Bumpy Nickel Plating



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Q: We have a problem with bumps and roughness in our nickel sulfamate plating bath. We are convinced that particulate matter in the bath is causing this problem. We bag our anodes and continuously filter the plating solution. What else can we do to eliminate this problem? D. H.


A: Your question did not mention any preventive maintenance program. To start with, do you inspect the anode bags on a regular basis to ensure that the bags are not ripped or torn? A damaged anode bag is worthless in a plating tank.

Do you inspect your filter setup on a regular basis? You could have a leaky seal, leaky gaskets or a damaged filter bag. There may be a defect that allows the plating solution to bypass the filter and carry particulate matter back into the plating bath.
What about your filtration rate? How many turns per hour does your filtering allow? You should have at least two to three turns per hour in order to keep the bath clean.

This is a good example of why preventive maintenance is extremely important if you want to consistently perform high-quality electroplating. I am a big believer in doing inspections and preventive maintenance as part of your daily procedures. Yes, I know that doing this takes some time away from production and does add some cost to your overall operation. In fact, I hear about the cost of maintenance and inspection downtime quite often from managers of plating operations.

However, I am sure that the cost of a line shutdown because of a failed component is much costlier than doing preventive maintenance and inspection. 

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