Nesting Problem in Barrel Plating
Q. We continually have problems with the nesting of small parts in our barrel plating lines. As a result, we must carefully inspect each lot of finished parts. This adds additional costs to our process. Do you have any suggestions for reducing or eliminating this problem? B. J.
A. Sad to say that this problem is as old as the process of barrel plating itself. I might add that the solutions to this problem are equally old. There are a number of things that you can do to reduce this nesting problem:
- Reduce the rotation speed of the barrel.
- Reduce the size of the barrel load.
- Mix different size parts in the same barrel load. A variant of this is to add inert media to the barrel. The inert media can be purchased commercially. Search PF ONLINE (www.pfonline.com) using the term “barrel plating
media” and you will get the names of a number of vendors.
- Redesign the shape of the part. This requires a lot more effort but may be well worth it.
- Switch to rack plating. Sometimes this makes sense if you factor in the cost of inspection, stripping and replating.
Vibratory plating offers another possible solution. This process works particularly well with small parts. In essence, a vibrating basket is used for plating of the parts. You can find more information on the process as well as vendor information by searching www.pfonline.com and doing a Google search on the term vibratory plating.
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