Chromium plating: Functioning and industrial use

Chromium plating: functioning and industrial use

Chrome plating is a process of coating objects with a thin but durable layer of chrome. Its origin dates back to the early 20th century. It was then that the search for effective methods of protecting metals from corrosion while also improving their aesthetics began. This treatment protects a metal, but also gives it the desired, visually appealing gloss and smoothness.

The chrome plating process is used in such diverse fields as automotive, aviation, home appliance manufacturing, and even in the fashion and jewelry businesses. Chromium plating not only increases the corrosion and wear resistance of objects, but also enhances their aesthetic qualities.

Among chrome plating methods, galvanic chrome plating holds a particular position. It involves using electrochemical processes to apply a layer of chromium to metal objects. This method, compared to other techniques, offers unparalleled finish quality and the ability to control the coating’s thickness.

What is chrome plating?

It is a process of applying a thin layer of chromium to various materials, mainly metals including “stainless steel” (pictured above), to increase their resistance to corrosion, improve durability and give them an appealing appearance. This process involves submerging metallic components in a bath filled with a high-temperature chromium salt solution.

Main types of chrome plating

  • Galvanic Chrome Plating: Uses an electrochemical process to apply a layer of chromium to a metallic surface. It is one of the most widely used chromium plating methods, offering high precision in controlling the thickness of an applied layer. It is widely used, for example, in the production of piston rods for SDK series pneumatic clamping actuators of our production, where chromium salts are deposited on carbon steel.
  • Spray Chrome Plating: A method that allows coating large or irregularly shaped objects. This process involves spraying a solution containing chromium using specialized pistols. This technique is used where traditional methods may be ineffective.

Galvanic chrome plating process overview

  1. Surface Preparation: To ensure the best adhesion and coating quality, an object must be thoroughly cleansed of any dirt, grease, rust or old coatings.
  2. Electrolytic Bath: The cleansed object is dipped in an electrolytic solution containing chromium ions. The object is connected to a negative pole of the current source (it becomes a cathode), while the anodes are connected to a positive pole.
  3. Electrolysis: An electric current is passed through the solution, causing chromium ions to be reduced and deposited on the object’s surface. This creates a smooth, durable protective layer.
  4. Passivation: The final step is often passivation, which further increases the chrome-plated surface’s resistance to corrosion. It involves applying a thin layer of a chemical compound that reacts with the chrome and provides additional protection.

The technological process of chromium plating with a workpiece treatment at CPP "PREMA" S.A.

No. Operation Workstation Work socket
2. Boring, threading 16K20 universal lathe 16K20
3. Milling FN-20 milling machine FN-20
4. Grinding E 450 UP-1000 grinder E 450 UP
5. Polishing I Polishing grinder BBZ-60
6. Chrome plating Galvanizing station GALWAN
7. Polishing II Polishing grinder BBZ-60
8. Control Quality Assurance Office NJ

Our company’s chrome plating procedure is distinguished by the ability to precisely control a chrome layer’s thickness and products’ aesthetic finish. This method allows for an exceptional coating quality, making it the preferred choice for many industrial applications.

Chrome plating techniques - pros and applications

Galvanic chrome plating


  • High quality and consistency of coating, even in hard-to-reach areas.
  • Ability to precisely control an applied layer’s thickness.
  • Providing additional protection against corrosion and enhancing the aesthetics.

Spray chrome plating


  • Ability to chrome plate large and irregular objects.
  • Quick application process.
  • Can be applied to a variety of materials, including plastic.

Both techniques offer unique advantages and are used in a variety of industries. The choice of an appropriate process depends on – among other factors – the type of material selected, the required durability of the coating and aesthetic aspects.

Chrome plating's benefits and uniqueness

Coating a metal with chrome can provide benefits such as:

  • Effective Corrosion Protection: Prevents a metal from direct contact with water, oxygen, salts and other corrosive substances, significantly extending the lifespan of protected components.
  • Aesthetic Finish: Gives items a unique, mirror-like shine that is difficult to achieve with other finishing techniques. Often desired in the production of luxury items or automotive parts.
  • Durability and Resistance: In addition to protecting against corrosion, it also increases the resistance of items to abrasion and scratching, i.e. piston rods of actuators operating in harsh environments.
  • Application Versality: Can be used on a wide range of surfaces, including steel, aluminum and even plastic (after proper preparation).

Chromium salt application and other surface protection methods

Compared to other surface protection methods – such as painting, anodizing or galvanizing – chrome plating has several unique characteristics:

  • Painting: Can provide a wide range of aesthetic finishes and some degree of corrosion protection, but does not offer as strong a protective barrier as chrome plating. In addition, paint coatings are more susceptible to scratches and mechanical damage.
  • Anodizing: Mainly used for aluminum, it creates a durable, corrosion-resistant surface. Compared to chrome plating, anodizing offers a smaller range of finishing options and does not achieve such a high gloss.
  • Zinc plating: Like chrome plating, zinc plating is often used for corrosion protection. Hot-dip zinc plating can provide thicker coatings than chrome plating, but typically does not offer as attractive surface finish. Zinc plating is closer to chrome plating in appearance, but still differs in aesthetic properties and durability.

Modern trends and innovations

In recent years, new technologies and materials have appeared on the market to make chrome application processes more efficient and sustainable. One of the most important innovations is the use of nanotechnology. Nanoparticles can be added to chromium baths to create surfaces with unique properties such as increased hardness, better wear resistance and reduced porosity. This opens up new possibilities in the production of components with high strength and durability. Their use can be found in industries such as mining, aviation and railroad.

Another development is chromium plating without Cr(VI) – (chromium 6 formed at high temperatures, e.g. during welding or cutting). This method aims to eliminate the use of hexavalent chromium compounds, considered harmful to the environment and human health. Modern methods use alternative, less harmful substances, while maintaining chrome coating’s high quality and protective properties.

Sustainability and ecology

Environmental awareness and sustainability are gaining importance in the context of all manufacturing processes. The demand to minimize environmental impact is leading to the development of new, greener solutions:

  • Optimization of water and energy consumption in chrome plating processes, which contributes to reducing the carbon footprint.
  • Developing recycling technologies that allow metals to be reused and to reduce waste.
  • Implementing sewage purification systems that effectively remove contamination from water used for chrome plating before it is returned to the environment.

Companies such as CPP “PREMA” S.A. are actively engaged in research and development of technologies to make electroplating processes more efficient and environmentally friendly. Using new methods such as trivalent chromium plating and nanotechnology, they are making the industry more environmentally friendly.

By developing nanotechnology and rolling out Cr(VI)-free methods, we are not only able to significantly improve the quality of products, but also minimize the negative impact of techniques on the environment.

Choosing chrome plating service provider

When choosing a company that offers electroplating services, it is recommended to consider the following conditions:

  • Experience and Specialization: Look for a company with extensive experience that specializes in services that meet your needs.
  • Testimonials and Customer Reviews: Check for reviews and testimonials from other clients. Satisfaction of previous customers can be a good indicator of service quality and level of customer service.
  • Accomplishments Portfolio: Review examples of the company’s previous projects. Its portfolio can give you an overview of the scope of project realisation, workmanship quality and supplier’s technical capabilities.
  • Certifications and Quality Standards: Ensure that the supplier has the appropriate certifications that demonstrate adherence to international quality and safety standards.
  • Commitment to Sustainability: In an era of growing environmental awareness, it is worth choosing suppliers that implement green solutions.

Criteria for evaluating the quality of chrome plating services

When choosing a service provider, be guided not only by price, but above all by quality, experience and reputation of the company. Pay special attention to:

  • Quality and Consistency: A high-quality coating should not have any cracks, blisters or other irregularities.
  • Durability and Resistance: The coating should be resistant to weather and environmental conditions (abrasion, scratching, corrosion).
  • Service Complexity: Prefer suppliers that offer comprehensive services – from surface preparation through chrome plating to finishing.
  • Punctuality and Flexibility: Check whether the supplier is known for completing orders in a timely manner and can adapt to individual customer requirements.
  • Technical Support and Consultancy: A valuable addition is the ability to receive expert technical support at every stage of a project.


Chrome plating has proven its importance in the metal industry for years, both in terms of maintenance and aesthetics. Chromium plating is an invaluable process for our company’s processes because of its ability to significantly extend the lifespan of the actuators we produce.

New methodologies, including the use of nanotechnology and techniques based on the reduced Cr(VI) usage, open up many possibilities for us. This not only increases the efficiency of chrome plating processes, but also decreases their negative impact on the environment.

We encourage you to get acquainted with CPP “PREMA” S.A.’s rich offer, as well as to contact and cooperate with us in order to create products capable of withstanding the test of time, as well as delight with their appearance.