Nickel Stripper Issues and Answers

A customer alerted us to an issue with their acid-based anodic nickel stripper. The issue had been ongoing for at least a couple of months and they had tried many different things to solve the issue. One of the issues was the automatic backwash filtration system had been down for an extended period. It was thought that was the main culprit, based on the appearance of the strip solution showing a great deal of floating solids that would settle to the bottom when there was no circulation. Filtration Fixed, but… The filtration system was fixed, and the customer decided to dump and make … [Read more...]

How to Keep a Plating Bath from Slowing Down

As published in Products Finishing Magazine, April 2018 issue. Alkaline plating baths form carbonates over time, and these carbonates cause the baths to become less efficient, resulting in slower plating speed. Asterion’s Roger Sowinski outlines three options for removing carbonates. Q. Why is the plating time in my alkaline plating baths increasing? How do I fix this problem? A. When it comes to plating, time is money, and nothing is more frustrating than your plating bath slowing to a crawl. The good news is that you can return the plating speed to its original levels; the … [Read more...]

Oil Skimmers Achieve Desired Level of Water Purity

The content of this blog post has been provided courtesy of Abanaki Oil Skimmers. Have you ever heard the old saying, “Oil and Water Don’t Mix?” This is also holds true in metal finishing. The relationship between oil and water in a mixture is well-known and governed by two physical properties: Specific Gravity: Most hydrocarbons have a lower specific gravity than water. Without agitation, oil separates from the water and floats to the surface. These oils are known as LNAPL’s – Light Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid. Oils (and other compounds) that sink in water have a higher specific … [Read more...]

Perfecting your Phosphate Line

Spotty parts. These two words pretty much sum it up when issues arise with your phosphate cleaning line. Incomplete coverage ---or ---no coverage at all is another sign that your phosphate line is negatively impacting your shop’s efficiency and your company’s profitability. There is a cure. Incomplete Coverage - Substrate: Incomplete surface coverage typically indicates adjustments to the pretreatment process may be necessary or that there are variations in substrate manufacturing that need to be addressed. Substrate issues should be reviewed with the supplier to confirm consistent … [Read more...]

Uncovering the Evidence of Poor Air Quality

Poor indoor air quality is more than frustrating. It’s a serious problem that can cause issues ranging from mild eye irritation, to an itchy nose and sore throat, to persistent headaches and fatigue. The prolonged effects of poor air quality and other pollutants are widely documented to cause more severe health concerns impacting respiratory and cardiovascular systems, as well as cancer. Whether sitting at your desk or processing parts on the plating line, ventilation systems abound throughout the ceilings, walls and floors of the workplace. When maintained and audited on a regular basis, … [Read more...]

What’s Suddenly Causing a Cleaner’s Short Bath Life?

As published in Products Finishing Magazine, September 2017 issue. Q. My cleaner is suddenly experiencing a short bath life. Did something change? A. The very short answer is, “yes.” However, exactly what those changes could be is a much more nuanced answer than you might expect. They may be changes in the substrate, the oils used in manufacturing, or in some cases a combination of factors that have impacted the entire process line. Given the numerous possibilities, I recommend reviewing all other variables before assuming that the culprit is the cleaning chemistry itself. Doing so will … [Read more...]

Equipment Purchasing Shouldn’t Be So Perplexing

Are you frustrated with having to spend valuable time researching and sourcing metal finishing equipment? And, when you finally get a vendor to provide a quote, do you get an uneasy feeling of being overcharged? Your vendor should make you feel confident about every equipment purchase you make. Instead of doing most of the talking, they should be listening to your needs while reviewing the following considerations: Equipment Selection: Based on your budgetary and performance criteria, a focus on equipment options that meet your specific applications and productivity objectives should … [Read more...]

Cleaning Leaded Brass

  If you have ever tried plating over leaded brass, you’ve most likely experienced the dreaded lead soap at some point. So, you may be asking… What is Lead Soap? It’s just what you’d expect it to be --- saponified lead. How can you tell if you have lead soap? Telltale signs of lead soap include either cloudiness in the deposit or a dark appearance in one particular current density area. Is Lead Soap Difficult to Clean? You betcha! Metallic soaps are typically difficult to remove from a part’s surface, with lead soap being one of the most stubborn. How is Lead Soap Formed? … [Read more...]

Alkaline Zinc Black Systems Offer Ultimate Performance

The recent introduction of the Asterion® Ultra alkaline zinc systems has placed a spotlight on a truly integrated approach to reducing rejects and increasing productivity. Of special note is the high interest in black trivalent systems that are production-proven to maintain and enhance the appearance of complex part geometries, while not sacrificing corrosion resistance. To address some of the questions (and excitement!), I’ve authored this blog specifically on Ultra black systems, with a special emphasis on passivate and sealant process operations. TECHNIBRITE™ Ultra Zn Before we … [Read more...]

What’s the Best Cleaning Method?

How many times have you asked, “What’s the best cleaning method?” Most likely, more times than you may be willing to readily admit without creating a furrowed brow or other visible sign of discontent. More often than not, you probably received a highly complex response that thrashed around operating parameters, rack or barrel, tank construction, bath make-up …and the list goes on. This same question has been and continues to be posed to Team Asterion on numerous occasions. The good news is that there is a simple answer when water soluble-based oils are used in the manufacturing process. No … [Read more...]