In general, the performance of a plating or electropolishing line will be lower than theoretically predicted, since its components will show a non-ideal behaviour from several points of view. This includes for example:
- variations in contact resistance values in the electrical circuit for parts and / or counter electrodes;
- occurrence of a ripple in the current signal as delivered by the rectifiers;
- insufficient electrolyte refreshment in the tanks.
Also the anode configuration in the tanks and their condition will have an impact on the plating or electropolishing performance. The condition of soluble anodes can be compromised by sludge formation (in case of copper balls or nickel pellets in a Ti basket) or by shape deformation (in case solid anode slabs are used), whereas dimensionally stable anodes can suffer from passivation or degeneration of the active layer. For conveyer or reel-to-reel type plating lines, the trajectory of the part, foil or rack through the tanks might be a source of problems.
Over the years Elsyca has built an extensive knowledge for trouble shooting the problems that are at the root of poor performing plating or electropolishing lines. This is addressed in following stages:
- an on-site audit of the plating or electropolishing line is organised, whereby Elsyca will gather all required information from the plating manager and operators.
- Elsyca will identify the key problems based on in-house experience, and illustrated by computer simulations where necessary.
- recommendations for overcoming the problems.
A diagnostics & remedy project can also involve a characterization of the baths being used in the plating or electropolishing tanks.
If the plating or electropolishing line employs fixture or rack systems with on-board dedicated tooling, then the trouble shooting will include these aspects.