Tips for Maintaining Your Process Line

If you are like most platers, you have a laundry list of things that need to be accomplished around your shop. Realistically, you don’t have enough time to do it yourself. However, if you were to divvy these jobs up, it would substantially assist in ensuring your shop is running at optimum performance. With this in mind, I offer you the following checklist that will assist in completing the tasks at hand. The list should include those responsible for completing each individual item, as well as the frequency for the task to be completed. Most importantly, posting the list in a common area, … [Read more...]

Separate and Different Cleaning Baths Bring Best Results

“Why can’t I use the same bath for both soak cleaning and electrocleaning?” is a question that is often asked, but rarely addressed with one definitive answer. To do so, would be putting your plating line in peril. Sure, sometimes you can employ the same bath for both, but this is seldom an acceptable answer. Other times you can use the same chemistry, but in different concentrations in separate tanks. However, most often dedicated tanks with different soak cleaner and electrocleaner chemistries are required. Here’s why… The soak cleaner’s job is to remove excess oils and … [Read more...]

Alkaline Zinc: Ensuring a Bright Solution without Sacrifice

If I was asked to make a customer wish list, “get my alkaline zinc bath brighter,” would most definitely be near the top of that list. This request would be followed by the comment, “And…while you’re at it, make sure that my bath: …does not sacrifice efficiency and throughput, and; …continues to maintain consistent metal distribution over a range of current densities” Making an alkaline zinc bath brighter seems straight forward enough.  Just add more brightener and you’re all set.  Right? If it were only that simple.  In reality, brightener additions are more often than not … [Read more...]

Removing Sand Residue from Casted Parts: Cleaner Selection Is Critical

Surface finishers are continually challenged with selecting the right cleaners to remove sand residue on casted parts. The main reason for this is that sand --- typically a silicon-based compound--- is insoluble in water, which causes the detergency of the cleaners to be lost. Detergency is what allows the cleaners to pull soils into the solution and remove them from the part’s surface. The sand (or silicon) itself does not affect the detergency of the cleaner; it simply isn’t acted upon by it. With sand residue, good solution movement is critical, as you must rely on mechanical forces to … [Read more...]

Carbonates in the Plating Bath

If you have an alkaline plating bath, then you are likely familiar with carbonates. Those of you who still have or have had cyanide plating baths are all too familiar with carbonates. In this article, we will discuss what a carbonate is, how it is formed in a plating solution, and what it does to the plating bath. We will also visit a couple of ways of dealing with these when they get too high. What Is a Carbonate? First things first, what is a carbonate? A carbonate is a salt of the anion CO32-. That’s all well and good for those of us who stayed awake in chemistry, but for the rest of us, … [Read more...]

Water and the Plating Process: Part 3

As we have discussed in part 1 and part 2 of this series, water is very important to the plating process. As an astute reader will recall, we are discussing how different types of water will affect the plating process. This week, we will wrap up the discussion with Purified Water. Purified Water Purified water, such as RO or DI water, will contain few to zero ions. Thus, it is very different from soft or hard water in how it relates to cleaner baths. Since there is a dearth of stuff in solution, purified water will not inhibit saponification. Purified water will also not increase the amount … [Read more...]

Water and the Plating Process : Part 2

In the first part of this three-part series, we discussed water and the integral part it plays in the plating process. We are talking about how the different types of water impact the plating process in different ways. In this post, we will talk about soft water and how it affects different process tanks. Soft Water Soft water, much like hard water, contains cations. However, these cations are different from hard water cations. Soft water typically contains Na+ (Sodium) and K+ (Potassium) rather than Ca2+ (Calcium) and Mg2+ (Magnesium). Let’s take a look at how these different cations affect … [Read more...]

Water and the Plating Process: Part 1

It may seem fairly obvious to most readers, but water plays an integral role in the plating process. Whether it’s the rinse tanks, or the process tanks, water is in every bath. It may come as no surprise to you that the different types of water will interact with the plating process in different ways. In this series of blog posts, we will delve into each type of water and how it interacts with the process, starting with hard water. Hard Water As you may recall, hard water is characterized by its mineral content. These minerals, typically calcium and magnesium, can cause several issues. Let’s … [Read more...]

Choosing The Right Akalinity Builder

There was a time when anyone working with soiled base metals could easily clean any surface. Over the past 60 years regulations discouraging or preventing the use of solvent degreasing/cleaning and cyanide-based processes has forced metal finisher to find alternatives for properly cleaning the base metals they need to process. No one disputes that a good clean surface is an absolute prerequisite for proper metal finishing. The old adage “nothing sticks until it is clean” has never been truer for metal finishers. Today, Alkaline cleaning is the primary method used on base metals prior to … [Read more...]

Bright Nickel Chrome Plating

Nickel is plated for many reasons. The appearance can be altered by modifying the nickel deposit itself or the thin chrome coating over it to produce bright, satin, or dark finishes. First and foremost, we tend to think of nickel as a bright finish. Nickel provides a decorative appearance due to its ability to cover imperfections in the basis metal (leveling). Nickel deposits can be made brilliant and when covered by a thin layer of decorative chromium, will maintain its brilliance even under severe conditions. Satin Nickel Satin nickel under bright or dark chromium offers a wide range of … [Read more...]