Different types of electroforming methods exist:
The two main types of electroforming are electroplating and extrusion, the latter being used more frequently today.
Electroplating is where the plate’s die has a hard metal layer or adhesive coating applied to the metal surface. Then electrical current is applied to the plate and it gets heated with a heating element and the heated metal layer comes off the plate on to the back of the plate. The plate gets rid of the adhesive and lays flat like a sheet of paper when the electrode is removed from the plate.
Extrusion is where the metal is pre-processed prior to placing it on the plate.
Other methods include vacuum deposition, selective electrodeposition, and reactive electrodeposition, just to name a few.
In some industries, electroforming is also used for electroplating by injecting a liquid metal into the metal part prior to applying it to the surface. This method is used to change the mechanical properties of metals with different oxidation states.
Electroforming Of Aluminum Parts
The stainless steel plate that is being electroformed is coated with stainless steel powder, then plates containing the same powder get sprayed with an oxidizing solvent. The solvent makes the stainless steel powder hydrophobic. The aluminum is added and then plates get loaded into the electroformer. The electroforming takes place at 190 C in a gas environment (in fact, it’s the high gas temperature that makes the powder hydrophobic).
Because aluminum has such low oxidation states, it oxidizes and becomes carbonized, forming a carbon spot on the aluminum surface. Then the aluminum starts to reduce in value (this is called plating) and the aluminum is dissolved by the electric field. This is called electroplating.
Why Use Electroplating?
This can be used For Siding Systems, forming part of electroplating services usually forming part of a specialist supply chain synonymous with very specific lines of business. The process is highly automated and requires no manual intervention from the designer, the installer, or the customer. The parts will be left alone after their part was electroformed and a sticker is placed on the part that says it has been electroformed, and the installation materials have been filled with an additive that holds the coating. A little wire is attached to the plate and a corresponding wire goes to a reel that holds the aluminum wire. The whole setup is plugged into the wall socket where electricity is produced. The electrical current comes through the filament and through the aluminum and makes the coating adhere to the aluminum, creating a strong bond. Then when the aluminum parts come off, the sticker is peeled off and that part is grounded, and the aluminum bond is broken and the aluminum removed from the plate.
A few materials are not recommended to use in electroforming:
Hard rubber. If the materials have a carbon substrate, the coating will adhere to the hard rubber substrate, making it impossible to remove without leaving a substantial bond.
Glass fibers. If the glass fibers come in direct contact with any type of metal, the coating will adhere to the glass.
The material you pick for siding has a big impact on the performance of the electroforming process. Glass fibers are made from synthetic resins (the glass-filled plastics).