Proper metal plating is important to any manufacturing process the deals with metal products and machinery in the military defense industry. Finishing, or metal plating, generally involves applying a metal coating on a certain application to form a protective bond. Typical metal finishing processes for the military industry includes:

  • Electroplating
  • Electroless plating
  • Anodizing 

Specifically, olive drab electroplating is commonly requested for military-grade plating. Olive drab refers to the color of the chromate that is applied to parts during the post-plating process. Due to its olive color, this finish is commonly used in military applications. Zinc olive drab is a durable finish that contains unique self- healing properties which help to provide corrosion protection to areas damaged by scratching or abrasion. Great Lakes Metal Finishing is among the few companies that still offer zinc electroplating with olive drab chromate in both rack and barrel processing.

What Applications are Commonly Plated in the Military Industry?

Defense plating and other metal finishing processes can be used to protect many different parts in the military defense industry. Applications include:

ScrewsDetonatorsOptical devices
FastenersAvionicsShields 
ContactsMissile Components Radar Components
Gun BarrelsAircraft Engine PartsGuidance Systems 

Benefits to Using Olive Drab Plating Military Defense Applications 

Military plating techniques and metal finishing processes offer many essential benefits. Most importantly, olive drab plating for military applications helps to protect against corrosion. Many military weapons and machinery are used in humid climates, accelerating the process of rusting. Metal coatings will serve as a sacrificial barrier that will help to prolong the lifespan of the application. In addition, some defense equipment is susceptible to the buildup of heat during operation. Having a metal coating can make the part more resistant to extreme temperatures. 

Often times with military equipment, moving parts come in contact with one another. The resulting friction and wear can lead to an early lifecycle of the equipment. Placing a metal finishing on the application can lower the friction between pieces, significantly reducing wear. However, a huge benefit of applying a metal finishing on any military applications is appearance. The appearance of a product used for defensive purposes is important. An olive-drab metal coating can enhance the appearance, while also providing protective properties. 

Compliant with Military Specifications MIL-STD-171

Metal plating for defense applications require a close tolerance to meet certain specifications developed by the Department of Defense. Great Lakes Metal Finishing is one of the few companies that has the ability to receive military defense contracts and meet these standards. GLMF has vast experience in how to achieve a uniform finish, meeting military spec MIL-STD-171. 

  • MIL-STD-171- Military standard that established the minimum requirements for finishing, and otherwise treating, metal and wood surfaces, and to serve as a general guide to the selection of suitable finishing materials, procedures, and systems.

When choosing a metal finishing company for defense plating, it is imperative to select one that has experience in completing projects for the military. The specifications can vary widely from one metal finishing method to another and are frequently updated by the Department of Defense. GLMF ensures all parts are getting the proper plating deposit for every job by performing a complete thickness check using one of our x-ray machines.

GLMF Offers Superior Plating for Military Defense Applications 

Great Lakes Metal Finishing, Inc is a high-quality olive drab zinc plating company. Our olive drab chromating process removes the inherent iridescent appearance, producing an even, matte finish, which is required for military operations. GLMF’s olive drab chromate is rated for a minimum of 96 hours to white corrosion, however, many of our in-house results have far surpassed that level. We perform on-site daily testing of our cleaners, acids, plating tanks, passivates, and chromates to ensure they are all in compliance with ideal operating parameters for military-grade applications. GLMF’s automated rack and barrel line capabilities, combined with our proprietary chemistry, make our olive drab chromate conversion coating optimal for military defense applications.