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Small Dichromate Equip. Possible?

Can anyone help me with a problem. We are a farm equip manufacturer and outsource our dichromate plating. All pieces range from the palm of your hand to a 36' long shafts. Shipping and logistics has become a problem. Is it possible to set up an in house small batch tank for dichromate? We know virtually nothing about the process. Is this a costly venture? Does it require a great deal of floor space? What about training?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

scott d [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- regina, sask, canada


It is possible to set up a small plating line for your own use. However, there are many things you will need to know before you get into it. First of all, you need to understand and respect them chemicals involved in electroplating processes. Platers work with some of the most environmentally regulated chemicals in any industry. Your people will need to comply with many Canadian environmental regulations and will require chemical safety training. I'm from the US and am not familiar with Canadian regulations. Over here it is OSHA and the EPA.

Next, you need to understand the technology of electroplating. You may want to send someone to a training seminar of the basics of plating. There are training classes available through the Kushner Electroplating School and the AESF. There, you'll learn that dichromate is just a post-treatment step in the process of electroplating.

The plating process requires cleaning steps to clean, degrease, and chemically etch the metal. You will need water rinses throughout all of the steps. You will need a plating bath, a chromate tank, and probably a dryer. You will need a racking or barrel system to hold your parts. You will need a rectifier to apply direct electrical current to the plating bath. You need inventory space and machinery space. You will need line operators and some sort of functional laboratory. You'll need a plating chemical vendor and metal anodes. All of this will need to be designed and sized for your operation.

I believe that there is more to this than you originally thought. Think it over and make sure you know what you are getting into before you start making an investment. There are advantages in letting a supplier worry about plating technology, hazardous chemical waste, capital equipment, and training. Don't let me scare you off though, a captive plating operation may be a good investment for your company.

tim neveau
Tim Neveau
Rochester Hills, Michigan

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