Technibrite HT 1000 Bright Tin Acid Process for Rack and Barrel Plating

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Bright acid tin process suitable for rack and barrel electroplating applications iImproves appearance and performance of parts with complex geometries.

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Technic Inc.’s Technibrite HT 1000 is a new bright acid tin process suitable for rack and barrel electroplating applications.

George Federman, Technic’s Vice President for Project Development, says that Technibrite HT 1000 is based on an inexpensive sulfuric acid electrolyte that has an exceptional low current density bright range, even when the plating bath temperature and tin concentrations are higher than normal.

“Most bright acid tin processes can only produce bright tin deposits on parts with complex geometries when their tin concentrations are below 20 grams per liter and their bath temperatures are below 70°F,” Federman says. “These constraints result in a low cathode efficiency between 60 and 70 percent.”

Since the anode efficiency is always close to 100 percent, Technic says the tin concentrations in older bright acid tin processes tend to climb. When the tin concentration gets too high, he says the low current density bright range is gone, and the plater has to bail out some of the bath to reduce the tin concentration.

“It’s a never-ending battle,” Federman says, adding that this process operates at close to 90 percent cathode efficiency, so the tin concentration in the bath is relatively stable. 

“Operating at the higher end of the temperature range, 80 to 90°F, also helps with maintaining a high cathode efficiency and eliminating the need for a chiller in most environments,” he says. “Operating at high cathode efficiencies also improves the appearance of the bright tin deposits, as gas streaks caused by low cathode efficiency gassing can be entirely eliminated.”

Technibrite HT-1000 has a unique wetter and brightener package that extends the low current density bright range, even when the tin concentration is higher than desired. Normally, high metal concentrations cause a substantial loss in low current density brightness. However, this process, Federman says, has been used successfully in a barrel plating application even at tin concentrations over 40 grams per liter and a process temperature over 80°F.

“While this is definitely not recommended, it shows the extraordinary bright range of the process,” he says.

This process is nonylphenol ethoxylate-free, and RoHS compliant. The process components are fully analyzable, but the process can be controlled with a traditional hull cell analysis. Technibrite components for the initial startup bath:

  • Technistan tin concentrate (170 grams per liter of tin): 6–40 grams per liter of tin
  • Sulfuric acid: 70–100 milliliters per liter
  • Technibrite HT-1000 starter: 100 milliliters per liter
  • Technibrite HT-1000 booster: 1 milliliter per liter
  • Technistan antioxidant: 20 milliliters per liter

Replenishment is made with the Technibrite HT-1000 replenishment wetter, which is consumed only by drag-out, and with the Technibrite HT-1000 replenishment brightener, which is consumed both by drag-out and electrolysis.

“By splitting the wetter and brightener components apart, the customer has much more control over the bright range of the process, and can minimize non-essential additions of the components,” Federman says.

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