finish with a gloss level of 50 or less.
  • NiMac M-Satin Star - Medium satin finish with a gloss level of 20 or less.
  • The NiMac M-Satin Star - Medium to heavy satin finish with a gloss level of 10 or less. 
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semi-bright Nickel Processes

 

NiMac SF

semi bright nickelNon-coumarin, sulfur-free nickel plating process which produces a very ductile, semi-bright deposit with good leveling.

NiMac SF is commonly used as the initial layer in multi-layer nickel plating, on the base substrate or over electroplated copper. With the appropriate deposit thickness multi-layer nickel gives excellent corrosion resistance.

Unlike coumarin based nickels, NiMac SF does not require frequent batch purification treatments, resulting in less down time, reduced labor, and less waste.
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microporous Nickel Processes

 

NiMac Hypore XL

semi bright nickelA low solids microporous nickel designed to meet very severe service specifications. NiMac Hypore XL in conjunction with MacDermid’s copper, semi-bright, bright nickel and chromium processes provides the required porosity and layer potential differences to meet or exceed all current OEM specifications.

The additive system ensures ease of operation and consistent results when tested to Dubpernell, Fuhrman and active site procedures.
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high sulfur Nickel Processes

 

NiMac 8108 Hi-S

nickel electroplating

The NiMac 8108 Hi-S Nickel Plating Process produces an improved high-activity nickel strike layer which is deposited between the semi-bright and bright nickel layers of a duplex nickel system to economically provide a dramatic improvement in corrosion resistance. 
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applications for electroplated nickel processes

 

ApplicationNickel TypeRecommended ProcessesMain Attributes
Automotive Bright Nickel NiMac Clarion II Index based system designed for producing ductile, bright deposits in
multilayer nickel applications.
Automotive / All Applications Satin Nickel NiMac M-Satin, SatinKote Pearl Range of satin nickel processes with flexibility which allow a 'light' satin through to heavy, matte finish to be achieved.
Automotive Semi-Bright Nickel NiMac SF A non-coumarin, sulfur-free process which produces a semi-bright ductile deposit with excellent leveling.
Automotive Microporous NiMac Hypore XL Slows corrosion of the bright nickel layer by distributing the corrosion current over many smaller sites.
Automotive High-sulfur NiMac 8108 Hi-S Deposited between the semi-bright and bright layers to deliver the highest corrosion resistance.
Plumbing / Sanitary Bright Nickel NiMac Challenger Plus, NiMac 1000 Fast leveling bright nickels which can be used with or without a semi-bright layer. Both processes demonstrate excellent bright covering power on complicated shapes.
Plumbing / Sanitary Semi-Bright Nickel NiMac SF Non-coumarin, sulfur-free process which produces a semi-bright ductile deposit particularly suited for service level 2 and above.
Tubular Furniture Bright Nickel NiMac Levalloy, NiMac Challenger Plus, NiMac 1000 These processes deliver fast brightening and exceptional leveling. NiMac Levalloy, a nickel-iron alloy, is a good choice where iron contamination of the solution is a problem.
Point of sale equipment Bright Nickel NiMac Levalloy, NiMac Challenger Plus, NiMac 1000 Point of sale equipment includes intricate shapes such as wire-goods and shelving. Good bright throwing power with fast brightness and leveling are delivered by these NiMac processes.
Kitchen / Domestic fittings Bright Nickel NiMac Levalloy, NiMac Challenger Plus, NiMac 1000 From food utensils to door furniture, the bright nickel must produce a deposit which is bright, even in the deepest recesses. NiMac Challenger Plus and 1000 are recommended for larger items and Levalloy for barrel plating smaller components.
Electronics Bright Nickel NiMac Levalloy, NiMac Challenger Plus  Electronic components require an even, bright coverage and good electrical conductivity. Typically these smaller parts can be plated in either rack (Challenger Plus) or barrel (Levalloy) applications.

   

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