Automated selective plating takes off after SIFCO and Safran’s pioneering project
World leader in selective plating, SIFCO Applied Surface Concepts (ASC) has developed the first robotic selective plating station for landing gear for Safran Landing Systems in Gloucester.
Safran Landing Systems (formerly Messier-Bugatti-Dowty) is a world leading manufacturer of landing gear systems and has a focus on providing solutions which are not only reliable and robust, but increasingly weight efficient and environmentally responsible, providing overall value across an aircraft program.
Safran’s facility in Gloucester has been at the forefront of landing gear technology for over 80 years. Today, the 100,000 m2 site employs around 1,200 people and it’s core competencies include design, research, development, and testing, and systems integration together with a comprehensive, state-of-the-art production capability. It is here that they manufacture the landing gear for a number of the world’s leading commercial aircraft.
Demanding aerospace operating conditions present continual surface finishing challenges for manufacturers. Components need to be able to withstand friction, extreme temperatures and corrosive environments while continuing to operate at optimum levels. For Safran Landing Systems, one particular challenge came in the form of a landing gear bogie beam design.
Landing gear design includes a stop-pad between the bogie beam and vertical part of the component to prevent wear as it is retracted into the fuselage. However, this impact results in potential wear at the interface, with a further risk of atmospheric corrosion. A design modification was agreed involving the application of a nickel chrome electrolytic protective treatment.
SIFCO ASC has partnered Safran on various surface finishing projects for over 20 years including more recent work to increase wear resistance on one of the aircraft’s axles. These projects are carried out using the renowned SIFCO Process® – the leading method of electroplating localized areas on components without the use of an immersion electroplating tank.
Neil Kenyon, Process Group Manager, initially approached SIFCO ASC to investigate the potential of the SIFCO Process® as a solution for the nickel plating application. While it was advised that this could be solved by manually plating a layer of nickel underneath a layer of chrome on the section of the bogie beam affected by corrosion, Safran’s robust manufacturing quality standards required the process to be highly traceable and repeatable. SIFCO ASC’s UK team consulted its French specialist engineering R&D department. Following a full situation analysis, the team recommended the SIFCO Process® should be automated using a collaborative robot in order to adhere to Safran’s robust manufacturing standards. However, this had never been done before and would require significant engineering expertise. In order to achieve the results demanded by the aerospace specifications, the two teams embarked upon a collaborative research project.
Initial work began at the end of 2013. Safran tested the nickel material in its specialist facility under simulated take-off and landing conditions. Once it was confirmed that the material was suitable in early 2014, SIFCO began work on designing the robotic system. During this time, to fast-track the benefits of the SIFCO Process®, the plating was carried out manually.
The robot, now fully operational at Safran Landing System’s Gloucester facility, provides the company with a precise and highly traceable, repeatable and accurate process, well-suited to the hi-tech facility it sits within. The integrated computer logs all of the relevant information including: the parameters plated; the batch numbers for the solution; current densities and solution levels. The fully-automated system also adheres to the company’s health and safety policy as it minimizes human contact with harmful chemicals. It currently processes 30 bogie beams per month and the team is looking to expand its use into other areas of the company.
Consistent plating uniformity has been achieved using this process, standing up to the robustness of the necessary qualification testing.
The SIFCO Process® has since been specified into the manufacturing process of new landing gear to prolong the corrosion protection. It is also being rolled out into Safran Landing System’s Mexico facility where landing gear components are also manufactured.
SIFCO ASC to present on automated plating systems at SUR/FIN®
SIFCO Applied Surface Concepts (ASC), the world’s leading supplier of selective plating technology, will be presenting its automated plating systems at the SUR/FIN® Manufacturing & Technology Trade Show & Conference. The team will be exhibiting its automated system’s ability to improve production efficiency, increase process control and reduce costs in surface finishing operations.
With automation dominating industry agendas, the event provides SIFCO ASC the ideal platform to profile its innovative automation process. Derek Kilgore, SIFCO Mechanical Design and Project Engineer, has been selected to present at the Innovations Improving Technology Session on Wednesday, June 21.
The presentation will review the evolution of selective plating (electroplating localized areas on components without the use of an immersion tank) into an automated process. From, computer program control of voltage and time to a robotic arm used to move the electrode – SPC charts of the deposit properties measured on production parts using automation show that both stages resulted in substantially improved process capability. Through videos and case studies, Kilgore will demonstrate how attendees can achieve consistent quality, reduce production costs and optimize their operation through automated selective plating.
SIFCO Process® Automation can be tailored to operate within many production processes, and delivers accurate and controlled deposits with minimal operator involvement. By automating the process, SIFCO ASC has introduced an ideal alternative for manufacturers looking to enhance the surfaces of higher volume and complex geometry production components. The process also reduces costs by improving production efficiency, flexibility, coating quality and repeatability.
Lee Shelton, Managing Director at SIFCO ASC, said: ‘Automated solutions are playing an increasingly important role in enhancing the competitiveness of manufacturing and we are committed to contributing toward this momentum with our automated plating system.’
For further information about SIFCO ASC, please visit stand 840 or visit www.sifcoasc.com.
Study reveals industry barriers to phase out cadmium
A new survey from global selective plating company, SIFCO Applied Surface Concepts (ASC) highlights aerospace specifications and prime’s requirements as the main barriers to the phase out of cadmium in the US aerospace industry, and suggests more clarity on the topic is still needed.
In recent years, there has been speculation that the US aerospace industry will phase out cadmium by 2023, however the survey from SIFCO ASC found that only 23% of respondents think they will actually be cadmium free within the next five years. What’s more, just under half of respondents performing corrosion protection touch-ups and repairs do not feel that they have the necessary resources to make an informed decision on a cadmium alternative. When asked why, 100% cited “lack of credible resources and documentation.”
SIFCO ASC provides both Cadmium LHE and Zinc-Nickel LHE touch-up kits to leading OEM and MRO companies in the field, and also works to find suitable alternatives for the future. Even though decades of research indicates that zinc-nickel can be a reliable alternative to cadmium in the aerospace sector, two thirds of respondents who plate cadmium cite aerospace specifications and prime’s requirements as their biggest barriers to phasing it out.
More than 50% of respondents who plate cadmium believe they have no other option for corrosion protection, as one stated, “We are dependent upon what the [original equipment] manufacturer specifies when it comes to corrosion resistant plating. Until the manufacturer allows alternatives, our hands are tied.” However, Scott Peterson, Training manager at SIFCO ASC, is already heavily involved in bringing a cadmium alternative to the OEM and MRO markets. He said: “What this survey really shows is that there is much hesitation across the industry on this topic. The majority of respondents who don’t think the deadline will be met say the reason is a lack of alternatives, but we believe that this highlights a need for more knowledge sharing and collaboration to provide the level of confidence needed to make the change.”
To aid the industry in sourcing credible, detailed and up-to-date research on cadmium and its alternatives, SIFCO ASC has created an online Cadmium Knowledge Hub where its technical experts will regularly share a variety of content on the topic such as manufacturer testing reports and academic research papers. The site also encourages any other professionals in the industry to submit their own findings in order to help the industry move forward on this issue.
Peterson added: “We are working with a number of leaders in the field and finding that zinc-nickel can even outperform cadmium in some instances. When used with the right conversion coating, the corrosion protection of zinc-nickel is even more impressive. The changes are happening in some areas but the industry needs to come together and share best practices so that cadmium can finally be phased out.”
To visit SIFCO ASC’s Cadmium Knowledge Hub, visit: www.sifcoasc.com/cadmium-knowledge-hub.
SIFCO ASC appoints Gruppo Gaser as Italian partner
Global selective plating company, SIFCO Applied Surface Concepts (ASC) is partnering with one of Italy’s leading specialists in the treatment of metal surfaces, Gruppo Gaser to grow the global footprint of its renowned SIFCO Process®* of selective plating.
With established European businesses in France and Sweden and partnerships in major manufacturing economies such as Germany, Austria, and Benelux, the expansion into Italy, Europe’s second largest manufacturer of engineering and metal goods, was the natural next step for SIFCO ASC.
Gruppo Gaser has five production locations across Italy in Rozzano (MI), Isola Vicentina (VI), Caravaggio (BG), Granarolo dell’Emilia (BO) and San Giuliano Milanese (MI) – all of which will ultimately provide the SIFCO Process®. The main application focus at the outset will be on silver plating and anodizing in the power generation and precision engineering industries.
SIFCO ASC has 7 facilities across the world and now has 7 Authorized Partners in Europe, and 24 globally.
As with all SIFCO Authorized Partners, the Gruppo Gaser team is already benefiting from a comprehensive training program enabling them to identify selective plating applications and deliver a consistent, high quality service to customers. Five of the company’s technical engineers recently visited the UK to complete a full induction program.
Gianni Franzosi, CEO at Gruppo Gaser commented: “Our engineers found their recent training in the UK extremely valuable and are already identifying opportunities in our current portfolio. We welcome the SIFCO Process® into Italy and look forward to working in partnership with the experienced team at SIFCO ASC.”
Mark Cattle, Group Sales Director at SIFCO ASC added: “Italy is known for its innovation in engineering and every day the SIFCO Process® is providing efficiencies for businesses across the world. With Gruppo Gaser’s established reputation in surface treatment and focus on the power generation and precision engineering sectors in particular, they are the obvious partner for us.”
For more information on SIFCO ASC, visit: www.sifcoasc.com
For more information on Gruppo Gaser, visit: www.gruppogaser.com/gaser-ossido-duro.html
*The SIFCO Process® is a unique and portable plating method used to enhance, repair and refurbish localized areas on components.
SIFCO ASC Receives Certificate of Product Design Assessment Confirmation by the American Bureau of Shipping
American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) Product Design Assessment (PDA)
SIFCO Applied Surface Concepts has received an American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) Product Design Assessment (PDA) for its SIFCO Process® of selective plating. This designation indicates that a technical evaluation of the SIFCO Process® has proven to be in accordance with the ABS Rules and specified, acceptable standards. An ABS PDA reduces the turnaround time for on-board surface finishing repairs and enhancements by verifying that the SIFCO Process® has already been evaluated and is suitable for use upon ABS-classified vessels.
The ABS has been setting standards for safety and excellence in the marine and offshore industries since 1862. With a team of 200 offices in 70 countries, the ABS along – with its partners – ensure that the marine and offshore energy industries can operate safely, securely, and responsibly.
Mark Meyer, North American Sales Manager states, “SIFCO is very pleased to have received our Product Design Assessment from the ABS. With our PDA, we can now take our experience and knowledge from the naval and military applications to the commercial fleet.”
SIFCO ASC is the creator of the SIFCO Process® – a unique and portable selective plating method used to enhance, repair and refurbish localized areas on components.
Selective plating plays a vital role in the Marine industry due to the significant time and cost savings it can offer in extending maintenance intervals and service life. While the process can be used in the shop to repair worn bearing journals and housings on small generators, pumps and fans; it can also be taken aboard the ship for in-place repairs of large, hard to move, components such as propeller shafts, bearing seats, and turbine casings.
The diversity of the process, deposits and applications have saved engineers thousands of dollars over the years by avoiding the expense of costly downtime, turnaround time and capital investment in new equipment.
SIFCO ASC expands into Polish market
The appointment comes as part of a wider strategy to grow SIFCO ASC’s presence across advanced engineering industries in Central Europe.
Mark Cattle, Group Sales Director at SIFCO ASC commented: “Every day we are opening new doors for customers in the manufacturing and engineering industries by showcasing the benefits of the SIFCO Process®*. Poland has a growing advanced manufacturing industry with Dolina Lotnicza (Aviation Valley) in south eastern Poland a perfect example of this trend. With other advanced manufacturing and engineering clusters developing, it makes perfect business sense for us to make the SIFCO Process® directly available. TSR was the obvious choice for us due to its solid reputation as a surface finishing company.”
Warsaw-based TSR was selected as an Authorised Partner due to its technical ability and established contact base in a number of key industries including: oil & gas; power generation; aerospace and advanced engineering.
As with all SIFCO Authorised Partners, the TSR team will benefit from a comprehensive training programme enabling them to identify selective plating applications and deliver a consistent, high quality service to customers.
Adam Radziszewski, founder of TSR said: “The SIFCO Process® is renowned and specified across many industries for its ability to enhance, repair or refurbish critical components so, as you would expect, we are thrilled to become an Authorised Partner for Poland.”
For more information on SIFCO ASC, visit: www.sifcoasc.com
*The SIFCO Process® is a unique and portable plating method used to enhance, repair and refurbish localised areas on components.
SIFCO ASC to host free event on extending equipment life
World leader in selective plating, SIFCO ASC is holding an event to advise companies on how they can extend the life span of their industrial equipment through selective plating of OEM and worn components.
‘Extending Equipment Life for You and Your Customers’ will take place on Thursday September 15th at SIFCO’s facility in Houston, Texas. At 20,000 square feet, it is SIFCO’s largest service shop in the US.
SIFCO ASC is the creator of the SIFCO Process® – a unique and portable plating method used to enhance, repair and refurbish localized areas on components.
The diversity of the process, deposits and applications have saved engineers thousands of dollars over the years by avoiding the expense of costly downtime, turnaround time and capital investment in new machinery. At the event, attendees will find out how they can realize these benefits during an interactive presentation followed by a live demonstration in the workshop.
Mark Meyer, North American Sales Manager at SIFCO ASC, said: “More and more we are finding companies wanting to consider new ways of saving costs for their businesses. There is still so much potential for selective plating across all industries and we’re using this event to share insight into how this is possible. We are certain that within most, if not all, industrial operations there is a place for selective plating to make a difference.”
Attendees are invited to join at one of four available times: 8-10am, 10am-12pm, 1-3pm or 3-5pm.
To register for the free event, visit: www.sifcoasc.com/extend-equipment-life.
Cleveland-based plating company, SIFCO ASC, builds bikes for local children
As part of a team building exercise, SIFCO employees were grouped into teams and engaged in fun challenges which earned them parts to build the bikes. Once all of the bikes were assembled, the children arrived to personally pick up the bikes – a surprise to all the employees.
The event, known as Wheels for the World, was organized by Team Builders Plus and the children were nominated by the Rockside Church in Independence, Ohio. Johnson (pictured) was thrilled with his bike and said he couldn’t wait to ride it round his block.
Team Builders Plus understands how much of an impact the bikes have on the families. They provide another mode of transportation for the parents as well as enabling the children to take part in a healthy and fun hobby.
Chic Allen, SIFCO ASC general manager, said: “It was awesome to see Johnson’s smile as he tried to decide which bike was going to be his and know our efforts will result in another six underprivileged kids feeling that same sense of joy. I also loved seeing the team’s reaction when they saw their bikes were being handed over to local children. It really made the day worthwhile and brought our team even closer together. Wheels for the World is a great initiative and I would recommend it to any other local business looking to give something back to the community.”
For more information on SIFCO ASC, visit www.sifcoasc.com.
SIFCO ASC debut SIFCO Process® at World Nuclear Exhibition 2016
SIFCO Applied Surface Concepts (ASC), the world’s leading supplier of selective plating technology, will be exhibiting for the first time at the World Nuclear Exhibition in June. The team will be showcasing the SIFCO Process® and its unique benefits in OEM and repair applications within the energy industry.
The annual exhibition will be held at the Le Bourget in Paris, from 28-30th June and unites key players in the global nuclear energy sector.
The SIFCO Process® is a unique selective plating process which has been engineered to overcome common operational and maintenance challenges facing the industry including component wear, corrosion, fretting and conductivity. Examples include a nickel coating for journal bearing resize and copper and silver applications on bus bars for conductivity.
One of the key advantages of the SIFCO Process® is its portability. Unlike using an immersion tank, the SIFCO Process® allows the operator to plate a very specific area of a component, quickly and easily, in situ and to the required thickness reducing downtime costs and complications. For example, one common issue within the nuclear industry is that once installed turbines can’t be taken out of the facility meaning they need to be repaired in situ. By repairing and protecting the existing components using the SIFCO Process®, companies also remove the cost and logistical implications of purchasing a new part.
The process also minimizes the removal of surface material, which limits the amount of preparation time, and preserves the existing material to retain strength.
Lee Shelton, Managing Director at SIFCO ASC, said: “We are really excited to be showcasing the SIFCO Process® at the World Nuclear Exhibition this month. Often our customers in the power generation sector are challenged with repairing critical components without compromising revenue flow but with our localised approach, we can repair parts in-situ and plate a specific area of a component without incurring downtime costs and logistical repercussions. We have facilities in the UK, France, Sweden and US so we are fully equipped to deliver international engineering requirements for turbine applications.”
For further information about SIFCO ASC, please visit stand 2B-S18 at the WNE or visit www.sifcoasc.co.uk