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Molding Platable Plastic Parts

Molding Platable Plastic Parts

Molding Platable Plastic Parts

I work with a company that is molding parts out of platable grade ABS for the automotive industry. These parts are then shipped to a plater to obviously be plated. As a company we do not have a lot of experiance in this realm. The platers policy is if we plate your plastic and the plating does not adhere you pay full price for the plated reject. We are taking all the neccesary steps that we know of to mold good platable parts. Dry material, no splay, no scratches, gloves for operators. After asking the plater if there is a sure way to determine if parts we are molding are platable there reply is that there is no way to tell if parts will plate until after plated. This method obviously doesn't work for our company. Can anyone shed any light on possible tests we can conduct to determine if parts will plate to be conducted at our facility? Can anyone point me in the direction of aquiring more info on molding plastic parts for plating? Thanks.

RE: Molding Platable Plastic Parts

Have you asked your supplier of ABS for information.

I would try your current supplier, GE, whoever Bayer is now, and Jui Mai (spelling?) for info.


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RE: Molding Platable Plastic Parts

The plater should have quoted a scrap rate. Typicaly anything under that they get higher profits and you get more parts anything over that you don't pay for but have to eat the plastic.

What is their QC system? Are they plating the entire batch before discovering the first one is bad? Where are they located?

RE: Molding Platable Plastic Parts


Plating suppliers like this deserve to go out of business.  I agree with Pat that you should be actively working with your material supplier (GE, Bayer is now called Lanxess, Chi Mei is a large Chinese supplier) on this type of issue.  Molded in stresses are a significant source of problems for plating, so careful attention must be paid to the design, injection, mold temperatures, temperature distribution during cooling, etc.  There are references that you could purchase in order to become better educated on the matter.  Check out the IMM and SPE websites.

RE: Molding Platable Plastic Parts

Lanxess is only a part of what Bayer plastics used to be.  Bayer MaterialScience still produces polycarbonate and other materials.



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RE: Molding Platable Plastic Parts

1.  Tighten your parameters
2.  Look at re-grind
3.  Do a conductive study of parts on which plating is not adhering to plastics
4.  Look at suppliers control plant and PSMEA
5.  Conduct a study sending different batches of material.  If plating adheres to all then point finger at supplier

RE: Molding Platable Plastic Parts

Palatable ABS is not conductive.

It depends on a reaction with a special solution that deposits nickle on the surface. This is done by immersing the ABS in the solution. No electricity is applied at this stage.

The electroplating process starts after this and it is effectively plating the very thin electroless nickle coating that was chemically deposited on the surface of the ABS.


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RE: Molding Platable Plastic Parts

   Are there some books on plating plastics that you recommend?

   Unfortunately there are only a couple of platers that don't deserve to go out of business.

RE: Molding Platable Plastic Parts

The following are some references on the subject:

Handbook of Deposition Technologies for Films and Coatings - Science, Technology and Applications (2nd Edition)

Plating of Plastics with Metals by Maurice William Ranney

There is probably more good information spread out in technical papers/conference presentations than there is collected in one single reference.  Try the following link for more info:


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