Electroless Black Nickel Case Study

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Meet our Customer

As a large provider of voice pick-up and radio transmitters in the performing arts industry, millions of broadcasters and performers rely on our client’s products to work well, work right, and to have the highest quality at the most important moments. If their products fail, their customers fail, and that just isn’t a risk our client is willing to take.


Our customer came to us with a challenge they had been facing for years. They were producing voice transmitters with black anodized coating. However, anodize is aluminum oxide which is an electric insulator, so the components couldn’t properly ground. To combat this, they were using masking in some areas of the component to allow for grounding, but this created oxidation in the bare spots, which only increased corrosion and decreased quality. They needed plating that would allow grounding, avoid corrosion, and black color to blend in with clothing and avoid light reflection.

Up for the Challenge

This was a plating and cosmetic issue—so the fix called not only for the right material but also the right color. It was a delicate dance between geometry and chemistry with the steps being somewhat unknown. We turned to a newer plating system, electroless black nickel, which is conductive so it allows for grounding. Now, we just needed to get the color right. This was no easy task because certain chemical concentrations have to be present with the right parameters for the coloring to be dark enough. After a couple months of process development and testing (and working side-by-side with the vendor), we created a great solution that met all of our customer’s requirements.


By putting our expertise to work in new creative ways, we were able to produce a product that solved all three points of this performing arts dilemma, resulting in one of the highest quality radio transmitters on the market along with pioneering a new process for electroless black nickel connectivity.

“Our know-how is vast. When a customer needs a special
coating to get the job done, we have what it takes to tackle
the challenge and deliver a tested, spot-on solution.”

—Don Ytterberg, CEO, Advanced Surface Technologies

Do you have a specific project in mind? Please contact us to find out how we can assist you starting from the designing stage to make your product even better and more cost efficient.