Derek Kilgore, Mechanical Design and Project Engineer, explores the top three ways businesses can feel the benefits of automated selective plating.
Modern industry is more competitive than ever before. From aerospace and oil and gas through to power generation and general industry, efficiency, quality, safety and sustainability are all key factors in driving greater competitiveness. When it comes to critical processes such as selective plating, automation provides an effective way for businesses to continue to meet the high demands placed on surface coatings, while also unlocking further benefits.
Automated selective plating offers three key advantages: increased quality and accuracy, improved safety for operators and enhanced sustainability. You can learn more about the key features of automating your selective plating process, how long it takes to complete an automated plating project and more in our video here:
#1 Increased quality and accuracy
While the introduction of selective plating has signaled a move away from tank plating for many manufacturers, automation signals the next era – particularly when it comes to accuracy and quality. Through mechanization of the process, the operator’s direct contact with tooling and chemicals is significantly reduced. Instead, a computer program – which can be configured by the operator – controls the plating process. This includes everything from volts, amps, polarity and ampere-hours required for the specific application, to the preparatory and plating steps themselves.
In practice, this approach removes the potential for human error and variability from the process, making the operation more reliable and consistent. By accurately controlling the level of deposits with little operator involvement, results are more consistent, driving greater levels of quality for every operation. With the introduction of digitalization to the process, automated selective plating also provides full component and process traceability through constant system data monitoring.
#2 Improved safety for operators
Alongside the improvements in the operation’s results brought about by automation, the safety of operators is also elevated. Reducing risk to the operator by removing them from repetitive tasks and ergonomically unfavorable positions, the capacity of skilled workers is increased to focus on other areas of the business. In turn, mechanical systems are able to replicate the application process identically every time, ensuring high levels of consistency without the need for operator intervention.
As well as improving working conditions and safety for operators, automation also leads to greater levels of efficiency and profitability when it comes to the electroplating process. Mechanized set-ups allow for operations to run smoothly and consistently until completion, making for greater levels of productivity and the potential for reduced lead times.
#3 Enhanced sustainability
Looking more closely at the operation itself, an automated approach also opens up opportunities for improved sustainability. Robotic equipment, which is capable of working around-the-clock until the completion of a particular application, also utilizes chemicals more efficiently, using only the volumes required at each stage of the selective plating process. In turn, waste – and environmental impact – is significantly reduced when automating the process of selective plating for OEM or the remanufacturing of components.
So, in this time when industry is seeing the benefits of automating traditionally labor-intensive processes, selective plating has now been transformed into a state-of-the-art solution which can be semi or fully automated to best suit the task at hand. Bringing with it the potential for improved accuracy, safety and sustainability, automated selective plating is helping to transform the workplaces of the future.
Automating your electroplating process
The SIFCO Process® of selective plating has become a trusted method of meeting the high demands placed on surface coatings. Watch our video to learn more about how you can bring automation to your selective plating process:
For more about SIFCO ASC and our automated selective plating services, please contact us here.