Why Zinc & Why Plateco?
Zinc: The ultimate plating material.
Unlike many other finishing companies, Plateco does not offer chrome plating, copper plating, iron phosphate plating, or any other plating services except for zinc plating. These other finishers tend to dabble in multiple metal plating services that they can do fairly well, but we here at Plateco are not satisfied with “fairly well.” We do not dabble and settle for “fairly well” or “sufficient.” We strive for perfection by pouring all of our focus, our energy, and our passion in being the top experts in just one service—zinc.
Zinc plating is a ductile, functional, and even decorative coating deposited on the surface of steel to improve corrosion resistance. There are three possible layers applied to steel to achieve a desired corrosion resistance, the first layer being zinc, the second a trivalent passivate, and the third a wax or sealer. While zinc protects the base steel from red corrosion, the outer passivate and sealer protects the zinc from white corrosion. While white corrosion may seem like product failing, in the eyes of a finisher, this is actually a good thing. White corrosion means the zinc is doing its job, corroding and sacrificing itself for the steel underneath. Once the zinc is fully corroded, this is when red corrosion will start to occur as iron/steel corrodes red.
As you can see, zinc is a complex coating that requires precise controls, unflinching focus, a dedication to quality, and a passion for the process. With three zinc plating processes (rack electroplating, barrel electroplating, and mechanical galvanizing), we at Plateco pride ourselves on our combination of zinc plating technology, painstaking planning, meticulous quality systems, passionate customer care, and expertise.
They don’t call us Plating Perfectionists for nothing.
“Measure twice, cut once.” “Do it right the first time.” “Precision is in the details.”
While the above statements may be cliché, they are the embodiment of how Plateco operates. We have an entire Engineering Planning Department that is dedicated to plating your part to your exact specification every single time. When we receive a first time run of a new part, our Engineering Planning Department takes hundreds of factors into account to determine how to give you the quality and functionality you desire. Merely a fraction of the questions our engineers need to answer include:
Which of our seven plating lines would supply the best quality?
Which of our over 80 sets of tooling will give the best zinc coverage over the entirety of the part?
What is the proper surface area per rack/barrel to ensure enough electricity for proper zinc coverage?
Is there anything specific to this part that would cause a quality issue? How do we mitigate this?
Will this part require extra cleaning?
Does this customer have any specific quality requirements?
The list goes on and on . . . and on.
After our engineers have all of these questions answered, they then create a work order dedicated to that specific part with detailed instructions for our production operators to know exactly how to process these parts every time we receive them. Think of our work orders as a baking recipe—each and every step is crucial in ensuring quality zinc plated product. Any question that our operators could possibly have would be answered on these work orders. This detailed recipe allows us to offer our customers consistent quality and consistent lead times.
Meticulous Quality Systems
We also understand the importance of keeping meticulous controls on all aspects of our plating process and have dedicated a lab department for just this. The Plateco Lab Department is composed of three key individuals whose entire responsibility is monitoring temperature, pH, and various chemicals within our plating baths and ensuring they are within specific Plateco parameters.
While Plateco always strives for perfection, we also know that no one is perfect all of the time, which is why our quality team leads a continual improvement meeting with all department heads every day at 9 A.M. to review every product rejected from the day prior. Together, our management team conducts an informal root cause analysis and corrective action on why the reject occurred and how to stop it from occurring in the future. This meeting does not end until the reject is understood and we have a game plan moving forward. The continual improvement meeting is also held in the open on our production floor for all to see; we embrace mistakes as they are the only way to learn and come closer to perfection.
Due to our rigorous Engineering Planning Department, we are able to get you an accurate quote within 24 to 48 hours of receiving a request with a print or drawing. To submit an RFQ, click here, and we would be more than happy to create an estimate for you.
Here’s a little secret that many zinc plating companies may not understand: a critical key to exceptional zinc plating is exceptional cleaning.
In simple terms, zinc electroplating works because the iron in the surface of steel allows for zinc adhesion, so if the surface is covered with contaminants that do not have iron, zinc will not adhere properly. Many such contaminants are deposited during the manufacturing process such as weld flux, heat treat scale, oil, etc. While it is essential that these contaminants be removed prior to plating to ensure for quality product, these contaminants are notoriously difficult to remove because they are baked into the product’s surface.
It’s a good thing Plateco loves a challenge! We have unprecedented capabilities when it comes to cleaning electroplated and mechanically plated product that we spent years developing. Within our cleaning process, we have a total of seven cleaning stages including heated soaps, acids, and even some cleaning stages proprietary to Plateco. We also have a proprietary process that allows us to do all of our cleaning directly in our fully automated production lines—no precleaning necessary. No precleaning means that this efficiency allows us to give you a better lead time and a better price.
Here are a couple “Before” and “After” photos demonstrating our incomparable cleaning capabilities:
We take pride in the quality of our cleaning and plating processes, and our goal is for our customers to take pride in their finished product as well. We do this by ensuring that the appearance and functionality of our zinc plating surpass customer expectations on all fronts. We would love the opportunity to demonstrate our capabilities—send us your most difficult part and let us show you the level of quality and service we can provide! Send a Sample