Q. How can I determine the cost of deposition of zinc over a base material for a quote? —M.L.
A. You need to figure out the cost of depositing a unit layer of zinc over a base material.
This requires some effort, but should reward you with better pricing of your work. There are a number of parameters to nail down in order to do this, including but not limited to the costs of chemicals, electricity, labor and overhead (heating, water, lease payments, etc.).
Beyond these basics, you need to know the efficiency of your plating bath. Certain baths are close to 100 percent efficient while others (such as classic chrome plating baths) are only 12- to 14-percent efficient.
Having determined these facts, you can then do some calculations that will tell you how much it costs to deposit a given thickness of metal on a specific area, such as a square foot or inch. Once you have this information, the next step is determining the surface area of the part or parts that you are quoting. For example, if you know that the part has an area of 1 square foot, that the thickness you are required to plate on the part is 0.0001 inches and that your standard thickness is 0.0002 inches, you can come up with a price. You should also incorporate in your pricing a factor that covers such things as screw ups and process anomalies.
Hosted by the Technical University of Denmark, Andrea Mazzilli and Torben Lenau’s paper titled “Electroplating Costs Calculation” contains some potentially helpful information that you can use to make your calculations. The paper is accessible at http://polynet.dk/ingpro/surface/elecomk.htm
As you can see, there is no simple off-the-shelf formula for doing this. These formulas typically are developed by plating shops and in most cases considered proprietary information.
This paper deals with the renewed interest in applications for white bronze tri-metal (Cu-Sn-Zn alloy).
Getting the properties you paid for...
An overview of decorative and hard chromium electroplating processes.