Keeping Controls Under Control
There are many plating related issues that an uncontrolled zinc plating system can lead to. Each aspect of the plating process is linked to the next, and all of the steps combined result in the final product; proper cleaning and surface preparation free of contaminants lead to superior zinc adhesion; superior zinc adhesion then leads to appropriate passivate adhesion and a shiny and smooth part appearance. If even one portion of this process is not within parameters, this could prove disastrous for your parts, leading to longer lead times and a higher reject rate due to the following:
- Poor zinc adhesion
- Underplated parts
- Discolored areas due to unclean substrate
- Lack of zinc coverage
- Over plated parts
- Dull and poor appearance
- Etching (eating away at the base material)
- Failure in the field
- And more
pH Probes – The level of pH in a tank is vital to all aspects of plating. For example, if pH is too low in the passivate bath, this could strip away portions of the zinc and plating would not meet spec.
Temperature Probes – Each tank is kept within specific temperature parameters. An example of the temperature being too high is that in an acid bath, this could eat away at the base material of product. If the temperature is too low, though, the product does not clean and zinc does not adhere.
Titration Sets – These measure the concentration of various chemicals in our plating baths.
Measure for Tank Contaminants – As the surface preparation of product is just as important as the plating, our acids, soaps, descales, and electro-cleans are monitored daily for contaminants from previous plating and changed regularly. This ensures that future plating is not marred be previous cleaning.
Salt Spray Tests – On a monthly basis, the Plateco Lab Department, processes a salt spray panel on each of our production lines in each of our passivates. We then conduct a salt spray tests to ensure that our processes and your parts are continuously meeting specification.
Tank Depletion – As racks or barrels go through each tank, some material is used. If this is not carefully monitored and re-stocked, then racks at the end of the day will not have the same quality as the beginning of the day.
These are just a few of the controls that the Plateco Lab Department monitors on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. We call ourselves Plating Perfectionists and we take that title very seriously by controlling every aspect of our process. By ensuring the quality of our processes, we ensure the quality of your parts.
You should demand that your plater meticulously monitor the make-up, time, and temperature, of their plating baths, and hold them accountable. Even if we are not your plater, you should hold your zinc plater to the same high standards that we at Plateco hold ourselves. According to Plateco Quality Supervisor Cody Powell – “Control means Accountability, and Accountability means Quality.”