Increase Productivity to Maximize Profitability

It is easy to become complacent as we run our businesses. As many say, “We get stuck inside our comfort zone." To stay competitive, metal finishing operations must continually search for ways to improve their productivity to maximize profits. Acid Zinc Chloride Plating Solutions Many finishing companies operate acid zinc chloride (often called chloride zinc) plating solutions due to the faster plating speed achieved and the ability to plate directly on hardened steel. Yes, alkaline zinc offers you distinct advantages like excellent plate distribution as seen in the old, high cyanide bearing … [Read more...]

Rust Preventative Basics

There are three general types of rust preventative products most commonly used in the marketplace today. Each have their advantages and disadvantages for use. This rundown of rust preventative basics provides some descriptions of each products and why one may be better for you to use than another. When choosing a rust preventative, keep in mind the corrosion protection required, equipment available for applying the product, drying capabilities, long term use of product, post processes, and the R.P. film characteristics. Traditional Petroleum-Based Rust Preventative These types contain a … [Read more...]

Eliminating Cyanide from Your Copper Plating Process

There are a variety of copper plating technologies. These include acid copper, electroless copper, alkaline non-cyanide copper and alkaline cyanide copper. With the EPA’s Common Sense Initiative, plating facilities are moving away from the cyanide copper processes. The Common Sense Initiative impacts the automotive, iron and steel, computers and electronics, printing, petroleum refining and metal finishing industries. Its objective is to reduce or prevent pollution and the plan assigned a high priority to reducing or eliminating emissions of hexavalent chrome, chlorinated solvents, cadmium … [Read more...]

Hard Chrome Plating

The process of hard chrome plating has been used since the early part of the 20th century. It is a process that is used in nearly every aspect of manufacturing where wear resistance and lubricity are critical.  Typically coating thickness deposited are between 8 to 250 mm (0.00032”-.0098”) and hardness between 800-1000HV. High hardness and resistance to abrasion are retained unchanged up to 200oC. Early processes were standard chromic acid and sulfate processes.  The late 1940’s gave to processes that used anions such as fluoride to improve plating rates and finish quality. Evolutions in the … [Read more...]

Bury the Dog Bone

There has been a push in the plating industry to electroplate a given metal at a faster pace to ramp up production rates.  Unless you are willing to construct enormous plating lines, the only way to speed up plating production is to plate faster. Plating faster means plating at higher amps per square foot (asf). Seems to be a simple a simple task, but there are obstacles that need to be considered. One issue, and probably the most significant is the “dog bone effect”.  When plating occurs at higher ASF and plating times are compressed, larger amounts of metal are deposited in the high … [Read more...]

Zinc Plating

Years ago zinc plating was used for corrosion protection and was mainly applied using a cyanide based process.  The process of plating zinc from an Acid Bath brought with it brighter deposit and Zinc Plating became a cosmetic finish as well as corrosion protective finish.  In recent years the process of plating Zinc from an Alkaline Non Cyanide solution has been perfected.  Today nearly all Zinc is plated from either the Acid Zinc or the Alkaline Non Cyanide processes. Each process has its positive and negative points.  Acid Zinc produces a bright, level, Chrome like finish.  The Alkaline … [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...]

What are you putting in your tank?

Have you ever heard the expression “the devil is in the details”? How many times do we think we have covered everything only to find out that some of the basic things get overlooked? One of the details that I find frequently overlooked is accounting for ALL components that make up a process tank. Standard Components in a Watt's Nickel Plating Bath For example, let’s take a look at a standard Watt’s nickel plating bath. The components that are commonly tested for are nickel metal, nickel sulfate, nickel chloride, boric acid, surface tension, carrier concentration, pH, and secondary … [Read more...]

Conitinuous Learning in the Plating Industry

With more than 20 years in the plating industry I was surprised by how many insights and new pieces of information I picked up at the recent CEF course sponsored by Asterion in Indianapolis, IN. Here are just two of the applications regarding fixtures  which were new to me.  As I have talked with  other industry "old timers" this was new information for them as well. I thought I'd share them and encourage you to attend the next CEF course sponsored by Asterion next year, you just might learn something to save your shop thousands of dollars. Barrel design:  Traditionally it has been … [Read more...]

Routine Maintenance in the Finishing Shop

Years ago on there was a television ad for a car repair shop that encouraged people to change their oil and brakes as well as maintain their fluids in the car. The tagline was simple: “Pay me now or pay me later.” Unfortunately in a metal finishing shop the same statement is true. Equipment maintenance in a metal finishing shop is often considered nothing more than an inconvenient hassle at the bottom of every plant manager’s "To-Do" list. However, with a little bit of proper care and some attention to planning, equipment can operate for longer periods of time without failure and dreaded … [Read more...]