Session 4: Advancements in Automotive Finishing
The General Metal Finishing industry is a large supplier of silver plating to the automotive industry. With the advent of EV vehicles the requirements for higher voltage and temperature silver are of great interest. This paper deals directly with new alloys that have the ability to meet these requirements without significantly increasing cost. These coatings will clearly find their place in the automotive industry as requirement continue to increase.
Advances in Surface Finishing Technology
The paper will introduce new silver alloys and their improved properties as functional and alternative coatings. The paper compares these alloys to the established coatings such as hard gold and palladium-nickel with flash gold in E-Mobility and High Power industrial applications.
Gold and palladium have been used long time as contact materials for technical surfaces. Due to rising precious metal prices, silver and silver alloys are increasingly coming into focus to replace these coatings.
The goal is to review the status of current development of various silver alloys and their competitive properties vs. the disadvantages of pure silver coatings. Especially under the aspect of long-term stability, these new silver alloys show their real potential.
In hardness, stable contact resistance and tri-biological properties which remain consistent over long term even at elevated temperatures. Requirements such as end-of-life in the automotive sector are covered in an exemplary manner.
For e.g. an innovative silver dispersion electrolyte and plated layers out of it have similar electric properties like a pure silver coating but offering a very low COF and no tendency for galling. These are properties that a pure silver coating can’t offer. Additionally, if we look into a silver palladium alloy, which has competitive properties vs hard gold or palladium-nickel we add the benefit of a cyanide free process.
Silver alloys are already used and established in industrial and automotive electronics, but with limitations in the field of electroplating, especially for R2R plating of connectors, which this paper will also briefly review.
In summary, silver alloys and their advantageous properties open up options to be used as an alternative functional coating for existing connector applications as well as opportunities in other industries such as high power applications, the next generation of e-mobility and high power industrial connectors.