Methods and Tooling Design Considerations for Rack Plating
Recognize your unique metal finishing requirements and criteria and reconcile them with the right processes.
Metal finishing is a highly diverse industry that serves the needs of myriad other industries. Although there is always common ground, every industry has its own unique set of needs and criteria for metal finishing. The conscientious metal finisher must be able to recognize these requirements, and reconcile them with the nuances of plating methods and processes.
When quoting a prospective job, some of the key factors to consider are:
• Part geometry
• End use
• Base material
• Part volume (EAU)
• Type of process (electroless, electrolytic, immersion only, etc.)
There is one critical aspect that unites all of the above points: Tooling is one of the most important inputs when we begin to put together a metal finishing solution. Oftentimes, a tooling charge may be incorporated into a quote as an effort to optimize the process at the onset of the job. In the context of metal finishing, tooling is the broad category of hardware required to apply the finish to the part. Tankage, bussing, power supplies, HVAC, plating barrels, plating racks, masking, agitation equipment and material handling equipment can all fall under the umbrella of tooling. Rack plating is a particular area of concern with respect to tooling. Designing an effective plating rack often consumes a large amount of engineering bandwidth during the development of a new job.