Eliminating Cyanide from Your Copper Plating Process

There are a variety of copper plating technologies. These include acid copper, electroless copper, alkaline non-cyanide copper and alkaline cyanide copper. With the EPA’s Common Sense Initiative, plating facilities are moving away from the cyanide copper processes.

The Common Sense Initiative impacts the automotive, iron and steel, computers and electronics, printing, petroleum refining and metal finishing industries. Its objective is to reduce or prevent pollution and the plan assigned a high priority to reducing or eliminating emissions of hexavalent chrome, chlorinated solvents, cadmium and cyanide.

An alternative to cyanide copper plating, growing in popularity, is alkaline non-cyanide copper. Used for both strike and plate applications, alkaline non-cyanide copper will
deposit on a variety of substrates while providing a smooth, fine grained, ductile and non-porous deposition.

Traditionally, copper cyanide has been perceived as faster to deposit, modern methods have allowed alkaline non-cyanide copper to use higher current densities, which have greatly reduced the difference in processing time.

Some of the benefits of a non-cyanide copper include:

  • Very good throwing power
  • No required periodic dumping & recharging
  • No carbonate issues
  • Lower sludge generation
  • Easily installed
  • One bath may replace both strike and plate
  • Eliminates dangers associated with cyanide
  • Lower OSHA safety concerns
  • Lower waste treatment cost

Asterion offers a full line of both cyanide and non-cyanide copper to our clients.