Defects on Electroplated Surfaces

© Fraunhofer IPA

Whether it is adhesion problems, roughness, pores, chipping, discoloration, pitting, burn marks or uneven coating thicknesses - defects in electroplated components always have far-reaching consequences. These can be anything from high rework costs or production losses to goods sent back by customers due to premature wear or corrosion. This not only causes economic damage but can also pose a risk to people and the environment. We offer fast and competent support for affected businesses, regardless of whether they are coating companies or customers thereof.  


Our range of services

We let the parts do the talking: our expertise ranges from on-site analysis of the current situation, metallographic and chemical analysis of components and electrolytes right up to evaluating and interpreting test results on an interdisciplinary basis and determining and implementing remedial measures. We take a methodical approach that has been tried and tested over many years and is tailored to the needs of our customers. Thanks to our know-how in materials and process technology as well as in plant engineering, we are in a position to analyze and eliminate plating defects from an all-round perspective.

  • The aim of our materials analysis is not only to document coating defects precisely, but also to characterize them in the context of their respective processes in order to pinpoint what might have caused them. Through the metallographic analyses we perform in our laboratories, we gain in-depth information about defects and their origin.

    Our work is based on the careful preparation of specimens and microsections, optical microscopy with hardness testing device as well as scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive x-ray analysis. In terms of equipment, we also have x-ray diffractometers for conducting structural and stress analyses. What sets us apart is our experienced staff, who are able to carry out even the most demanding preparations in order to obtain information on the features of defects in the micrometer range.

  • Chemical analysis allows us to gain information about electrolyte constituents that cannot be detected using conventional methods. This ability to characterize electrolytes helps us to assess negative effects on the deposition conditions. Depending on the electrolyte system concerned, we can either draw on a wide range of experience or adapt methods to the case in question.

    In characterizing electrolytes, we rely not only on the typical and widespread titration methods but also on sophisticated instruments, which allow us to conduct analyses such as ion chromatography (IC) and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) in order to characterize organic additives and degradation products. We also have equipment for carrying out spectroscopic analyses, bubble pressure tensiometry and for measuring the total organic carbon content (TOC).

  • Components such as fasteners, biomedical implants, bearings or transmission and hydraulic components are subjected to corrosive and tribological stress at the same time. For this reason, we also examine surfaces to assess how they behave when exposed to the simultaneous stress caused by tribology and corrosion. Our objective is to characterize the respective failure mechanisms and to understand their interrelationships or interactions. This enables us to optimize, qualify and redevelop layer systems on the basis of our knowledge and understanding.

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