Surface Treatment for Aircraft Precision Machining


Surface Treatment for Aircraft Precision Machined Parts

June 21st, 2022

Aviation and aircraft companies face unique challenges with equipment and components because such huge safety issues are involved. Highly complex and precise machined parts must perform their functions reliably and efficiently. These components may also experience extreme environmental stresses that can impact their performance. From wildly-fluctuating temperature differences to corrosive elements, aircraft components must be capable of withstanding stresses and resisting corrosion and wear that could cause parts to fail when performing critical in-flight functions.

Surface treatment solutions play key roles in aerospace components. These techniques ensure that repeatable products of high quality are created on time, and at the necessary demand levels. This article looks at the surface treatment solutions used for aircraft precision machined parts.

What is the Electroplating Surface Treatment for Aircraft Precision Machined Parts?

Surface treatment generally refers to a process that alters a part’s machined surface to enhance its appearance or functional properties. Surface treatment often involves the process of electroplating, one of the most widely-used surface treatment techniques available. It is a highly cost-efficient process that provides broad coverage of coating metals.

Electroplating changes the metal part’s surface properties by adding a metal coating to the surface through electric currents. The part is first immersed in a salt solution that contains the metal to be deposited. The metallic ions of the electrolyte solution carry a positive charge and are attracted to the metal part, which carries a negative charge.

Electroplating services are generally employed to improve the conductivity, wear-resistance, and corrosion resistance of the aircraft components. Decorative electroplating may also improve the surface’s appearance. Non-electrolytic coating applies corrosion-resistant materials and other functional materials to the objects’ surface to improve corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and decorative function. Typical surface treatment products include:

  • Nickel Plating
  • Chrome Plating
  • Zinc Plating
  • Zinc-Iron Plating
  • Zinc-Nickel Plating
  • Black Zinc-Nickel Plating
  • Tin-Zinc Plating
  • Cadmium Plating
  • Copper Plating
  • Copper Nickel Chrome Plating
  • Phosphorization
  • Zinc Aluminum Plating
  • E-coat

What are Other Types of Surface Treatment for Aircraft Precision Machined Parts?

Other surface treatments that may be used during the aircraft precision machining parts manufacturing process include:

  • Anodizing treatment: The anodizing treatment creates an extra protective natural oxide layer on the surface, which is formed from the component’s own metal materials.
  • Chemical conversion coating: This process uses an electro-chemical or chemical process to adhere the metal coating to the surface.
  • Passivation: This treatment helps remove iron that can cause corrosion from the surface of the metal.
  • Etching: Etching treatment removes a very thin layer of the component’s surface.
  • Painting: When the component will be seen, painting the surface can improve its appearance while sealing the metal from corrosive environments.
  • Dry film: A powder coating is applied to the surface.
  • Stress and Embrittlement Relief: This process removes the hydrogen that is present during the cleaning and plating process after casting.
  • Bead Blast: The surface of the component is blasted with small beads to remove material and create a uniform finish.
  • Black Oxide: This is a conversion coating that is used to turn the surface of the precision machined part black. It offers mild corrosion resistance and minimizes light reflection, and is also used to improve appearance.
  • Burnishing: Burnishing alters the surface finish by running a hardened and coated roller over the surface of the part to alter its shape or hardness. It is employed to improve corrosion resistance, reduce porosity, minimize fatigue failure, and eliminate visual defects.
  • Electroless (chemical) Plating: Instead of the salt solution and electrical current used in electroplating, the coating is achieved in a chemical bath which includes a catalyst. The main advantage of chemical plating is that it creates an even layer, regardless of the part’s shape.

Learn More About Surface Treatment for Aircraft Precision Machined Parts

Impro is a global, integrated manufacturer of high-precision, high-complexity, and mission-critical components for diversified markets that include automotive, medical, aerospace, and industrial equipment customers. We use state-of-the-art process technologies and equipment throughout our precision machining and surface treatment processes. Surface treatment is part of our one-stop component solutions. If you are interested in finding more information about surface treatment for aircraft precision machined parts, please contact our team of experts today.


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