Electroplating parts used in tools and machines makes the parts stronger and helps them last longer. There are a variety of materials that can be used in the electroplating process, but one of the most common is zinc-nickel plating.
In order to electroplate any material, the part that needs to be plated gets dipped into a special bath filled with electrolytes and certain salts. The piece gets put into the bath and a mild electrical charge is run through it. The charge turns the workpiece into a negative electrode. The positive electrode is a block of the coating material, in this case, a zinc-nickel alloy. When the electricity is turned on, the workpiece will attract molecules of the plating material and those molecules will coat the workpiece, plating it with a very thin layer of material. There are a lot of reasons to use electroplating on any workpiece.
One big reason is that it can be used as corrosion protection. Instead of corroding the metal underneath the tool or the part, the plating gets affected first. That gives the part a longer lifespan in general. Using an alloy for electroplating is another way to help with corrosion protection. For example, using just zinc on its own will give protection to the piece, but when nickel gets added into the process, then that protection is strengthened.
Another reason to use electroplating is that it is good for wear resistance. A zinc-nickel finish leaves a nice smooth surface. This is good for wear resistance because little bumps, dips, and imperfections will cause things to rub unevenly, causing more wear to the piece and to the machine, whatever that is. But, a smooth surface without any imperfections will glide smoother and just work better in general. It will last longer and be more effective over the long run. In a tool that is going to get a lot of use, that can be really important as well, especially in a hand tool. A smooth surface is going to be easier for the end user to use because it isn't going to be uncomfortable in the hand.
Electroplating has a lot of uses, including using chrome to make pieces look more attractive. But, it also has a lot of practical uses. There are all kinds of materials that can be used in the electroplating process, and a zinc-nickel alloy is just one of them.