Plating Fundamentals: Clean Your Parts

In plating, there is one very simple secret for plating good parts: Be sure you have clean parts. It’s not groundbreaking and won’t break your process. Much like when you wash dishes at home, we soak and “scrub” parts in our plating process. You’ll also use different types of cleaners depending on the soils you are trying to remove

Most common cleaners are one of two types: “soak” cleaners or “electro” cleaners. Soak cleaners work simply by reacting with soil as parts are dipped in them. Electro cleaners use electricity to create a reaction that separates soil from your parts. While most finishing lines use both soak and electro cleaning, the cycle times and cleaner concentrations are often varied based on specific soils and substrates.

All cleaners become more or less effective based on time, temperature and concentration, regardless of their manufacturer. Many of our clients have had great success simply by using daily measurements to monitor their cleaners and make sure that the cleaners they use are operating in the ranges they have identified as optimal. The amount of cleaning you let your solutions do can be set by your engineers and is adjustable based on the variable mentioned earlier.

The Pretreatment Cycle

At Asterion, we believe in a three step process to make sure the pretreatment cycle is working. First, we work with our clients to pick the right cleaners. We offer more than 200 varieties of cleaners and often plating can be dramatically improved by getting the right cleaner based on the soils our clients are fighting.

Second, we help our clients identify ways to reduce the soils introduced into their plating line. Often this requires us to help study the entire production process with our clients. Finally, we help our clients design a testing regimen that will include procedures and timing to make sure we are using the right cleaners, in the right parameters as often as possible.

As any plater will tell you, once you have the right cleaner and eliminate as much soil as you can, making sure to control the cleaner is the simplest way to plate as many good parts as possible. All it takes is monitoring your specific cleaning needs, adjusting your cleaner time or concentration to achieve the optimal cleaning results, and sticking with standardized processes.