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ASCS-Bringing Dripless Technology and Safety to Electroplating

For many industries, from aerospace and oil to power generation and mining, selective electroplating remains preferable to conventional thermal spray and tank plating methods. Yet, challenges still exist for manufacturers, from the need for greater consistency of coatings to increased scrutiny regarding sustainability. This is why SIFCO ASC, a provider of selective electroplating, has launched the Advanced Solution Control System (ASCS)-a new portable all-in-one plating system featuring dripless technology that promises to decrease exposure to plating chemicals while maintaining its portability and proven results.

Game-Changing Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

SIFCO's ASCS is a new electroplating technology featuring cutting-edge dripless functionality. This means all chemical solutions are recycled back into the cart's solution management system right at the surface of the workpiece-without the need for catch trays. The result is a cleaner, more environmentally friendly and inherently safer working environment.

This new technology is also entirely portable, enabling it to be brought directly to the specific part or component. In addition to aiding throughput and productivity, the reduced ergonomic risk offers significant safety benefits to operators and employees. It is the culminative effect of these advancements that are causing technicians and engineers to increasingly abandon traditional surface finishing methods and turn to dripless plating.

Innovation and Automation Without Hesitation

By using the ASCS, technicians will experience an increase in safety, a limited process footprint and significant operational gains. With the use of the dripless tooling, not only will exposure to fumes and chemicals be significantly reduced, but the waste will also decline with the use of less masking, cover materials and cleaning supplies.

In addition to the environmental and safety benefits, the ASCS has also been designed to further enhance automation. By increasing automation, cycle times can be optimized and standardized, data can be logged in real time and human error minimized.

Other benefits of the ASCS include programmable parameters for volts, amps and amp-hours for process control and consistency, as well as the creation of cleaner and more efficient work environments due to the system's dripless technology. With the use of the dripless tooling, these systems are designed to supply and vacuum the preparatory and plating solutions right at the area of the workpiece-before recycling them back to their original containers.

The Small Range Delivers Big on Efficiency

Two sizes of the ASCS, the Nano and Prime, are currently available. Each has been designed to further build on the existing benefits of selective plating, such as in-situ repairs and reduced masking and downtime.

Designed for basic operations of two process steps or less, the manual Nano utilizes the TechnoPlate, a rectifier with a removable controller, allowing technicians to continuously monitor the amps and volts without ever having to turn around. Recommended applications for the Nano include anodizing, zinc-nickel, cadmium and passivation.

An expansion of the Nano, the Prime is suited to more complex applications and can hold up to nine different plating solutions. Equipped with an HMI controlled rectifier, the Prime allows technicians to program each process step, continually monitor the operation and log data in real time. The cart also has a unique Cleaning-in-Place feature, which prevents the potentially harmful mixing of chemicals. In addition, the Prime has an integrated pumping system and utilizes the TechnoFlow, a heated flow system, for any applications requiring heated solutions. Yet despite all this functionality, the Prime still only takes up the footprint of a standard pallet.

Smarter by Design

As mentioned, the dripless tools are an essential component of each ASCS. The proper selection of preparatory and plating tools is a key factor in determining how rapidly and effectively a particular job will be carried out. With this in mind, SIFCO ASC has developed a collection of tools for the ASCS to cover a variety of geometries and contact areas, ranging from 1 sq. in. to an incredible 15.5 sq. in. The dripless tools also allow for added flexibility in applications and deposits.

No matter which tool is used, the deposit can also be plated in any orientation-horizontally, vertically, even upside down-with no difference in performance or result. This alone is a significant achievement compared to the standard brush plating process. SIFCO ASC's tools can also be combined, creating infinitely shapeshifting anodes to meet even the most demanding and specific plating applications.

Limitless Applications, Endless Opportunity

Versatility and flexibility are key considerations for all technicians, and with the ASCS the applications are essentially endless. After being put through SIFCO ASC's rigorous testing process, samples have proven that the repeatability and reproducibility of the deposits plated with the dripless tools are comparable, if not improved over, the standard brush plating process.

For example, zinc-nickel plating tests consistently achieve uniform thickness deposits, while still maintaining the optimal nickel composition of 10% to 14%-ideal for providing corrosion protection imperative in many applications. The ASCS meets both ASTM B117 salt spray testing and ASTM B571 qualitative adhesion testing of metallic coatings.

Additionally, because all of the prep and plating steps are programmed to their defined voltage, amps and amp hours, the repeatability from one technician to another result in a well-controlled process leading to superior plated deposits every time.

Authored by Nicolas Baudin, General Manager for SIFCO ASC France and Group Engineering Director

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