An electroplater applies metal-based coatings for decorative and/or protective purposes. He or she typically uses a liquid solution that is jet-sprayed at various velocities to the surfaces to be plated. The coating adheres to these surfaces due to the application of a strong electrical current also applied by the electroplater. An example of an electroplater's work is the use of chrome in decorative automotive accessories. Most of the time these individuals work in a metal shop or mechanical shop during regular business hours.
Normally, an electroplater prepares by inspecting the surfaces, items or parts to be plated. He or she works to ensure that any faults are corrected before applying the plating finish; this can be especially important when applying chrome plating to automotive exhausts, as the heat produced by exhausts is likely to melt through the plating if the original pipe has pitting, seams or holes. The electroplater then applies the metallic solution in even layers, uses a finishing bath to immerse the plated items and allows for drying time. If additional layers of plating are required, these are then applied by the electroplater and the process repeats.
Electroplaters must have some skill with applying the coatings, and some artistic aptitude is always helpful in this career. In addition, an electroplater should have an excellent working knowledge of basic metallurgy and elementary mathematics, as he or she will often be required to mix compounds and excess plating material often ends up as waste. Typically, an electroplater can be trained through technical schools or vocational classes. They normally start their careers working as an assistant to a fully qualified plater, and in many areas, there are professional certifications that are offered as well.