Increasing Bath Life and Quality of Trivalent Passivates on Zinc Plate

As published in Products Finishing Magazine, April 2019 issue. Q: What is the best way to increase the bath life and quality of trivalent passivates on zinc plate? A: One of the more significant developments of the last 20 years in the metal finishing industry is the commercial development and application of trivalent passivates on zinc electroplate. These developments have allowed applicators to eliminate the use of toxic hexavalent-chromate conversion coatings, thereby safeguarding the health of all involved in the handling and processing of zinc-plated parts. Further, these trivalent … [Read more...]

Asterion “Safety First” Training

As part of the company’s core values to provide safety tools and training to employees, Asterion is committed to conducting American Heart Association (AHA) safety training on a regular basis. The OSHA-compliant training provides critical skills required to respond to and manage an emergency until emergency medical services arrives. Skills covered include first aid, choking relief, and what to do for sudden cardiac arrest. Upon successful completion of the comprehensive course, all participants are certified for two years. As part of the training and our emergency action plan, … [Read more...]

Cleaning Cycle Optimization

Should we be content with letting cleaning baths get contaminated with oils and soils? We can just dump and make up a fresh bath, right? You could go that route, but beware; without proper cleaning blisters, poor adhesion, pitting, peeling, and flaking may start to rear their ugly heads before a fresh bath can be made. There is a better answer. What would happen if agitation and filtration systems were added to a cleaner? The filters remove bulk soils and particulates as they are being introduced to the bath. An agitation system mechanically sweeps particulate matter away from the … [Read more...]

Will 2019 Be Smooth Sailing?

Part of my job is to anticipate the future and like the captain of the ship, steer a course that avoids turbulence as much as possible. Unfortunately, in business there are few adages such as “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; Red sky at morning, sailor take warning”. As a result, organizational leaders must keep a watchful eye to spot those trends which affect their industry. One of the benefits of travel, whether by air or car, is the isolation which allows the mind to freely flow. Occasionally, these episodes provide an opportunity for reflection. On a recent journey, I noticed six … [Read more...]

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...]