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Gold Plating Properties and Applications

Gold Plating Provides Exceptional Conductivity and Corrosion Resistance

Saras Process use numerous different plating applications in many varied Industrial and Engineering businesses, with Gold plating being one of our specialist processes.

Gold plating describes the procedure of electro-chemically applying a thin layer of gold onto a metal product. During the process, positively charged gold ions are drawn through a gold bath solution, to cause them to adhere to a negatively charged item of metal.  Once plated with gold deposits, products can range in colour from orange to yellow and either have a dull, matte, or a bright finish.

Applications

Gold plating is utilised in various types of industry such as electronics, aerospace telecommunications and medical activities. Gold plating offers excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, is an outstanding reflector of infrared radiation and offers remarkable solder ability.

In addition, gold is a superior metal that does not chemically react under normal conditions, or oxidize. As a result of this, gold plating is a first rate choice for many engineering requirements, where corrosion resistance, solder ability and electrical conductivity (at low voltages) are requirements of design.

Components

Manufacturers and engineers tend to use gold plating due to its incomparable resistance to corrosion. Gold plating also offers low electrical resistance and contact, making it perfect for electronic applications. Many electronic components, such as circuit boards and connectors are gold plated to provide excellent solder ability and conductivity.

Disadvantages

Despite its outstanding qualities, plating with gold is expensive. With the worldwide rising price of gold, the electronics industry, has for some time, been researching for an alternative that is still compatible with the elements of the material, while bypassing its limitations.

Gold still remains in first place for lack of a more suitable alternative in the electronics industry. Copper, while it appears to be more conductive than gold, also tarnishes easily. White silver, although it is said to be more conductive than copper, the higher cost makes it less competitive.

To put our expertise to work for you, contact Saras Process , by telephone 01706 845960 or by email at sales@sarasprocess.co.uk

Is it Possible to use an alternative to Cadmium Plating?

Cadmium is a ductile, supple, glossy metal with a silver-white colour. When used in the plating and manufacturing business it is used as a sacrificial coating, which proves to be soluble in acids, but not in alkalis. It has several uses in corrosive situations, when cadmium plating will provide protection to the base metals, even when corroded or scratched. While it is very similar to Zinc, it creates more complex compounds.

Applications of Cadmium Plating

The majority of cadmium procured is used in the production of Ni-Cd batteries, with the remainder mainly used for stabilisers for plastic, coatings, pigments and plating. With the ability to absorb neutrons, it is applied as a barrier to control nuclear fission. It is specifically used to electroplate steel where an application of 0.05mm thick film of cadmium provides total protection against the sea.

Cadmium is highly suitable for application in the Aerospace industry with particular use on landing gears and legs.

Effects of Cadmium on Health

Exposure to cadmium occurs in many industries, but mostly in construction and manufacturing. Workers may be exposed during the refining and smelting of metals, and during the manufacturing of solar panels, coatings, plastics and batteries. Painting, welding, metal machining and electro-plating are all operations that may be associated with exposure to cadmium.

Cadmium is proven to be very toxic, and its composites can cause several, severe health problems including lung cancer, kidney disease and pulmonary irritation. For these reasons, and considering the drastic effects cadmium is also having on the environment, the Environment Protection Agency is encouraging businesses to discontinue the use of cadmium and to switch to alternative materials.

Alternatives to Cadmium Plating

In the Nuclear, Marine and Aerospace industries it has not been possible to completely phase out the use of cadmium deposits, however, less toxic, non-cyanide, plating systems have been developed. New zinc-alloy systems are being researched as a means to reduce cadmium plating without any compromise to performance.

Two substitute cadmium plating baths, one based on a neutral-pH formula and the other on sulfuric acid provide a less toxic choice to industries.

Zinc Alloys – New zinc-alloy systems, such as zinc-nickel, zinc-cobalt and zinc-iron, are able to provide a corrosion resistant, high performance alternative to plating with cadmium.

Tin-Zinc – an alternative, environmentally friendly process for plating. Using an almost pH neutral bath, the resulting deposit from this tin-zinc plating contains approximately 30% zinc with the remainder being tin.

For further information, and to discuss which alternative best suits your application, contact the Technical Team at Saras Process at sales@sarasprocess.co.uk

Interesting facts about the Tin Plating Process

We’ve all heard about silver and gold plated cutlery and jewellery, but how many people are aware of Tin Plating and its uses in industry? Tinning, or Tin Plating offers many advantages to numerous components and products manufactured from metal and other materials, through a process which coats the surface of the metal with a substrate. Saras Process creates this Tin plating process technique through electroplating using an electric current with specialist equipment and machinery.

The primary users of Tin Plating include the following industries: food equipment, solar energy, hardware, mechatronics, avionics, marine hardware and many applications in the construction of buildings.

Key Facts about Tin

  • It is a soft, flexible, silver-white metal
  • The extraction of Tin dates back to the Bronze Age, circa 3000 B.C.
  • Early bronze objects from this era contained a small element of tin
  • Tin is not found in its natural state but requires extraction from ores, the most common being Cassisterite
  • Tin is known as the 49th most plentiful element in the Earth’s coating
  • Many ferrous metals are capable of being Tin Plated

Benefits of using Tin to electroplate metals

In addition to being a particularly cost-effective process, there are certainly other advantages to using Tin in the electroplating process. Being readily available, Tin is considerably cheaper to use than more expensive metals such as palladium, platinum or gold. It also offers exceptional defence against corrosion and offers outstanding solder applications. Tin is also generally considered to be non-carcinogenic and non-toxic and as a result of this, it is permitted for use with food contact uses. Tin plating results in either a matte, dull finish or bright tin plating to produce a more aesthetically pleasing shine.

 Disadvantages of using Tin

Tin, like other lead-free alloys, is sometimes prone to forming “tin whiskers” or “dendrites” which are mono-crystal strands on the surface of tin base alloy. Tin also has an operating temperature window of less than 450° F.

Learn more about the benefits of onsite Tin Plating and the Electroplating Tin process from Saras ProcessContact us for further information, or for a no obligation quotation.

Chromium Plating Repairs and Maintenance

One of the hardest metals on the planet is chromium which is one of the reasons chromium plating is the process of choice for a huge spectrum of everyday items and machine parts.  Chromium plating protects against rust and impact damage and the process has been around for centuries. Notably Chinese sabres, swords and armour that date back to around 206BC have survived to the present day in perfect condition, corrosion free, due to their chromium plating.

Electroplating chrome over nickel and other metals

Chrome finishing is often applied over nickel plating to make a component or utensil more durable, corrosion resistant and aesthetically appealing.  Chrome finish was highly popular for car bumpers at one time before the advent of plastic coating.  And of course, vintage cars and motorbikes still proudly display the chrome finished parts of yesteryear. Nowadays it can be found on tools, machine parts, taps and a host of kitchen appliances including kettles, toasters and saucepans to name a few.

However, despite being extremely hard, chromium is also porous depending on the environment it is in.  In moist or salty conditions it can rust and for this reason it functions better when it is clean and dry.  Chromium that is cleaned and polished will last for many years.

How to clean chrome

The best way to stop chrome corroding is to make sure the component or item is wiped down if it gets wet and then polish it with wax. A good quality car wax is all that is needed to reduce the risk of corrosion.

To fully clean chromium plating, use soapy water and a soft fibre cloth to remove residual dirt. For places that are difficult to access, use a soft bristle toothbrush to reach them.  Rinse off the soap and dry with a clean cloth of air blower.

Onsite Chromium plating repairs

In the event that physical damage has been caused to chrome plating, it can be re-plated after the rust has been removed and the component repaired. Saras Process can, in most cases, perform this task on site.

Chromium plating repairs is just one of many repair and finishing services we offer. Among others are Common, Precious and Alloy metal plating solutions.

Call us today on 01706 845960 for more information or to discuss your particular project.

Repairs to Offset Lithographic Printing Cylinders

Nowadays the most common method of printing is offset litho (lithography) which has been in use since 1875 when the first offset lithographic printing press was invented.   However, lithography has been around since 1798, well before the press was conceived.  Originally performed with stones, a crayon drawing on the surface of a stone was immersed in water and then dipped in ink. The ink adhered only to the crayon image and then the stone was pressed down on paper, to reproduce the image.

From stones to metal plates and printing cylinders

When the offset litho printing presses came along the same basic principle applied with metal printing plates being used instead of stones. A photographic image is transferred to the printing plate, and the image is then covered in clear varnish. The remainder of the plate is covered with resin.  The plate is curved around a printing cylinder and pressed against rollers the first of which dampens the plate with water and the next with ink. Only the varnished part of the plate will attract the ink. It is then pressed against the blanket cylinder and the image is transferred.  Pressed down on the paper, this soft rubber offset cylinder produces the print.

High velocity offset litho presses are fed by paper cylinders and capable of producing around 12 miles of print per hour!

The most commonly damaged printing press parts

As we have learned, offset litho printing presses rely heavily on printing cylinders and these are the parts that are most commonly damaged. New printing presses are highly expensive but when well maintained even the ancient ones are still in use today.  However, finding spare parts for very old machines can be difficult and this is where Saras Process can help. We repair damaged Lithographic Printing Cylinders and refurbish old ones.

Prevention is better than cure

Conducting work on site, where practical, ensures that there is minimal downtime and once repaired or refurbished the printing cylinders will be back in optimum condition. Prevention is always best so we offer affordable maintenance contracts to check on the condition of your printing machinery parts. We look for corrosion and damage to printing cylinders and other parts.

Call us today for more information.

Onsite Printing Cylinder Repairs to Rotary Printing Presses

Robert March Hoe invented the rotary printing press in the mid 19th century. Since the first presses were manufactured technology has progressed,  incorporating electrical power to run them, but the principle way in which they function is much the same.  Normal rotary printing presses work by passing the material or paper to be printed upon (the substrate) between 2 drums that rotate. One of the drums is partly immersed in ink and this is the drum on which the image to be printed will have been applied. The image can either be curved around the drum or a specially engraved plate attached to it. A doctor blade removes excess ink from the drum as it rotates toward the substrate. The impression cylinder then presses the substrate against the inked drum to effect the transfer.

Expert engineers

Understanding how print machinery works is essential for repairing parts and Saras Process engineers specialise in replacement or onsite repairs to printing cylinders that have been damaged through age, human error or corrosion. We are able to keep the most modern or ancient types of machinery running.

The benefits of an onsite printing cylinder repairs service cannot be understated. Rapid repairs and refurbishment to printing cylinders save money with limited downtime and no necessity to transport machinery elsewhere.

Prevention

Annual maintenance contracts for printing presses are also an excellent idea. With regular checks potential problems with print cylinders can be identified and prevented. In an industry where time is everything with tight deadlines, can you afford not to invest in such a service?

Contact us today on 01706 845960 to learn more about printing cylinder repairs and other services we provide related to rotary printing presses and other print machinery.

Onsite Printing Cylinder Repairs Keep Presses Running 24-7

The benefits of having an onsite Printing Cylinder repairs cannot be underestimated in an industry where time is of the essence and missing deadlines is not an option.

Printing presses such as Heidelberg, Mitsubishi, Ryobi and KBA, to name a few, are an expensive investment and with excellent maintenance can last a lifetime. Before considering replacement, repair is the most economical route to take no matter how old the machine may be.

Mechanical and human error

One of the most common repairs is to printing cylinders, sometimes due to corrosion but more often due to mechanical or human error.  Jamming of sheets running through and the dropping of tools into the lower area, causing damage on impact, are the usual culprits. Most Printing Cylinder repairs can be carried out on site including welding, removal of surface corrosion, treating with corrosion inhibitors, grinding and then plating to finish the job off. SARAS refurbishment programme restores cylinders back to optimum condition.

For a print works, on site cylinder repairs decrease down time and ensure that machines run seamlessly 24/7.  Those using these services are fully aware of the benefits since in the printing industry, like so many others nowadays, time is money and deadlines have to be met.

The question has to be asked, for those who don’t use an onsite printing cylinder repair service – how can you afford not to?

Onsite Refurbishment Services

SARAS Process Ltd offer onsite Printing Cylinder repairs and refurbishment services for all rollers including Ceramic and Chrome used in adhesive and hot plastic environments.

Contact us today to find out how we can help keep your printing machinery in top running order.

Replace or Repair Printing Machinery? Which is Best?

In fast-paced manufacturing industries, where production never stops, a breakdown can result in huge problems and delays to the business. In these circumstances, how do you make the decision as to whether it will be more cost and time effective to replace or to repair printing machinery?

Taking into consideration the age and condition of the machinery is of primary importance. Unless a component has come to the end of its lifespan, the option to refurbish should always be considered.

Printing Cylinders

These are usually damaged by various consumables, Allen keys and screws with lower area problems produced by jamming sheets. SARAS refurbishment programme can make repairs to edges that have broken away or been cracked as a result of severe impact. This process involves welding onsite, grinding the cylinder level and completing with SARAS plating to the initial surface of the cylinder.

Corrosion on cylinders can also be rectified by a similar process, to remove any surface rust by mechanical means, a rust inhibitor is provided prior to plating back to its prime state.

SARAS Process are also able to carry out a refurbishment programme to Ceramic Rollers, Chrome Rollers, Corona Treater Rolls, Draw Rollers and Idler rollers used in the handling of hot plastic, adhesives and sticky materials.

Replace or Repair?

However, in some circumstances the only choice may be to replace the damaged or broken mechanical component, in order to continue with production in a timely manner and to ensure performance and quality. The following items may require total replacement: Hardened Slitter/Anvil Rolls; Lead Rolls; Anodised Chill Rolls and Concave/Reverse/Crown Bowtie Rolls.

How can we help?

The team at SARAS will reclaim damaged or broken components with cost effective re-manufacture of equipment, in order for your business to provide final assembly and adhere to tight delivery schedules, without experiencing extended downtime periods.

To discover how SARAS can offer solutions, advice and guidance on options of both refurbishment and replacement of your equipment, just Contact Us or call us on 01706 845960 to discuss your specific problem.