Rack Plateabilty Analysis
A Rack Plateability Analysis (RPA) evaluates the electroplating process (or electropolishing) process of a part program in a configuration and process set-up that is specific to the plating supplier.
The RPA accepts the part design as a given and emulates the plating process of the supplier in its existing configuration (single or multiple plating sequence, assembly of plating tanks, main anodes and parts on the rack, or flight bar with multiple racks, including tooling components such as shields, current robbers and auxiliary/conforming anodes).
In essence, the RPA is a virtual dry run of the plating process and provides information on:
- the total plated metal weight on each single part on the rack for the various plating steps;
- variations of the layer thickness over the part and between different parts;
- surface areas outside layer thickness specifications;
- risk zones for occurrence of layer specific plating defects (hence expected scrap rate);
- overplating and thus potential for metal savings by using additional tooling (e.g. shields).
The results from such analyses will guide the plating manager towards optimum part loads and orientations or indeed, better definition of auxiliary tooling on the rack. The impact of these actions can easily be evaluated with a new simulation, clearly quantifying the return of investment with respect to the fixed costs that are required for upgrading the racks.
Elsyca delivers a detailed report as well as the 3D simulation results files that can be viewed using Elsyca XPlorer.
Elsyca executes RPA's for decorative parts on a daily basis, for example for the chrome plating process of a rack of door handles. Also functional plating and electropolishing applications can benefit from an RPA, as for example the zinc nickel plating process of a rack of brake calipers.
A case study that involves the analysis of different door handle designs on the same rack can be found here.