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...]

What Is “Burning” from a Plating Bath?

We've all seen it. That crispy, flaky, nodular, usually dark deposit on the high current density extremes (edges, etc.). Usually, turning down the current is the reaction done immediately to try and remedy the problem. But exactly why does burning occur? An understanding of the mechanisms involved with the formation of a burn can better help a plater to avoid this nasty problem. Going back to high school chemistry (if you can remember that far back), you may have seen demonstrated the two electrodes from a battery, generator, or rectifier placed in a beaker of water. You will see gassing at … [Read more...]

How is Asterion handling GHS?

Asterion has completed the conversion from the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) to the GHS compliant Safety Data Sheet (SDS). We are currently distributing the SDS to customers. A SDS was sent for any products purchased after January 1, 2014. This time frame was based on the standard expiration, of one year, for Asterion products. Those that have requested the SDS in hard copy format, they were mailed on April 24. Those that requested the e-mail format, should have received those SDS between April 23 and April 28. Asterion has made the conversion to the use of the new label format. You … [Read more...]

How Does GHS Affect Me?

This article is the second in a three part series on hazard standards and labeling. Read the first article on GHS here. Now that we have defined GHS (Globally Harmonized System) , its purpose and the changes to the hazard communication system,  let's discuss how it will affect you. The requirements of the global harmonization system will affect everyone from the manufacturer to the end user. In this post we will discuss the regulatory timeline and the basic requirements. If you need additional information we encourage you to access OSHA’s webpage for full text of the regulation and letters … [Read more...]

Hazard Communication: What is GHS?

This article is the first in a three part series on Hazard Communication and chemical safety. What is GHS? In the most basic of terms, GHS is the revised Hazard Communication program adopted by the occupation safety and health administration (OSHA). More specifically, GHS is an acronym for Globally Harmonized System of classification and labeling of chemicals. OSHA explains, "This is a system for standardizing and harmonizing the classification and labeling of chemicals." Purpose OSHA explains GHS has three main purposes: defining health, physical and environmental hazards of chemicals, … [Read more...]

The Basics of Electroplating

Even though many people refer to plating as an “art”, there is no doubt that sound scientific principles and practices are critical to successful plating finishes. The basics of electroplating start with an understanding of the metallurgical properties of the substrates to be plated. This is crucial because the most important process in plating is the pre-treatment of the substrate. The choice of cleaning chemistry is dictated by the alloy of the metal as well as the soils to be removed. Soils such as oils, paraffins, and buffing compounds are normally encountered in the plating process, … [Read more...]

Functional Zinc Plating

 Electrodeposited zinc is used for coating iron and steel parts when protection from the corrosive effects of the atmosphere is the primary goal.  Zinc however by itself, while offering sacrificial corrosion protection based upon its larger negative electro-potential than iron, is not used without subsequent treatment. Electroplated zinc becomes dull gray after exposure to air, so that bright zinc is give a subsequent post treatment in a conversion coating which most often contains either hexavalent or trivalent chrome.  Non-chrome bearing conversion coatings have also been … [Read more...]

Tips to Overcome the Confusion and Trials of “Tribal Knowledge”

"Tribal knowledge" is any unwritten information that is not commonly known by others within a company. This term is used most when referencing information that may need to be known by others in order to produce a quality product or service.  I have been hearing this term a lot lately, I found out it may have been made popular by Six Sigma training.  In the metal finishing industry, we are faced with a lot of turnover, death, extinction/rebirth of plating machines, employment position eliminations, and new workers into the workforce.  Along with these challenges, the "basics" of metal finishing … [Read more...]