In order to remain competitive and increase profits, Plating Technology decided to reduce labor, scrap and material use at its two Ohio facilities; one in Columbus and the other in Dayton. The facilities plate steel parts that require enhanced corrosion protection. It also performs aluminum anodizing and hard coating.
The company's first step was a large investment in new finishing methods and processes that offered improved products and helped it comply with a number of regulatory requirements. Fortunately, this investment led to customer growth.
The company continues to grow with its customer base. Because it has two plants with similar finishing capabilities, it has a great deal of flexibility in meeting quality and delivery requirements. The two facilities provide acid and alkaline zinc plating, acid zinc-cobalt, acid tin-zinc, nickel, electroless nickel, tin, alkaline zinc nickel as well as the aluminum finishes mentioned previously.
Plating is done for a variety of industries, including automotive, glass, fastener, food service, construction, hardware, electrical and appliance manufacturers.
Henry Berger, director of engineering, summarized the company's philosophy, "Plating Technology has a reputation for providing quality electroplated and anodized products, along with timely delivery to its customers. All of the products and processes are strictly controlled and can be audited. We take a proactive position in keeping up-to-date with the latest improvements in the industry and formally educating customers to the advantages of the most recently developed technologies."
All plating baths have amp/hr meters and chemical feed pumps for automatic chemical additions. The baths are chemically analyzed on a timed schedule, with all data, including the amount added by the feed pump, entered into a computer for statistical analysis.
Similarly, quality control test instruments have helped the company save on rework and scrap. Quality control test instruments were purchased for each of the facilities. Each has two XRX x-ray fluorescence coating/plating thickness measuring systems from CMI International.
Lab personnel use them, but the systems are primarily used by machine operators during production. The thickness testing systems print out statistical data that travel with the parts through the production process.
Lab personnel use salt spray testing for ASTM B 117 corrosion tests. About 50 pct of the company's customers request this. The completely equipped laboratory has the capability for titration, Hull cell testing, pilot lines to duplicate plating processes and an atomic absorption spectrophotometer for checking the alloy content of several mixed metal co-deposits. As a service to its fastener customers, Plating Technology performs hydrogen embrittlement testing. The labs are also General Motors GP-10 certified.
The Dayton facility also has three EMX eddy current/magnetic induction coating thickness test instruments. The Columbus facility has one. These instruments are positioned on the manufacturing floor, central to machine operators. They also produce data that travel with the parts through production.
The x-ray units provide thickness and alloy analysis of zinc-nickel co-deposits over the entire part, even areas that would seem to be inaccessible.
The testing instruments have helped cut down on scrap and rework at Plating Technology. This, in addition to new plating technologies and attention to detail, has helped increase the customer base while lowering overall costs by 25 pct.