The Electroless Nickel Phenomenon

By Doug Trageser In my 30 years of selling in the metal finishing industry, I have seen many changes and improvements to processes that have benefited the companies that sell and apply those processes to finished goods.  The process that I believe has improved the most in that time is the electroless nickel (EN) plating process. Early in my career in the mid 1980’s, a handful of plating shops were applying electroless nickel, but they were few and far between.  The technology was not as well understood then, as there was not nearly as much published literature on the subject as there is … [Read more...]

I Want a “Cheap” Cleaner

I hear a lot of prospects and customers looking for a "cheap" cleaner. To most people, "cheap" means a low price per unit. Consider these questions and statements when asking for or using a "cheap" cleaner: How effective is it? Perhaps a higher priced cleaner could clean at lower temperatures, shorter times, provide a better surface for coating adhesion, appearance, and corrosion protection. How much are you using? Perhaps a higher priced cleaner would reduce overall maintenance additions and rebuilding costs or perform at a lower, safer concentration. How much sludge is … [Read more...]

Dealing with Paraffinic Oil

Metal cleaning and fabricating experts often run into paraffinic material in oils and soil that find their way into our plating line. Often soak and electro cleaners cannot simply remove this type of soil. So it is easy to wonder why parts manufacturers would use this stuff, since it seems like such a problematic material from our point of view. Paraffinic oil can greatly reduce the friction and heat that comes with the forming and drawing of steel. This lowers the amount of wear and tear on the machines and die blocks, keeping the part manufacturer happy. Many types of mineral oils contain … [Read more...]

The Basics of Alkaline Cleaning in the Electroplating Industries

The most important phase of metal working, fabricating and finishing is cleaning.  Alkaline cleaning is the mainstay of industrial cleaning and may employ both physical and chemical actions.  Cleaners are many in number and vary in type and formulation.  Alkaline cleaners are specifically formulated (proprietary) chemical blends which consist of alkaline builder salts, surfactants, sequestering agents, emulsifiers and chelators .  Wetting agents, soaps and synthetic detergents, allow oil to be removed by displacing the oil from the surface of the part being cleaned by creating an emulsion win … [Read more...]

Spray Rinsing

In the industry of metal finishing all of the process steps and control parameters are critical. Naturally most of all of the process steps are scrutinized, tracked, and analyzed, however often times those process steps that may not seem as critical should be not be taken lightly.  One of these often over looked areas is rinsing and what constitutes good and efficient rinsing. The critical nature of rinsing can be measured in many ways such as component quality, process solution contamination or overall line process quality.  The metrics may vary from application to application. Naturally … [Read more...]

The Carbo-Dry Featured on Products Finishing Online

We’re proud to see the Carbo-dry system featured on Products Finishing Online among great companies and systems that make the product finishing industry more efficient and effective. You can read the full article here. Products Finishing Online has been the voice of the finishing industry since 1936. They provide information on the latest in research, white papers, technology and presentations from leading researchers in the finishing industry. … [Read more...]

Winning the War on Filth Part 1

Frustrated yet? I know I am. Over the last few years I have seen an increased number of parts showing up on my clients plating lines with  more soils than ever before.  This list includes stamping and machining oils as well as lubricants, rp's, and coolants. The part that frustrates me is that the soils I am seeing day after day are typically not new synthetics or reformulated petroleum based products. Instead, these are the same products that have been used for years, but now are used in quantities far greater than needed. Since it appears nobody can protect our process lines from the … [Read more...]

Reducing Carbonates Every Day

Every Day, Asterion works to help our clients become more efficient, more productive and, most importantly, more profitable. As part of our efforts, we work with our clients to help them discover better methods to manage and control their plating baths. Over time we have learned quite a bit about the struggles our customers have in managing carbonates in alkaline plating baths. Accumulation of carbonates in alkaline plating baths is a continuous problem and can lead to a number of issues affecting quality and plating efficiency. The primary cause of formation of sodium carbonate is a … [Read more...]

The Power of My Checklist

35 years ago I was a little taller and skinnier with no gray hair and zero experience in the metal finishing world. Like so many other people, I was a little overwhelmed the first days on the job. I learned quickly that I did not know everything; in fact, I was a “plating dummy”. Time after time, I walked into plating shops, discovered a problem and had to call a technician for support. Slowly, after a few hundred incidents I knew what to check and in what order to troubleshoot my client’s problems. I had developed a checklist. Finally, I reached a point where I could honestly say I knew what … [Read more...]

Troubleshooting a Nickel Bath: Zinc Contamination

So it’s happened; someone accidentally added zinc anodes to the nickel bath. What can you do? Well, the easiest and most expensive option is to just dump the bath and make it up fresh. While this is a great way to ensure your sales representative remembers you come Christmas time, it won’t put you on your boss’ good side. Instead, you can opt to either dummy plate or complex the zinc metal out of solution. Dummy Plating Let’s take a look at dummy plating, and I’m not referring to when you have the new guy try to plate some parts. Dummy plating is a process by which we can remove unwanted … [Read more...]