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topic 5439

How Am I Degrading My Nickel Plating Chemistry?


We recently fought through a serious de-wet issue in our plating process. We are plating 150 microinches of Sn over 100 microinches of Ni (plated) over silver (a cured paste). All plating is done automatically in an RFT plater. The product is a ceramic capacitor.

We basically turned our process over searching for answers and found two. Replacing the Ni bath, and bail and feed of the Ni bath. We are feeding Ni make-up which comes direct from the supplier ready to use. As soon as we scale back on the bail and feed we have de-wet. At this point we replace the Ni bath and we are off and running again. The bail and feed is at a rate that replaces the entire bath (100 liters) every four to five days.

It appears that we are either degrading or contaminating the Ni bath but we do not know how. We have performed analysis of the new and used chemicals and cannot find significant differences. The Ni bath we use is nickel sulfamate with a bromide anode activator, there are no organic additives. The process ran for a year with only normal, manual chemical addition maintenance, no feed and bleed or bail and feed.

Does anyone have any ideas of what I can look for to determine what is degrading and/or contaminating the Ni chemistry?

Rich Reifenheiser
- Monterrey Mexico


Of course this is completely unacceptable from an ISO14000 standpoint. How many amperes pass through the nickel bath in 5 days? Amps/gal are probably very low. I would look for dragin source or some silicone defoamer or something like that around the machine or used in the process. Find out what chemicals building maintenance crews are using. Are they wiping the machine?

pooky tom pullizi signature
Tom Pullizzi
Falls Township, Pennsylvania

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