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Tin plating on Aluminum -- is intermediate layer of copper needed?

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Q. Do I need to apply copper flash after Zincate before tin plate?

Jose Castro
- Arecibo, PR, USA
July 30, 2022
^


A. Hi Jose. It's probably a good idea, but when you intend to plate into aluminum a simpler and better procedure may be a stannate immersion process, then directly to tin plating.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^




Closely related Q&A's, oldest first:

Q. I want to plate tin onto aluminum. Can I plate directly onto the aluminum, or is an intermediate coating required? I was planning to degrease, de-ox, and zincate the aluminum prior to plating with tin.

How thick can I plate the tin?

Next, I want to plate tin on a plasma-sprayed tin surface. How do I activate the plasma-sprayed tin to get a good bond?

Thanks,

Wanda Hudson
- Huntsville, Alabama
1999
^


simultaneous

A. You will need some type of strike or barrier coating between the Tin and Aluminum if you want good results. As far as a vendor it depends on the type of tin. For Alkaline Tin you can make it up yourself. Thickness can be up as much as .001" or more without any problems, depending on the application.

jim conner
Jim Conner
Anoplex - Dallas, Texas USA
^


A. The way I would recommend to plate Sn on Al is to pretreat the Al with the std. process cycle, then immersion Sn the Al. The next step is to either bronze plate the Al or Alkaline Cu plate, then Sn plate in either an Alk. Sn or Acid Sn process.

As for activating the plasma Sn I would recommend an acid that will dissolve some Sn, either MSA, methane sulfonic acid, or fluoboric acid. The conc. to use will be about 5% by vol.

George Shahin
George Shahin
Atotech - Rock Hill, South Carolina
^


A. Hi, folks. It sounds like George is speaking of the Alstan® process as an alternative to zincating.

We don't really like to compare a proprietary process to a generic process like zincate, or to compare one proprietary process to another. But I have seen Alstan lines for bus bar and electrical components, and I suppose that since it is a very purpose-designed process, specifically for applying tin to aluminum, that it may well do that job better than zincating followed by copper plating followed by tin plating.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



Several threads merged; please forgive repetitiveness, chronology errors, or disrespect towards earlier responses -- they weren't there :-)



Copper strike isn't adhering to aluminum

Q. Hi,

I have a tin plating process over copper and brass, but I want to process it over aluminum. I have tried with Canning system (Bondal), with Alumon (Enthone OMI) with gal-1 (Atotech) and when I proceed with the strike copper, the copper surface has air between copper and zinc. Because of that, the tin plating is not good, and if I brush the tin will go and the aluminum part is at air. I think there is a problem with my copper process, because it is used for plating over carbon steel (sheets), and is cyanide and has caustic soda for component, but what can I do or what else can I use for that part of the process.

Thanks a lot for your comments.

Jorge Luis Medina Franco
- Aguascalientes, Ags. Mexico
2001
^


A. On your cyanide copper solution you should be using a "strike" formulation which is high in cyanide and low in copper metal which is the opposite of a plate solution. Also you should have live entry into the cyanide copper solution.

George Shahin
George Shahin
Atotech - Rock Hill, South Carolina
^


"Surface Treatment & Finishing of Aluminium and Its Alloys"
Wernick, Pinner & Sheasby
from Abe Books
or

Affiliate Link
(your purchases make finishing.com possible)

A. We do a lot of tin on aluminium. What you need is an electroless nickel strike prior to plating with copper although the copper should not be necessary we use a zincate process followed by electroless nickel strike (your local suppliers that you have mentioned would have a suitable process then either straight to the tin or better still a coat of conventional bright nickel). We find this works fine.

Regards

bob lynch
Bob Lynch
plating company - Sydney, Australia
^


A. The principal and safer method for plating aluminum is to use an intermediate layer of electroless nickel instead of copper. If you have no possibility of electroless plating, you must use the system zincate + copper. It is important to enter the bath "live" and to start with high current density (3 Amp/dm2) and slow it down to 2 Amp/dm2. Remember that each type of aluminum alloy has different pretreatments.

Gabriel Schonwald
Bnei Berak, Israel
^



Can't get good adhesion on A356 Aluminum

Q. We are currently electro-Tin plating on aluminum and aluminum alloys. Our methods employ standard alkaline cleaning, alkaline etch, a commercial zincate followed by a low pH copper strike, then tin. We have had very good success with our current chemistry with exception of plating on A356 aluminum alloy. The alloy contains 7% silicates, which I believe is causing our adhesion problems. Typically the zincate process does not seem to hold on. I'm looking to see if anyone has any experience plating on A356 aluminum or experience in activating high silicate alloys.

Tim Martin
plating shop - Springfield, Massachusetts
2002
^


A. (Rinsing omitted):
1. Clean in a non-silicated cleaner STAY OUT OF ALKALI ETCHING! Alkali etching does the opposite of what you want to do. You want to decrease the area of exposed silicon and INCREASE the area of bare aluminum. By alkali etching you are doing the opposite, as the alkali removes aluminum and leaves the silicon.
2. 100% Nitric Acid + 2 pounds per gallon ammonium bifluoride, immerse until the part TURNS FROTHY WHITE ALL OVER, remove, do not stop to look, hurriedly rinse two times and then enter
3. Dilute zincate
4. 4 oz/gal Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) FORGET THE COPPER CYANIDE
5. ALKALINE ELECTROLESS NICKEL from one of the top three EN suppliers, 90 °F, 5 minutes, the Johnny-come-latelies are not good enough.
6. Do anything you want to it now.

robert probert
Robert H Probert
Robert H Probert Technical Services
supporting advertiser
Garner, North Carolina
probertbanner
^



-- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. We plate copper bus bar in tin. I wanted to know how we could plate aluminum bus bar in tin. What is the process to do this?

Howard Leatherwood
Plating shop - Pearland, Texas, United States
2004
^


A. You cannot electroplate directly onto aluminum because it is so active that it forms a passive skin instantly. The normal procedure is to immersion plate zinc onto the aluminum via a zincating bath, and then proceed with alkaline copper and tin plating, or alkaline electroless nickel and tin plating. As an alternative, Atotech offers a proprietary sequence for plating aluminum busbar called Alstan, which uses stannate instead of zincate, and then direct tin plating without the copper or electroless nickel.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



Several threads merged; please forgive repetitiveness, chronology errors, or disrespect towards earlier responses -- they weren't there :-)



Q. Our current process on Wrought aluminum includes 1) Caustic treatment 2) Zincate Dipping 3) Copper Plating 4) Tin Plating.
I have a question whether copper plating is really necessary for Tin adhesion on Aluminum (Wrought condition)?
We are not doing the process of electroless strike of nickel. Can you please help me elaborate on the process?
Our requirement is bright finish Tin plating on wrought aluminum.
Also I want to know should we add another process for bright finish?

Hoping for your comments...

Charu [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- India
2005
^


A. Hello Mr Charu,

The copper is required to protect the zincate as the zincate may strip off in the acidic tin bath. Yes you may consider it a necessary step.

Best,

Khozem Vahaanwala
Khozem Vahaanwala
Saify Ind
supporting advertiser
Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
saify logo
^


A. Hello Mr. Charu,

You can try Nickel in place of copper after zincate. The nickel will give brightness to the tin layer.

K. Ramesh
- MUMBAI, India
^


A. I don't think so, Mr. Ramesh. Alkaline copper plating then nickel plating is okay. But nickel plating will (in my limited experience) strip off the zincate.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


A. Hi,

You can use either copper or nickel, both will dissolve the zincate. I believe only alkali EN nickel will be plated over zincate. If you use copper plating over aluminum you must have the right pH-range.

Regards,

Anders Sundman
Anders Sundman
4th Generation Surface Engineering
Consultant - Arvika,
Sweden

^


A. I beg to differ with Ted, I have successfully used a zincate treatment on aluminium alloys and plated nickel onto it. Furthermore, it has withstood excessive thermal cycling as an engine bearing without failing. In my opinion, you can use nickel or copper with zincate.

trevor crichton
Trevor Crichton
R&D practical scientist
Chesham, Bucks, UK
^


My error then, Trevor. Thanks! I am only familiar with using either alkaline copper plating or alkaline electroless nickel as the first layer on top of zincate, and I've watched zincate dissolve in an acid copper tank, but just because I haven't personally seen nickel properly plated directly on zincate doesn't make it undoable :-)

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


February 13, 2014

A. The common process of tin plating on aluminum is mild caustic treatment - zincating - copper plating and finally tin plating.

Arjun singh
- Haridwar, uttrakhand, india
^



What process for plating on aluminum is best for RF

-- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I am working on a project where we are solder fusing RF printed circuit boards to copper and aluminum pallets. We intend to plate the copper and aluminum pallets with matte tin. What specification should we be calling out? Is an underplate required between the copper or aluminum pallets and the matte tin and if so what would be best given this is an RF application.

Martin Camen
user - Dix Hills, New York
2007
^



A. Sorry Martin, I don't know whether having copper between the aluminum and the tin is beneficial to RF reduction or not. But we appended your inquiry to a thread which indicates that you can go with an all tin approach on aluminum, or a copper and then tin approach, or an electroless nickel on the zincate layer before the tin plating. Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



Bus bar plated with copper then tin turns black over time

Q. Aluminium busbar is tin plated using copper as undercoat (3 microns) upon which tin is coated 6 microns. Over a period of time the busbar turns blackish. What could be the reason?

praveen kumar
quality engg - bangalore, karnataka, india
June 27, 2010
^



A. Hi Praveen. There are possibly many causes, but the first two that come to mind are cyanide bleed-out from the cyanide copper step, or sulfides forming because of a sulfide rich atmosphere. With some more facts, and hopefully some pictures, we can probably offer a pretty good answer. God luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



Immersion plating in Stannate in lieu of Zincate

-- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. We are a leading switchgear company at Saudi Arabia. We currently make our panel board neutral bars with brass having tin plating. We want to move to Aluminum 6061 T6 with tin plating. I believe we would need to do a zincate layer, followed by a copper plating layer and then finally Zinc tin. Can any of you please advise, what should be the thickness in microns for each of the layers.

Junaid Mohammed
- Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
February 27, 2012
^


A. Let's "keep it simple", and just use stannate instead of zincate, then go right on top with bright tin.

robert probert
Robert H Probert
Robert H Probert Technical Services
supporting advertiser
Garner, North Carolina
probertbanner
^


thumbs up sign That's thinking right, Robert. Thanks. You made me recall visiting a large GE aluminum bus bar factory using Atotech's Alstan process. Although I think Alstan usually had a bronze plate between the immersion tin and the electrolytic tin.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


A. I'm not sure whether or not this will meet your requirements, but aluminum pistons were often immersion tin plated directly in a mildly alkaline bath containing polyphosphates. If this process is good enough for your parts, then it would be much simpler than a multi-step process that starts with zincating.

Lyle Kirman
consultant - Cleveland Heights, Ohio
^


thumbs up sign Thanks for the reminder, Lyle. Now I remember seeing that at the Ford engine plant in Cleveland there some years ago.

Luck & Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



Tin plating discolors and blisters at 360 °F

Q. We specify tin plating .0002 to .0007 thick on 6061 T651 aluminum rod. The plating is to withstand 275 °F for 2 hours with no blistering or removal with a tape peel test. In actual use the rods will experience a series of thermal conditions: 180 °F for 2 hours, to ambient for up to two weeks, 200 °F for up to 8 hours, 300 °F for 6 minutes in a mold, cool to ambient for undefined period, 360 °F for 2.25 hours in natural gas oven.

We experience blue discoloration and blistering of the tin plating after the 360 °F for 2.25 hours.
Obviously our specification is suspect.
Is it possible for tin plating to withstand 360 °F when heated in a natural gas oven. If so, what are the proper plating process requirements i.e., cleaning pretreatments, strikes, etc.

Russ Lenz
Manufacturing Engineer - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA
May 1, 2012
^


A. The only inorganic tin that is black is SnO. Since the melting point of pure tin is 446 °F There is a high probability it is the oxide of tin.

They only way to prevent this is to do it in a reducing atmosphere or a vacuum furnace.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida
^


A. It is possible that the aluminium is forming a eutectic alloy with the tin. I do not believe that Al-Sn forms a true intermetallic compound, but tin is "soluble" in aluminium and it has a eutectic with a melting point of 227 °C (441 °F). Alloys of metals have different colours to the pure metal constituents, so that could give the blue appearance, but it will not account for the blistering.
It is possible that as the tin layer is depleted by its migration into the aluminium, it is allowing the aluminium to oxidise and undermine the tin-aluminium interface - this could cause blistering.
I am of the view that a barrier layer is needed to prevent tin migration; this can be achieved by using a zincate process on the aluminium and then deposit a layer (~5 um) of either nickel or copper. The tin will form an intermetallic with both copper and nickel, but it should stop migration into the aluminium and subsequent broad failure.
I would also suggest that before spending too much time on trying to resolve the blistering, do some basic analyses and find out why the tin layer is blistering. You can get a lot of information from simple SEM studies, coupled with EDX.

trevor crichton
Trevor Crichton
R&D practical scientist
Chesham, Bucks, UK
^



Tin plating on copper plating on aluminum loses adhesion in shipment

-- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. We are a company based in India manufacturing electrical assemblies for the US market. Our product requires a variety of parts including zinc coated mild steel sheet parts and extruded aluminum (6061 T6) parts coated with tin. We are facing a peculiar problem in our plating process.
Last year, all the parts that we exported during the monsoon season in India (June to August) were rejected by the customer due to rusting of steel parts and poor adhesion on the tin plated aluminum parts. We did not change any process of coating these parts but all shipments sent during the monsoon season were rejected.
We changed our plating supplier and got parts plated which were promising. The steel parts were showing a salt spray result of 300 hours for red rust. The tin plated aluminum parts were showing excellent adhesion. Unfortunately, our first container from the monsoon season has reached the US and has been rejected for the same issues. Thankfully, we have kept samples from each batch produced. When we checked the parts we had, they still are showing excellent adhesion on the tin plated parts.
To counter the rust issue, we are now vacuum packing the parts and are sure that this will sort out the rust issues on the plated steel parts. However, we are not sure what improvements we need to do on the tin plating.
We use double zincating process, followed by copper plating (1.5-2 microns), followed by tin plating (8-10 microns). These parts are rack plated.
Are we doing something wrong in processing these parts? Is the high humidity and rusting of steel parts affecting the adhesion on the tin plated parts?
Please help.

Nikhil Diwakar
Manufacturer - Nasik, Maharashtra, India
September 5, 2012
^


A. Need more information related plating time and type of copper salt you are using. I think you should use lacquer-based anti-tarnish which protects tin plating from salty atmosphere. Such types of products are available in the market which are conductive also.

Gurudatta Thakur
- Mumbai, India
^



Required thickness of copper layer between aluminum and tin

Q. We are doing tin plating on aluminum, in this process we are giving the copper plating barrier for adhesion and also for conductivity purpose. Please tell me what should be the thickness of copper plating before tin plating?

Arjun singh
- Haridwar, uttrakhand, India
February 10, 2014
^


A. Hello Arjun,
If the Cu plating is also for conductivity purposes, I would deposit a minimum of .0008" or 8/10ths of one mil. Good Luck!

Mark Baker
process engineer - Malone, New York
^


Q. Which type of copper plating do the good work to achieve the high thickness among Cyanide alkaline and acid copper for tin plating on aluminum purpose.
If we consider general case for undercoat layer, how much it should be.

Arjun singh [returning]
- Haridwar, uttrakhand, india
February 12, 2014
^


A. Hello Arjun,
I'm not a big fan of Cyanide baths, so if you have a non-cyanide alkaline Cu bath, use it as a strike, then go into the acid Cu plate to build thickness. Acid Cu has better leveling characteristics than Cyanide Cu and Pyrophosphate Cu baths. If you didn't need the Cu plate for finished part conductive purposes, you could skip the acid Cu plate.From what you stated in your question it sounds like you do need that step.

Mark Baker
process engineer - Malone, New York
^


Q. We are doing Tin plating on aluminum busbars for corrosion and conducting purpose. In this process we are doing Alkaline cleaning, Non-cyanide alzincate, Copper plating, and finally tin plating.
In the above process copper plating is 5-7 micron and Tin plating 8-9 micron. Finish is good & OK, Adhesion is OK.

Can we continue this process?

Arjun singh
- Haridwar, uttrakhand, india
February 24, 2014
^


A. Hi Arjun. If there are no specifications which your process is not compliant with, I think it sounds good :-)

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



TUTORIAL FOR NEWBIES:

To avoid confusion, we should explain that there is a difference between "immersion plating" and "autocatalytic plating", and that to many people in the plating industry, "electroless plating" implies "autocatalytic plating", not "immersion plating".

Example: If you dip a steel component into copper sulfate, a thin layer of copper will form on the component and the deposition will stop when no more steel is left exposed -- this is called immersion plating.

But if you dip a catalyzed plastic circuit board into an "electroless copper" plating bath, the bath contains a reducing agent so that it is sort of "spring loaded" and is activated by copper itself as well as the original catalyzing agent -- so copper continues to deposit as long as the board remains in the tank; this is called "autocatalytic plating" or "electroless plating".

Can aluminum be electroless copper and electroless tin plated?

Q. Is it possible to do electroless copper and electroless tin deposition on aluminium surface?

Divahar Selvaraj
- Chennai, India
October 8, 2014
^


A. Hi Divahar. Immersion tin plating on aluminum is both possible and practical. Please see Robert Probert's and Lyle Kirman's replies above. I'm not familiar with electroless copper on aluminum, but hopefully another reader will be.

Please use several sentences to describe your situation as it's not clear whether you want electroless tin deposited on top of the electroless tin, or whether you are asking two different questions in your one sentence. And I'm also not clear if your question is restricted to autocatalytic plating or includes immersion plating. Thanks.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



Alstan Plating on Aluminum Bus

Q. My Customer's specification requires Alstan plated aluminum bus bar: "...layer of Tin over a layer of cu or bronze..." and "...Zincate is not acceptable..." and "...shall have a bright uniform coating...". There seems to be confusion even with platers as to what exactly qualifies as Alstan. The trademark appears to have been established in the early 60s. I don't really find anything online where they sell the specific process chemicals. Any background on the process would be appreciated.

Al Pruitt
Electrical Metering and Distribution Equip Manufacturing - Houston, Missouri USA
December 1, 2014
^


A. Hi Al. Alstan ("all tin") was an M&T Chemicals (now Atotech) process. I don't know if they still offer it, but that would be a good place to start. The process includes an immersion plating of tin instead of zinc (stannate instead of zincate) and includes a top layer of electrolytic tin plating -- but I think there was usually an electrolytic bronze plate between the immersion stannate and the electrolytic tin plating.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


Q. Thanks for the response. I have a plater that reports they can provide matte Alstan but not bright. What is the basic difference in a bright Alstan and a matte Alstan process.

Al Pruitt [returning]
Electrical Metering and Distribution Equip Manufacturing - Houston, Missouri USA
December 2, 2014
^


"Aluminum Finishes Process Manual"
by Reynolds Aluminum
from Abe Books
or

Affiliate Link
(your purchases make finishing.com possible)

A. Hi again. According to some legal websites, but I don't know that their information is accurate and timely, the Alstan trademark is still held by Atotech, but the process is no longer offered in the USA. That would mean that you can't actually call it Alstan anyway. Google books has some short abstracts which seem to indicate that the Reynolds "Aluminum Finishes Process Manual".
has good explanations of the many Alstan processes if you can get access to a copy (sorry, I don't have it).

Obviously, I don't know the dynamic between you and your customer, but I would suggest talking to them about this situation where they have specified an obsolete and unavailable, and largely unknown, process. Maybe they would be interested in updating their specs to something more modern and available. Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


thumbs up signThanks for your help on this subject. Much Appreciated!

Al Pruitt [returning]
Electrical Metering and Distribution Equip Manufacturing - Lebanon, Missouri USA
^



Any alternative to tin plating on copper / aluminum busbar?

Q. would like to understand if there are any smart alternatives to conventional tin plating on copper / aluminum busbar.
Also what is best feasible option for a small enterprise
Thank you.

vimal chordia
- india
November 30, 2015
^


"No-Ox-Id" Compound


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A. Hi Vimal. The simplest and least expensive alternative is bare copper. The DC from rectifiers in plating shops is usually bussed to the anode rods and cathode connections with plain copper, with the joints made up with anti-oxidation compound. But people cannot know if that will be satisfactory for your customers and your situation if you don't explain your situation. Bare aluminum, however, is rarely satisfactory.

The most feasible option for a small enterprise is to farm out any necessary electroplating services to a plating jobshop. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



Conductive coating for aluminium

Q. Hi,

Looking for a coating for Aluminium with good conductivity.

I intend to use Aluminium as bus-bar to carry large currents, and need to interconnect different aluminium bars together.

Aluminium quickly forms a non-conductive aluminium oxide layer, which is my problem.

What coating or other process that is inexpensive, which is common and can easily be found on the market that would be appropriate for that purpose ?

Damien Johnes
engineer - Switzerland
December 11, 2018
^


A. Hi Damien. Aluminum bus bar has been commercially plated with either copper or tin.

The copper plating process is probably the most common, and involves zincating followed by cyanide copper plating followed by bright acid copper plating.

The tin plating process involves stannating, probably followed by bronze plating, followed by tin plating and was offered by Atotech as their proprietary Alstan (all tin) process; the intermediate bronze plating is just a vague recollection, but the vendor can advise.

Although aluminum can be chromate conversion coated for conductivity, I don't think I'd trust it for bus bars; in the USA there was a disaster years ago (google "Beverly Hills Supper Club fire") that killed 165 people which was blamed on unplated aluminum wiring.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



RFQ: Hi,
Good to see Aussies on this thread.

I have been working with two stroke pistons and many of them used tone tin plated I believe, and they wear so well in the motor too, but now apparently this coating over the aluminium is being phased out, which means to me that the motors do not last. So yeah, as I like quality and longevity, I am wondering who I can talk to to get this done on a batch of pistons, like maybe 100, not big of course
Cheers William

WILLIAM MOYES
Chainsaw motor builder - WA AUSTRALIA
September 21, 2021
^

  ^- Privately respond to this RFQ -^

----
Ed. note: As always, gentle readers, technical replies in public and commercial replies in private please ( huh? why?)

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