Houston Plating & Coatings (HP&C) has developed new, proprietary electroless nickel (EN) processes and equipment to plate the internal surfaces of high-pressure gas cylinders.

Source: HP&C

The Texas-based company claims the process achieves 99.99% coverage with a uniformly thin layer of plated nickel.

“Interaction with carbon steel degrades the gasses stored and transported in high-pressure gas cylinders, but electroless nickel plating provides a barrier between the gases and the steel, thus eliminating the degradation and consequent gas contamination,” HP&C said in a statement.

“HP&C’s new processes and equipment, marketed under the Ni-Side brand, can plate multiple cylinders simultaneously, therefore a large number of cylinders can be completed in a relatively short period of time, and at a substantially lower cost than with current methods,” the company added.

William Howard, President and CEO of HP&C, said, “HP&C has some of the largest EN tanks in the industry and can dedicate a full production line to the new cylinder plating processes; and, since HP&C’s new EN plating processes can plate many cylinders at one time, we can deliver a large quantity of plated cylinders at a significantly lower cost. HP&C is in the process of patenting various aspects of the new process and expects to be in full production of EN plated cylinders by the first week of 2021.”

Ashley Madray, President of La Porte-based Gas Innovations, welcomed the improvement.

“Until now, large quantities of cylinders made of carbon steel could not be utilized to store or transport industrial gases because of the time required to ‘plate’ them,” Madray said.

“This process and volume capabilities will allow for many more applications and improved availability. Unacceptable contamination of the gases which produces significant inefficiencies may now be improved significantly. this should be a game changer for the industrial gas market.”