Temporary masking is used in most plating projects to protect the surface areas that should not be exposed to the plating conditions. There are a range of temporary masking products available out there. These include liquid masking lacquer, tape, pull-through plugs, and wax. When using masking during plating, there are common issues you may encounter. We take a look at these below and the best ways to resolve them.
Masking cannot handle finishing temperatures
One of the masking mistakes that we hear most often about is choosing a material that cannot endure high temperatures. Not all metal finishing and masking processes will reach high temperatures. It’s important you understand the climates your bath will reach before buying an off-the-shelf product.
If the plating conditions are more extreme, it’s essential to use masking products that can handle the temperatures. For example, silicone caps can withstand high finishing temperatures of up to 260°C. Likewise, there are high temperature masking tapes that can also protect to endure these climates. Do your research into the masking products available and ensure they meet your needs.
Plugs falling out during the plating process
Tapered plugs and pull-through plugs should not fall out during every application. If you find your plugs are falling out frequently, the most effective solution is to find a more flexible masking product. A great temporary solution is to use masking lacquer for electroplating instead. Masking lacquers are liquid so they can yield easily to the surface area you want protecting.
Mask peeling off before the plating process is complete
Peeling masking tape when electroplating can indicate one of two things. This either means that the surface has not had adequate pre-treatment, or that you are not using tape with the right adhesion. To be sure it’s not the plating masking product, prepare the surface of your component before masking. If there are still issues, you have likely opted for the wrong electroplating masking tape. You can find various electroplating masking tapes out there that are designed to provide strong adhesion. Ensure you have checked the specifications of the masking tape first. Some high temperature masking tapes may meet your temperature requirements but may not have suitable adhesion.
Masking unable to cover hard to reach areas
Objects with a strange shape or hard to reach areas pose problems during the finishing process. In these cases, using a masking lacquer for electroplating can resolve the issue. It’s important to note though that this may not always be applicable. If this occurs, speak to a masking supplier. They will have the best level of understanding to suggest how to move forward.
If you have or are experiencing any of the above issues when plating, contact us. As a paint and metal masking products supplier, we have the knowledge and expertise to assist with these issues. We can recommend the masking methods that are most suitable for your application. From masking lacquer for electroplating to pull-through plugs, and more, discover the full range of products we supply. Get in touch with us today by calling 01202 661 300.