In most common plating applications the main tank anodes are used as counter electrodes for the plating process. One single rectifier is connected to the main anodes in order to feed the current for plating the part or parts on a rack or jig.
In order to improve the current density distribution, and by consequence the layer thickness distribution over the areas of the parts that need plating, a variety of tooling components can be used. This comprises conforming anodes, current robbers and insulating shields (the latter by extension also including selective waxing or resist painting of surface areas). Tooling design typically is an iterative trial-and-error activity based on past experience and hence a very time consuming and expensive process.
In a first stage Elsyca will assist the customer in the decision on the most suited combination of tooling components to be used. This decision will depend on the specifications that need to be achieved, and on practical considerations. In a next stage Elsyca engineers will design the tooling system up to optimal performance based on a series of iterative computer simulations. This includes the definition of an electrical scheme comprising one or multiple rectifiers for feeding the different anodes groups, and fine tuning of process conditions (process time, current through the different rectifiers, ramp times, …)
The image above shows the tooling components for hard chrome plating of a landing gear part. The tooling system consists of plastic shields, current robbers and auxiliary anodes.
A case study on the design of an auxiliary anode system for decorative chrome plating of a steering wheel insert part can be found here.