Q. We are an older shop with severe space limitations. We are forced to plate brass and steel parts on the same nickel plating line. The plating line works well when the cleaners are new but after a short period of time we start to have peeling of the nickel from the steel parts. Any thoughts? L.S.
A. You have a classic problem which is this: You have copper in your cleaning tanks, rinse tanks, acid dip and probably your nickel plating baths. Copper will form an immersion deposit on your steel parts. This immersion deposit does not adhere very well to the steel and as a result you have peeling. The solution is to install separate cleaners and rinse systems for the steel and brass parts.
To get a better handle on what you are dealing with, I would start out by monitoring the amount of copper present in your cleaners and rinse tanks. You may be able to reduce the severity of the immersion deposits by “going in live” to your plating baths. Improving your rinse steps may also be helpful but the bottom line is that you will have to separate the cleaners acid dips and rinses for brass and steel parts.
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Why is it important for you to know this?
Masking is employed in most any metal finishing operation where only a specifically defined area of the surface of a part must be exposed to a process. Conversely, masking may be employed on a surface where treatment is either not required or must be avoided. This article covers the many aspects of masking for metal finishing, including applications, methods and the various types of masking employed.