Bumpy nickel Plating Revisited



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I received a response from Dayton Dailey of Surtec Int’l Inc. regarding my answer to a question about rough nickel plating. The original question and answer are below, followed by Dayton’s comments. Again, reader comments are always welcome.

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 a 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 when performing high-quality electroplating. I am a big believer in inspection and preventive maintenance as part of your daily procedures. Yes, I know that doing this takes some time away from production and adds some cost to your overall operation. In fact, I hear this quite often from managers of plating operations. But I am sure that a line shutdown because of a failed component is much costlier than spending a bit of time each day doing preventive maintenance and inspection.

Dayton Dailey’s Comments: Your answer to the question of roughness in sulfamate nickel solutions was right on the money. One added thought: Induced magnetism is an often an overlooked problem and can be responsible for roughness, even with the best filtration and maintenance programs. 

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