Chrome’s unique advantages make it one of the most popular metallic finishes available in several industries.
The biggest consumer of chrome is the automotive industry, which utilizes the material for vehicle trim and accessories. Chrome is becoming a more popular finish in other industries as well, and is now being used to plate everything from household fixtures to fishing lures.
Since it was discovered that chrome is both attractive and durable, it has been a valuable material to the automotive industry, and utilized as a finish for wheels, trim, accessories and other components. When the industry began to utilize plastic in place of steel for its frugality and lightweight durability, the only drawback was that it lacked the luster of metallic parts.
This problem was solved during the 1970s, when the process for electroplating ABS plastics was developed, and plastic components were plated with chrome to give them an ultra-bright finish. Chrome trim reached its peak usage in North America, where it was always most popular, during the late 1980s and early 1990s; since 1993, its popularity has risen by 50% in Europe, and has almost doubled in the United Kingdom.
Chrome plating doesn’t oxidize or corrode, and is able to withstand extremes of temperature and weather.
It is also easy to care for, and has an ultra-bright, specular finish, all of which make it an ideal material for automotive trim and accessories.
Chrome plating can be done on new parts at the factory, or it can be done for the consumer by a custom job shop providing metal finishing or custom plating services.
Consumers can get parts plated at many companies which specialize in electroplating, and some automotive finishers have a great deal of experience with chrome plating. Chrome plating is advantageous because plated components don’t need to be thrown away if they are damaged, but can be refurbished or re-plated; this saves time and money for consumers, reduces the cost of waste goods and it eliminates the need for finding and purchasing replacement components.
Stripping and re-plating a part restores it to like-new or sometimes better condition, and can be more cost-effective than purchasing a brand new part. Recycling old parts reduces waste, and is not only cheaper for the consumer, but more environmentally friendly as well.
Chrome is an ideal finish for household fixtures as well, and for all the same reasons that make it popular as an automotive finish. Many household items are chrome-plated now, including faucets, sinks, bathroom fittings, tap-ware, brackets, hinges, furniture trim, door handles, and many others.
Some items used to be plated with copper, silver and other metals; these materials were aesthetically pleasing, but could be costly and high-maintenance. They also tended to be less durable, in that they would corrode, tarnish, react with chemicals, oxidize, or simply wear off with frequent use.
Chrome plating is a beautiful finish, and doesn’t have any of these disadvantages, which has led to its replacing many other plating materials for such fixtures. Chrome plating is even used for some fishing lures, because of its durability, brilliant shine and resistance to moisture.
Chrome is versatile, beautiful, durable and low-maintenance, making it ideal for a variety of applications in the automotive and household fittings industries. Its long-lasting beauty, ease of care, and protective qualities have made it one of the most popular metallic finishes. It is the ideal plating material for consumers who are looking for a cost-efficient alternative to replacement parts and less durable finishes.