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Plating and Electroforming: 21st Century Innovation with Micro Manufacturing
Addtime:2017-12-4

Micro manufacturing in the 21st century goes down to micron

In most cases, precision metal fabrication works by taking material away from a bigger piece of metal. For the last decades, cutting, stamping and etching have been the go-to technologies to enable production of very small metal parts. And they still are today. But what if the existing ‘drills’ can’t get any smaller? To push the boundaries of innovation, additive manufacturing comes into play. In the 21st century approach to manufacturing innovation, you grow metal one micron at a time.


When components that go into various devices get smaller by the year, more and more manufacturers are starting to explore more possible ways to enable micro manufacturing. 


Electroforming and plating are both electrodeposition processes. Electrodeposition is the deposition of metal onto a conductive object. This means you can build (grow) the metal component atom by atom.

Contrary to what many people think, electroforming and plating are not the same.


What’s the difference between electroforming and plating?

To electroplate, you plate (coat) an existing object with a thin layer of metal. With plating, you are able to change the surface property of the object. Metal plating can also be applied subsequent to the electroforming process.


Electroforming is known as a highly accurate additive manufacturing process. To control the shape of the product, metal is grown onto a patterned surface called substrate.


And this is where the differences between plating and forming become clear. In plating, the deposited metal becomes part of the existing product. In electroforming, the patterned surface will be removed from the product. Also, in electroforming you can grow the metal as thick as you want.


Plating and electroforming: additive manufacturing for various industries

When precision metal fabrication is the next challenge for your industry, consider electroforming and plating. Especially electroformed components provide a broad range of possibilities in many different applications.

 





 

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