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Chemical nickel plating with a high phosphorus content for undersea installations in the oil industry


The Gruppo Argos ST Cambiago plant is an absolute benchmark in the chemical nickel plating sector. Often referred to as Electroless Nickel Plating (ENP), this chemical surface-coating technology provide exceptional protection against wear and corrosion, making it ideal for all industrial sectors. Compared to nickel electroplating, chemical nickel plating can be applied perfectly following the shape of the surface, making it the ideal choice for coating mechanical parts that require optimal precision.

Chemical nickel plating with a high phosphorus content for undersea installations

Recently, the production plant received an order for the coating of components for use on undersea installations in the depths of the North Sea. The customer requested a chemical nickel plating process with a phosphorus content above 10.5%, in compliance with American standard ASTM B733, which corresponds to UNI ISO 4527.

ASTM B733 standards primarily apply to the US and indicate the specifications of chemical nickel coatings. Coatings are classified based on the percentage of phosphorus in the alloy and specify the thicknesses of the coating based on intended use.

The components treated with this process are flanges and components for gas and oil pipelines with a weight of around 4 tonnes and a diameter of 1.5 m.

The process requires various essential steps. First of all, thermal cleaning is carried out, followed by microblasting and washing to remove any residues that could compromise the final quality of the coating. Next, areas where seals will be applied, and where the nickel plating is not desired, are carefully masked.

After this, the components undergo the chemical nickel plating process, equipping them with exceptional hardness.

In certain specific cases for the oil & gas sector, Argos ST also offers nickel-plating treatments using ENP SH technology. This treatment, the latest of Argos’s chemical nickel plating processes, offers unmatched levels of hardness. After the final thermal treatment, in fact, ENP SH technology can achieve hardness up to 1300 HV and an extraordinarily compact coating.

High-phosphorus nickel plating provides excellent resistance to corrosion and sliding wear, and optimal weldability of treated surfaces. Continuous research and acquisition of specific know-how enables Argos ST to offer chemical nickel plating solutions with greater hardness that traditional electroless nickel coatings.

After application of the coating, components undergo a final thermal treatment and quality control. It is essential that products meet the customer’s thickness, hardness and roughness specifications.

Argos ST now has a consolidated, ongoing partnership with the customer, a Norwegian company (our plant handles up to 30 units each year), demonstrating the plant’s commitment to guaranteeing complete reliability and safety also in complex fields such as undersea installations and the oil & gas industry.