The 6 most common surface finishing applications in aerospace
Selective plating is suitable for a wide array of aerospace equipment, including airframes and engines, electronic housings, landing gear, turbine blades, actuators, bearing journals, bushing bores, flap tracks and axles. Depending on the component being plated, a different deposits will be used for different applications.
The most common surface finishing application in aerospace are:
- Corrosion protection: Cadmium is most commonly used to provide a sacrificial barrier on landing gear and support lugs. With low hydrogen embrittlement and no post baking required, repairs can be made in-place with minimal or no-disassembly.
- Pre-braze: Turbine blades and vanes are nickel plated to ensure proper wetting of the surfaces to be brazed. Selective plating offers a fast, consistent and cost-effective method of application. Depending on the number of parts needing plating, the process can also be automated, ensuring traceability, quality control, and reduction of ergonomic risks.
- Refurbishment: MRO applications use nickel or sulfamate nickel for dimensional restoration of inside or outside diameters on components such as end bell housings and bushing bores. Parts out of tolerance, due to wear or mis-machining, can be plated to size in thicknesses ranging from .0002” to .0300” per side, with minimal masking or disassembly.
- Surface enhancements: The application of nickel or a nickel alloy improves the hardness and wear resistance of the component.
- Anodizing: Unlike tank anodizing, selective anodizing does not generate heat. With selective anodizing, technicians can replace worn or damaged hardcoat without the risk of a loss in dimension or the removal of anodic coating due to re-machining.
- Cadmium replacements: Most importantly, for the airlines looking for alternatives to cadmium deposits, selective plating and the SIFCO Process offers multiple solutions. While detailed studies show these alternatives do not perform well in either tanks or thermal spray application, they deliver excellent results via selective plating, offering superior sacrificial corrosion protection for steel by combining the barrier protection of tin, with the galvanic protection of zinc.
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