Sandvik Surface Technology in Benton Harbor, MI says it has developed a new, environmentally friendly process for precoating metal strips that combines an advanced vaccum process with nanotechnology.
As a result, Sandvik says it is now possible to offer strip steel with consistent coating layers measuring down to 20 nanometers, allowing intricate forming of pre-coated strip without risk of flaking. They say it means that electronic components can be optimally designed, thus enabling producers to reduce production cost and take advantage of an economical, reliable and repeatable process.
Close controls of Sandvik’s Santronic production process can lead to uniform and fully covering layers, free from ‘dogbone’ effects. As a result, the company says that productivity can be optimized during stamping operations thanks to very low thickness variation of max ±10%, compared with up to ±50% for electroplated materials.
Coiled strip is delivered with thin coating and excellent adhesion between the base material and the surface layer, which increases product performance through high surface conductivity, corrosion protection and wear resistance. This new technology uses a roll-to-roll process where single or multiple layer coatings can be applied to one or both sides of the strip.
Sandvik Santronic combines high-purity thin coated layers of Nickel (Ni), Tin (Sn), Silver (Ag) and/or Copper (Cu). These coatings offer improved electrical, corrosion and soldering properties along with the excellent processing properties and technical benefits of stainless steel strip, such as improved relaxation properties, reduced thickness due to higher stiffness. Santronic is available in thicknesses from 0.04 to 0.8mm and in widths up to 370mm, from base materials included in Sandvik Material Technology large range of stainless steel grades.
With this pre-coated material, Sandvik says the finished parts can be made directly in the stamping operation. There is no need for packaging, QA, transportation, receiving of incoming goods or sorting and controls. Consequently, the through-put time will be shorter and the productivity will be higher. As Santronic can be coated with a very thin coating, it will result in less wear of forming and blanking tools. Less wear means less cost.
Compared with coating techniques relying on dirty processes using acid solutions (like electroplating), Sandvik’s Santronic removes waste issues and handling to represent an effective and sustainable material. Moreover, the coating stability of this solution improves production yields and green practices, as it doesn’t require any wet operations during the cleaning treatment of the surface layer.
As a 100% recyclable material, Sandvik’s Santronic represents a true way to strengthen eco-friendly product lifecycle management, while providing a concrete response to current green trends and a unique solution to be ahead of regulations, a truly cost-effective “green” choice. In the same way, Santronic can provide significant weight reduction by replacement of most common used materials due to lower density (7.85 g/cm³).
Sandvik’s Santronic results in coiled strip delivered with thin coating and excellent adhesion between the base material and the surface layer, which increases product performance through high surface conductivity, corrosion protection and wear resistance.