Hard Chrome vs Thin Dense Chrome

Which one should you choose?

Few metals can come close to the hardness of chrome. While chrome has a beautiful, clean finish that makes your product shine, it is most often used to help increase hardness and prevent corrosion of high wear components. Meadville Plating offers two types of chrome plating: Hard Chrome and Thin Dense Chrome (also known as ARMTEC.)

With two types of coating, which type of chrome best suits you and your product’s needs?

Despite being made of the same element, these two chrome coatings offer a few different benefits. Let’s start off by explaining how they are similar:

  • Lubricity – the hard coating produces a lubricious surface, lowering the coefficient of friction of your piece, which helps reduce heat generated from your high-wear parts and so much more.
  • Heat Resistance – both ARMTEC and hard chrome can withstand temperatures of -400 to 1300 degrees. For high-performance pins, shafts or slides, this characteristic keeps your component in working condition during peak performance.
  • Corrosion Resistance – both chrome platings have hard surfaces that resist corrosion.
  • Adhesion – applied electrolytically, a superior bond is created, unlike coatings applied without the use of electricity.


Despite many similarities, ARMTEC and hard chrome platings have unique characteristics to help further increase the life of your product:

Hard Chrome:

  • Thick deposits – hard chrome deposits range from .00003 to .030, pending application type. With the use of conforming anodes and state-of-the-art rectification, we provide an even coat to offer ultimate protection.
  • Repair Work – if you’re looking to repair mismachined parts, hard chrome (or our sulfamate nickel machinable alloy plating) are perfect.


  • Thin Deposits – ARMTEC offers minimal surface coating ranging from .00005 to .0001. Its coating is thin and crack free so you are sure to have a flawless coat. Additionally, our ARMTEC will not crack, peel, flake or chip and can be stripped if needed.
  • Hardness – our thin dense chrome is slightly harder than hard chrome. Due to its density, ARMTEC hardness is between 70-72 RC, in comparison to hard chrome at 68-70 RC.
  • Appearance – ARMTEC thin dense chrome has a satin finish appearance. The finish is very repeatable, allowing for different base metals to be plated and used in the same assembly while providing an attractive and uniform finish.

Hard chrome and ARMTEC have been used for years to increase wear and resistance of our customers’ molds, shafts, pins and more. With years of servicing the tool and die and mold making industry, we have the expertise to supply you with the highest quality chrome plating available. Call us today and see how our chrome plating can change the life of your products.