Some time ago, we discussed the importance of busbars in the power generation industry and why it was so crucial to protect these parts with a suitable silver plating solution. Of course, busbars aren’t the only type of power connection that needs the appropriate finish to ensure maximum performance. Here at Karas Plating, we provide a variety of plating solutions to manufacturers of cable connectors designed for use with outside generators.
In this article, we will discuss some of those plating techniques and the benefits they offer to this key industry:
A copper core
Most generator cable connectors have a copper core for practical reasons. It is one of the most abundant metals available for commercial and industrial use, making it a cost-effective material. It is also one of the best metals for conducting electricity, which is a key consideration for power distribution components like this. It is sturdy enough to limit the risk of being accidentally bent out of shape during use and offers a good amount of defence against corrosion. All of these qualities make it the natural choice for use in cable connectors. However, while copper scores highly in all these areas, it is not the best performer in any of them. This is why manufacturers choose to plate these components with another metal to get peak performance from their connectors.
Silver plating for cable connectors
As discussed in our busbars article, silver is one of the most popular plating solutions in the power industry. This is mainly because it provides excellent conductivity, certainly better than copper and on the same level as gold. It is highly heat-resistant, which is an important consideration for any power distribution accessory, and does not oxidise or degrade in extreme temperatures. Compared with its nearest rival, gold, silver plating is also a lot more cost-effective.
Gold plating for cable connectors
Like silver, gold is a noble metal, meaning that it doesn’t corrode, tarnish, or oxidise. This makes it an excellent conductor of electricity, and is much in use for premium cable connectors. Furthermore, gold plating does not gall, resulting in a smooth, even finish that ensures a tight, flush connection with the generator. While more expensive than silver by weight, most power cable solutions only require the thinnest application of gold plating to achieve comparable results.
Bright tin plating for cable connectors
Bright tin plating is another popular method of protecting the copper core of the cable connectors. Like gold and silver, it offers great corrosion resistance and conductivity, though not to the same extent as either. However, it scores over both noble metals by being considerably cheaper to apply while still delivering a good performance.