Electroplating - Plant Tour pt.6
One of the most important keys to consistently successful electroplating is controlling the chemistries of the baths. At ProPlate®, we are currently managing 690 chemical parameters. By "controlling" we mean that we have established upper and lower control limits for these values and we regularly sample and test the baths to ensure that the current value for each of these parameters is between the control limits. The baths are in a constant state of change. Operating a bath results in the depletion of some of the constituents, the introduction of contaminating byproducts of the electroplating reaction, and the transformation of other components from one chemical state to another. This is all happening continuously and needs to be continuously monitored and adjusted.
|In the "old days" one would simply electroplate until the "quality" inspectors would announce that problems were developing. Blisters, or plating voids, or incorrect thickness, or poor visual appearance or any one of numerous other defects would appear with increasing frequency. Then the chemists were dispatched to troubleshoot and repair the chemistry. In the mean time, the electroplating technicians would either be stripping poor electrodeposits off customers' parts or waiting for the chemist to repair the baths. Either way, the clock was running without revenue output and the cost of business was rising, ultimately to be passed on to the customer. Defect rates of 15-20% of production were not uncommon in this industry 10 years ago.|