Electroless Nickel Plating

What is Electroless Nickel Plating

Electroless nickel plating is an auto-catalytic reaction used to deposit a coating of nickel on a substrate. Unlike electroplating, it is not necessary to pass an electric current through the solution to form a deposit. This plating technique is to prevent corrosion and wear. EN techniques can also be used to manufacture composite coatings by suspending powder in the bath. from Wikipedia.org

United Surface Finishing offers 3 kinds of electroless nickel plating: high-phosphorous, medium-phosphorous and our proprietary USF-Excel electroless nickel process.

Physical Appearance Semi-Bright Bright Mirror-Bright
Phosphorus Content (wgt%) 11-13 5.5-9 4.6-5.2
Rockwell ‘C’ HK (100) As plated 46-50 56 Exceeds 60
Rockwell ‘C’ Heat Treated 66-68 69 68
Corrosion Resistance/Protection Excellent Excellent Excellent
Salt Spray Test (ASTM B-117) hrs @25.4 microns 1000+ 96 96
Magnetic Properties Non-Magnetic Magnetic Magnetic


Substrates for Electroless Nickel Plating

  • Aluminum, for which we have a dedicated line
  • Steel
  • Stainless Steel
  • Copper
  • Most base metals

Finishes and Options 

  • Satin
  • Matte
  • Ground
  • Polished
  • Honed
  • RMS (8 micro or above)

The above finishes are achieved by special pre-plate processes specific to the customer's request and application.

Our Production Capabilities

From our state-of-the-art 30,000 square foot facility in Canton OH, we provide full-service plating to customers from across the Midwest. Our production capabilities include:

  • Ni: 2 tons
  • EN Tanks - 46” x 76” x 48” deep (largest in NE Ohio)
  • Three 16-foot tanks for horizontal plating
  • Ni stripping

From start to finish, we understand that every step of the production process is critical to achieving the standards both we and our customers expect. That’s why we can also provide pre- and post-plating services upon request such as abrasive blasting, buffing and polishing, centerless belt-sanding, and stripping. See Extended Services for a complete list.                                                                                       




Electroless nickel plating can perform like stainless steel at less cost!

Electroless nickel plating has several advantages versus electroplating. Free from flux-density and power supply issues, it provides an even deposit regardless of workpiece geometry, and with the proper pre-plate catalyst, can deposit on non-conductive surfaces. from Wikipedia.org

High Phosphorus Electroless Nickel Plating

High Phosphorous electroless nickel plating offers maximum corrosion resistance to strongly acidic corrosive environments like oil drilling, coal mining and pickling. High phosphorous is the most popular electroless nickel plating choice because steel parts often perform like stainless steel. Electroless nickel does not buildup on edges or ends providing a uniform 100% part thickness and coverage. Electroless nickel plating may allow for substitution of less expensive materials in place of stainless steel alloys or hard-to-machine substrates. Salt spray tests per ASTM B117 repeatedly show that high phosphorus electroless nickel plating outperforms other electroless nickel coatings with 9% or less phosphorus by over 4 to 1.

  • Can perform like stainless steel at less cost
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Exceptional wearability
  • 100% uniform thickness / Uniform coverage-both internally & externally / Even coating of threads, grooves, sharp corners, holes & other complex shapes
  • Holds close tolerances within .0001
  • Soldering Capability
  • Eliminates the need for machining
  • Cost Effective


The USF-Excel process yields a deposit with an as-plated hardness of 63 Rockwell C scale.  That’s an increase of nearly 40% over conventional electroless nickel deposits and compares to stress-relieved hard chrome.

USF-Excel Data Sheet
(PDF, 110KB)