Electroplating Methods

The primary methods of electroplating are rack plating, barrel plating, and vibratory plating.

Each method has specific applications based on the size, shape, and geometry of the parts. The plating method depends entirely on the size and shape of parts being processed.

Understanding the benefits and limitations of each method is critical to achieving the highest quality electroplating finish for any given part.

Rack Plating

Rack plating isolates individual parts on a stationary rack that is then immersed in a plating solution. Racks have individual points of contact to transfer electric current to the parts, and parts may be attached by wiring, pinchers, or hook. Rack plating is best used for heavy, large, or delicate parts needing individual handling to prevent damage. Though is more labor intensive than other plating methods, rack plating ensures parts are individually handled to prevent damage from touching or bumping during processing.

Barrel Plating

The method of barrel plating parts is designed for small parts with simple geometries that are tolerate tumbling. Parts are loaded into a barrel that rotates as it is placed in a metal plating solution. Barrel plating is a very cost-effective way of plating due to low labor costs per part. Coverage is typically very uniform with barrel plating, and high volumes of parts can be processed at one time. Different barrel sizes can accommodate large and small volumes, and large and small parts, making barrel plating a versatile plating method for most jobs.

Vibratory Plating

Vibratory plating is used when parts are very delicate, or may bend or disfigure in traditional barrel plating equipment. Media is typically used in vibratory machines to reduce part-on-part action, further protecting delicate parts. This method can be more efficient than barrel plating due to the movement of parts over the cathode buttons at the bottom of the basket, resulting in decreased plating time to meet plating specifications.


The plating method depends entirely on the size and shape of parts being processed. Rack and barrel plating are available for each of the finishes offered by WPC, and vibratory plating is available for delicate gold plating jobs. For more information on any of our finishes, please visit our Services page, or fill out our Quote form. Let our team help you identify the best finish and method to meet your specifications or requirements.