BEST MOBILE PLATING SYSTEM
I am interested in starting a mobile gold plating business in St. George, UT. I have auto aftermarket experience in detail, paint, upholstery, tinting, etc. I am considering purchasing a system. I would like feedback concerning this and market for this service. I have noticed that some chrome emblems on cars seem to be covered with a clear plastic or lacquer finish-can these be plated. How do you gold plate only part of a chrome piece like a wheel spoke or top of a valve cover?
Thank you,JOHN ROBERT HAWLEY
- SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, USA
A. At first glance, this does not seem like a good idea. Gold plating requires some of the most hazardous and regulated chemicals in the United States. Somehow I don't think the EPA will be as excited as you are about a mobile gold plating system.
Plus, electroplating is very different from detail, paint, upholstery, and tinting. You would need to learn quite a lot before you could gold plate professionally. Throwing in technical challenges like trying to plate only one half of a part only complicates things.
If you are still interested, I would suggest doing some in-depth research on gold plating and getting training in electroplating and hazardous chemical handling. It is not as easy as dip-and-dry.
Rochester Hills, Michigan
A. If you do start a mobile plating operation in St. George (or anywhere) be sure to review the regulations at 40 CFR Part 433. There are reporting requirements related to this industry. In addition, please contact the pretreatment program at the City where you plan to locate or feel free to contact the EPA regional office, NPDES permits program, pretreatment program for further information.
I am very glad that you are looking for input prior to undertaking this business activity.Curt A. McCormick
USEPA -Region 8 - Denver, Colorado, USA
Thanks for chiming in, Mr. McCormick, as similar inquiries pop up all the time here. Suppose an inquirer says he wants a mobile plating system strictly for personal use, though. At what point does he actually become subject to CFR433 and similar industrial discharge requirements? Suppose he charges his brother in law the $5 cost of materials?
We have addressed dozens if not hundreds of postings from amateurs here, most of whom simply don't believe industrial regulations apply to them. Our tack is usually to tell them that they probably have never read the fine-print on their sewerage discharge permit and don't realize what they've agreed not to do; and that should something go awry they could be in trouble fast.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
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