Cadmium Plating Process – The Various Kinds of Substances Used in Metal Plating

Cadmium is a byproduct of zinc, and in 1920 it got recognition as an outstanding plating solution to produce a highly protective metal surface that can work even in extreme weather conditions including salty environments. The uniqueness of cadmium is that even being extremely malleable that makes them versatile for metallic coating, once electroplated they boast extremely robust as a protective layer.

Also, called as Cad, it can be plated successfully on metals like steel, malleable, iron, cast iron, copper, and powdered metal and playing the role of a ‘sacrificial coating’ before the base metal. Industries like aerospace, defense, automotive, mining, engineering, electrical, and off-shore are the major users of cadmium plating for various applications.

Key Advantages

• Extremely high corrosion resistance even in an aquatic environment

• Astonishing luster equivalent to silver plating or gold plating (with chromate conversion coatings)

• Commendable lubricity

• Highly malleable

• Solder-ability

• Aesthetic with color option

The Cadmium Plating Process

Among the most popular methods followed by plating companies for cadmium plating, two are barrel plating and electroplating. Another method called vacuum deposition process is also in demand.

Preprocess treatment

The essentiality of pre-processing treatment for cadmium plating is no different from all other metal plating procedures. In order to attain the best coating outcome, thorough cleaning of the substrates before plating is crucial. Without having treatment, the contaminants including dust particles, debris, and oily matters can hinder the integrity level of metal finishing which is unwanted. In general, in the cleaning phase for cad plating, a chemical solution treatment is provided at high boiling level whereas the heat works great on the cool surface of metal bodies to eliminate contaminants. Once well treated, the materials are ready to get plated.

Barrel Plating

Also called as mechanical plating, barrel coating involves submerging the metal items as well as cadmium powder, essential chemical and glass beads to spin gently within the barrel. The process is ideal and economical for small and volume plating of metal parts like fasteners, crews, nuts, and bolts irrespective of their shapes. This coats metal components with cadmium in a mechanical process.


Similar to all other electroplating procedures, cad plating typically needs acid bath and backup of electrical charge. The key substance required for cad plating include cadmium salts while substrates should be dipped within the salt solution before passing the electrical charge through it. Commonly large and delicate metal objects are chosen or cadmium electroplating.

Vacuum Deposition

The vacuum deposition method of cad cadmium plating is carried out through heating the object being plated by heating it in a vacuum. During the process, condensed atoms of cadmium get deposited on the surface of the metal producing a superfine, high-quality film of cadmium. The cad ions contribute a lot to enhance the properties of the coating. This kind of plating is mostly used for plating rotor parts used in helicopters, aircraft, and others.