The Benefits of Rack Plating

by | Jun 8, 2015 | Metals

For any plating, there are two basic methods to consider; one is barrel plating and the other is rack plating. Barrel plating is typically used for very small parts or parts with a regular surface where the parts are placed in a drum or barrel and rotated in the plating solution. Barrel plating is considered a lower cost option in plating as it is less labor intensive. With small parts where hanging each part is not feasible, this can be a good plating option. Typically, all aspects of barrel plating are handled automatically without the need for a lot of manual processing.

Rack Plating Explained
The other option for plating is rack plating. This can be completed on larger parts or parts with very delicate or intricate elements that could be damaged in the tumbling process used in barrel plating.

During rack plating a specially-designed metal frame, the rack, is used to hang all the parts. The rack itself is treated with insulating plastic to prevent the rack itself from reacting with the solution as well as to extend its life.

Each part is manually placed on the rack. This step important as it allow the right amount of separation between parts and between the actual rack itself to provide uniform contact with the solution. Since the parts will not touch anything except by the small hook or wire where they are attached to the rack, there is no risk of scratching or inconsistency in the plating process.

The entire rack is then submerged in the plating solution and removed as per the specifics of the rack plating requirement. There is a drying process, and then each part is manually removed from the rack.

Inspection and Packing
While more time and labor intensive, rack plating provides the additional benefit of inspection both prior to racking the parts as well as after they are plated. Any defective applications of the plating will be noted, and the part culled.

Packing can be completed immediately as well, ensuring parts are protected and safe from scratches and rubbing as can happen when processing is completed through equipment rather than people.
Both barrel and rack plating have their uses and their advantages. When consistency and top results matter for medium to large parts or parts where elements can easily damaged, the rack plating option is always the most recommended.

To learn more about why we use rack plating at DeKalb Metal Finishing see us online. Our website is easy to find at

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