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...]

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...]

It’s All About Plating

Plating is one of our specialties at Asterion. It's a big deal for our manufacturing clients and is often the most important part of their production process. Are you aware of all the different ways metal can be plated onto different media? There are also many different plating solutions for each unique and custom parts manufacturing job. Here are a few of our favorite posts on various plating methods and outcomes: 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 … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]