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topic 59528

Can an Ampere-Hour Meter accurately calculate amount of nickel consumed for theft control?

February 10, 2014

Q. For my plating shop I want to strictly monitor the consumption of nickel metal in our plating tanks.

We have weighed the amount of nickel along with titanium baskets . And now we want to weigh them again after every month, and based on ampere hour calculations want to see if nickel consumed theoretically matched with actual consumption.

This is due to theft of nickel issue we face.

I want to know how accurate this process will be if I implement it.

Ammar Butt
- Pakistan

simultaneous February 11, 2014

A. Hello Ammar,
Yes, your Ni metal consumption can be tracked with an ampere hour meter. My Electroplating Chart reads that 1.1 gram of Ni per qq. in. will be deposited per amp hr. This may not be an exact number for you to use because it would depend on your bath conditions. We had a similar problem at my former place of employment with Cu ball theft. We installed a security camera over our tanks, and the problem was rectified. Charging (filling) the baskets was handled by one person and the balls we had in stock were locked up. So to get a ball park usage figure, the amp hr meter would work but you may find a security camera is cheaper. Good Luck!

Mark Baker
process engineer - Malone, New York

February 11, 2014

A. In addition to weighing the anodes, you'll also need analysis of the solution at a fixed volume to calculate any increase/decrease in the weight of nickel in solution.

Amp-hour calculations will get you close, but the plating and anode efficiencies will not be exactly 100%. Amp-hour will probably be good to about ± 5%

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
Spartanburg, South Carolina

February 12, 2014

A. Since nickel usually dissolves at > 99% efficiency, an ampere-hour meter can be a fairly accurate estimate of the amount of nickel dissolved. But nickel plates out at only 95-98% efficiency, so the ampere-hours are a less accurate estimate of the amount of nickel plated out.

For a more accurate inventory, you also need to include the quantity of nickel in solution, which can vary significantly.

This inventory is more complicated if auxiliary anodes are used, or if there is a loss of anode fines that do not get weighed.

Lyle Kirman
consultant - Cleveland Heights, Ohio

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