Coating Technology Comparison
For simplicity we bundle; coating, plating, and surface treatment together.
There are a number of surface treatments available to color, camouflage, or for performance benefits like rust prevention and wear resistance. We try to keep on the innovative edge of surface treatments but as technology continues to change so there is always a chance we have missed something. The most common question I get is “what is the best coating” – easy answer; If there was one best coating there would only be one coating! – mvetter My first question is always, “what is your objective”? corrosion protection, reduce wear, reduce wet lubrication, or just aesthetics’
Nickel Boron- WMD proprietary Nickel boron is NiB-X (Nickel Boron eXtreme) it is available; as plated or polished with standard thickness of 0.0005-0.0008”. This coating is harder than hard chrome with an excellent coefficient of friction near Teflon. This coating is both hard and lubricious with added corrosion protection and is the best performance coating for the firearms industry. It came from the aerospace industry and requires little wet lubrication thus cleans extremely easily after or in between shooting while protecting against the elements or personal conceal carry. NiB-X is available in a matte silver / gray, distressed, or polish near to a chrome look. This finish accentuates the surface finish and shows machine marks so there must be extra steps taken to prep the parts.
Nickel Teflon NiT or Electroless nickel with boron nitrided ENBN should not be confused with Nickel Boron as they look remarkably similar but have a waxy feel. These coatings are slippery and have a particularly good coefficient of friction but do not have nearly the hardness or wear resistance as NiB-X. These coating are available for some part where extreme wear is not the main objective. This is normally plated on top of a layer of Electroless Nickel and is only 0.0001-0.0002” thick. Because of the two layers they do have good corrosion protection.
Nitride is a surface case hardening process that impinges nitrogen into the top layers of the steel material providing increased hardness of the standard steel material. It increases the hardness of a thin layer providing reduced galling of sliding parts and some increased corrosion protection of carbon steel. This hardening process has negligible dimensional change making it excellent for tight fitting components. This coating is available in standard Black, and now Gray and Blue from WMD.
DLC – Diamond Like Coating, is extremely hard black coating with good coefficient of friction (not excellent) based on the surface finish. This very hard coating is also extremely thin 2-4 microns. Making it interesting for tight tolerance situations where something harder that Nitride is demanded. Extra care must be taken to prep the surface finish of the parts before coating
TiN – Titanium nitride is an extremely hard GOLD coating with only good coefficient of friction based on the surface finish. This ranges in color from Mustard gold to shiny iridescent gold based on the surface preperation of the raw component. Extreme care must be take to prepare the surface finish before plating.
Other “unique” colors of PVD are available we process these per customer order only due to the cost and limited benefits.
Ceracote or other ceramic paints are also available. They have good corrosion protection because of the thickness of material applied as long as they are not scratched. These are available in a multitude of colors and are perfect for artistic representation but have little or no real wear resistance. Once a component like bolt carrier has been used the coating scraps off and normally leaves bare metal. The hardness of these coating does not even register on the standard coating hardness charts of Rockwell C or Vickers. From that standpoint they are extremely soft and can be scraped off.
Hope this helps!!!