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 200o C. 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. Later evolution in … [Read more...]

Plating Fundamentals: Checklists

Metal finishing operations and managers often overlook the importance of line maintenance. Rapid production demands and ever shifting production schedules lead to conflicts between making repairs and making money. Committing to the required dollars for equipment repair and upgrading is easy to postpone. Plating shops do everything they can to manage their bottom line by controlling short term expenses. Unfortunately, production is often disrupted as a result of avoidable equipment breakdown and failure. When we talk to industry leaders in plating, they point to the importance of discipline … [Read more...]

Plating Fundamentals: Clean Your Parts

In plating, there is one very simple secret for plating good parts: Be sure you have clean parts. It's not groundbreaking and won't break your process. Much like when you wash dishes at home, we soak and “scrub” parts in our plating process. You'll also use different types of cleaners depending on the soils you are trying to remove Most common cleaners are one of two types: “soak” cleaners or "electro" cleaners. Soak cleaners work simply by reacting with soil as parts are dipped in them. Electro cleaners use electricity to create a reaction that separates soil from your parts. While most … [Read more...]

How to Avoid Dark Smudges and Poor Coverage with Trichrome Plating

It's hard to believe that in the last 10 years, advancements are still being made to Trichrome plating. The most recent of those advancements is the liquid Trichrome additive. It is a consistent, wetter package and has a blue coloring to it. Even with these advances Trichrome plating is more finicky than say, a Hex Chrome. These advancements don't come without their own set of issues. The most common are dark smudges and poor coverage.  When you experience one or both of these issues there are a number of possible causes and several proven procedures which will help you resolve the … [Read more...]

Troubleshooting Process Line

It would be wonderful if everything worked smoothly all the time. But there will be times when things don't work exactly as planned. That is when a good troubleshooting process will help you identify the issue quickly and develop a comprehensive resolution plan. When troubleshooting a process line start with the following steps: 1.    Completely determine all of the symptoms of the problem 2.    Review when the problem started. 3.    Production records which include all the tank analysis, temperature and additions. 4.    Compare all the analysis, temperature and additional … [Read more...]

Metal Preparation for Plating

The preparation step of the metal surface of a manufactured part is the most critical process of electroplating. A properly prepared surface provides an adherent surface for subsequent metal deposits. After a part is manufactured that is to be electroplated, the base metal is typically coated with several layers of soils. These soils may include oxides, scale, lubricants, buffing compounds, rust preventatives, phosphates and handling residues. These soils must be removed to activate the base metal. There are several factors that need to be considered when preparing metal for plating. First, … [Read more...]

Why Zinc Plating?

Most people you talk to about zinc electroplating, have very little knowledge of what  that process means, or why you would want to perform it. As you go a little deeper into the explanation of what zinc electroplating entails, they begin to see the picture. Looking at a car, there are many parts that will corrode from exposure to water and salt from the roads. The corrosion leads to part failure if left unchecked. The next question that comes to mind is, how do you protect these parts? Answer: You add a coating on top of the parts to slow down or prevent corrosion. There are a variety of … [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...]

Some Electrical Troubleshooting Notes

When trying to figure out what is causing a particularly stubborn plating problem, and checking out the chemistry seems fine, you know that you sometimes have to check out the electrical area of the process. These are a few things you can do with a VOM (volt-ohm meter). First of all, be sure you have a good VOM that has built in capacitance and not a cheap “battery tester." Checking for AC Ripple from Rectifier If the rectifier has recently dropped a diode or has degraded filter capacitors, it may not be filtering out the unwanted AC current properly. When this happens, the AC ripple is … [Read more...]

Rack or Barrel Electroplating?

Electroplating may be defined as a deposition process where a thin coating of metal is deposited on a surface by passing an electric current through a solution in which the plated part acts as the cathode. The anode is often composed of the metal being deposited. The solution, or plating bath, contains dissolved salts of the metals being deposited. There are two basic types of deposition methods commonly used for electroplating, rack or barrel, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Both are dependent on the parts (being plated) seeing a DC current while in contact with the … [Read more...]