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topic 0762

PUMA C-12 Activator


Q. I am trying to find out what PUMA C12 Activator is used for along with any other information that anyone can share about it. The application is EN plating of a 400 series stainless steel part with numerous holes. The part was activated with PUMA C12 followed by NiCl and Sulfamate Nickel before finally seeing EN. The EN did not adhere to the holes.

Mark Humphrey

A. Here's what their (PCT Tech'y Inc., Wantagh, NY) ad in the 1997 Metal Finishing Guidebook says:
"Now you can plate Cu, Ni, or Au w/o having any rejects. Our 1-step immersion process allows you to plate any type of metal w/ 100% adhesion & a perfect bond. C-12 Activator removes oxides and eliminates passivation.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


A. Mark,
I have used the product and found it no better or no worse than acid activation. I feel that it has a place, but I still like acid as it is, to me, more aggressive and easier to tell when it has done its job.

410 activates easily, so I would look at the holes not being cleaned properly. If it was tumbled, I would really bet on it not being clean. A oil based coolant for drilling sometimes will char in the hole and make it nearly impossible to clean. sharper drills or changing feed and speeds might help. Adding a vapor degreasing or solvent degreasing step might be necessary. Increased agitation in your hot cleaner and rinses is a cheap start.

In short, while I would not use that product for this use, I do not feel that the product is the cause (based on information given) of your problem.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


A. You should activate your SS in acid, then in nickel strike and then EN. Nickel sulfamate prior to EN will cause passivation.

sara michaeli
sara michaeli signature 
Sara Michaeli
chemical process supplier
Tel-Aviv, Israel


A. This product was the cause of many serious unbonds on our hardware. Our vendors used this product on primarily Monel, but also on other alloys. They used it with current and without and found the success rate to be about 40%. We no longer authorize the use of this product.

Garry Pickett
aerospace - Los Angeles, California


A. I do not feel that the product is the cause; Garry's comment would imply that it was. If it were, you should be seeing failures elsewhere on the part also.

I respectfully disagree with Sara's comment. I do not feel that sulfamate nickel oxidizes any faster than woods nickel from a practical standpoint. I do not see why you would use NiCl then sulfamate then EN. That does not make sense from what you have given.

Bottom line, I would still use acid to activate followed by a Woods strike then EN. Include sulfamate if you have a reason.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


A. "The EN delaminated from the holes" Does this mean that the Nickel Chloride Strike layer and the Nickel Sulfamate layer both did not delaminate? If they remained stuck then the Puma worked just fine and your E-less bath is having a hard time with those holes. Puma works great but it is not a cure-all. If all the nickel is delaminating from the holes then I agree it is more likely an electrocleaning or rinsing problem.

Good luck.

Dave Kinghorn
Dave Kinghorn
Chemical Engineer
SUNNYvale, California


A. I have not seen C12 work, but the product has many adherents (pun definitely intended)

tom pullizzi monitor
Tom Pullizzi
Falls Township,

April 20, 2012 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Dear Sirs, We are using C-12 activator for stainless steel items 304 and we get problems on it. Once deposited the nickel plated on stainless steel item using C-12 then we subjecting the part to a small mechanical processing the nickel get out from the item. Anybody can help us?

Xavier Prat
- Barcelona SPAIN

Electrodeposition -- The Materials Science of Coatings and Substrates
from Abe Books


April 22, 2012 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

A. Hi Xavier.

We appended your inquiry to an earlier tread which may answer it for you. C-12 is a proprietary product, so you should get help from the vendor. But I would consider it only an activating acid to precede Wood's Nickel plating. Dini's "Electrodeposition ..." =>
has a wonderful chapter on adhesion, including values obtained for different operating conditions.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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