The National Association for Surface Finishing
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Electroplating & Surface Finishing

The course consists of 22 lessons. Students successfully completing the exam will be awarded a “CEF” (Certified Electroplater-Finisher) certificate and is a requirement to obtain the AESF Foundation Master Surface Finisher (MSF) certification. While it is not necessary to take any AESF course to be eligible to sit for the respective exam that could lead you to becoming a Master Surface Finisher this course covers one of the subject areas for qualifying to obtain MSF certification.

Course Options

Intended Audience

This training program is designed to be beneficial for operators and supervisors of job shops and captive shops performing a broad range of surface finishes on a variety of substrates. The course is also beneficial to sales personnel serving the metal finishing industry, as it will provide a level of knowledge about the processes that will allow a better understanding of the needs of their customer.

Goals

The goal of this course is to provide the student with a broad range of information related to fundamentals of electroplating, methods of preparing parts for surface finishing and to understand wide variety of electroplating and other finishing processes.

Objective

At the conclusion of this course, attendees should:

  • Have knowledge of the basic understanding of basic chemical and electrical principles as they relate to electroplating, anodizing and conversion coating
  • Be able to apply Faraday’s law in calculating the amount of time required to obtain a target thickness of plated deposit
  • Know the cleaning/preparation processes for electroplating of common base metals
  • Have knowledge of the most common methods of transporting parts through an electroplating process, including barrel, rack, continuous strip/reel-to-reel and vibratory technologies
  • Know the methods used to fabricate parts that are electroplated and potential problems caused by such fabrication methods.
  • Be aware of the common corrosion mechanisms and how surface finishing helps reduce corrosion
  • Have a basic understanding of how a Hull and other test cells may be employed to monitor and control a plating process
  • Know which rinsing methods and water conservation techniques are available
  • Know what filtration technologies are employed in electroplating and in recovery of process solutions
  • Be able to identify commonly employed quality tests that may be conducted on finished parts
  • Know the basics of a wide variety of plating processes, including equipment, operational conditions and the role of impurities
  • Be aware of methods for reducing contamination from plating processes
  • Be able to identify the causes of common plating related problems and their possible solutions
  • Be prepared to take the examination which is part of the AESF Foundation MSF certification program.
1. Basic Chemistry for Electroplaters
This lesson covers the basic chemistry principles that need to be understood in order to better understand the plating process. The lesson begins with the structure of an atom and then builds upon that basic information to yield an understanding of chemical reactions as they may be employed to process parts for plating and for the plating process and post plating processes as well.
2. Basics in Electricity for Electroplaters
This lesson discusses basic principles in electricity, beginning with Ohm’s Law. Basic rectification principles how ammeters and voltmeters work, and how current is distributed over a part are important concepts delivered by this lesson. A special focus is given to the role of anodes and how to calculate current density.
3. Electrochemistry for the Surface Finisher
This lesson begins with Faraday’s Law and shows how it can be used to predict plating time. The lesson then goes on to the Electromotive Force Series, how the corrosion behavior of metals can be predicted, and how the EMF series can explain processes such as immersion deposits. The concepts of polarization in plating, current distribution and factors affecting deposit structure are then covered.
4. Barrel, rack and Other Plating Technologies
This lesson provides an overview of the basic technologies used for electroplating. The lesson begins with barrel design/features and shows how solution chemistry and operational characteristics must be changed when barrel plating vs. rack plating. The second half o the lesson focuses on racks and rack plating issues. The last part of the lesson focuses on use of shields, robbers and other methods to modify basic current distribution conditions. A brief discussion of reel-to-reel, vibratory and brush plating is also provided.
5. Part Fabrication & Treatment
This lesson covers the various methods employed to produce parts and their impact upon the plating process. Included in the discussions are the types of soils produced by part manufacturing methods such as stamping, casting, forging, spin casting, drawing, extruding and powder metallurgy. A special focus of this lesson is the subject of hydrogen embrittlement causes and cures. A brief discussion of soldering and brazing and their impact upon cleaning is also provided.
6. Metallic Corrosion
This lesson provides basic corrosion principles related to a variety of corrosion mechanisms, including chemical attack, galvanic corrosion, stress corrosion cracking, filiform corrosion, and fretting corrosion. A discussion of the corrosion of commonly employed electrodeposits including zinc, copper, nickel, and chromium are provided
7. Use of Hull Cells and Other Plating Cells to Test Solutions
This lesson provides information on the use of the Hull Cell to trouble-shoot and maintain a plating process. Examples of plating problems detected by the cell are given along with a demonstration of how the cell plated after a specific treatment was made. The lesson also covers other test cells such as the Lu Cell, the Gornall cell, the Haring Cell and the Jiggle Cell.
8. Optimizing Rinsing to Minimize Water Usage
This lesson discusses and provides calculation methods for the major method employed to conserve water without compromising process quality, including the use of counterflow rinses, spray rinses, multiple use rinses, and drag-out rinses. The lesson also discusses measurement of rinse quality using conductivity devices.
9. Filtration, Agitation & Purification of Surface Finishing Solutions
This lesson focuses upon maintaining a metal finishing process through proper filtration techniques, carbon treatment, and electrolytic purification.
10. Testing and Evaluation of Deposits
This lesson describes the most commonly conducted quality tests employed on plated and anodic coatings. Include are tests for thickness, adhesion, accelerated corrosion, hardness, residual stress, ductility, wear, surface roughness and hydrogen embrittlement.
11. Preparing Metals for Plating
This lesson will provide guidance on preparing substrates made of steel, stainless steel, copper, zinc, and aluminum alloys for plating. Covered are ultrasonic cleaning, vapor degreasing, soak cleaning, electrocleaning, descaling and acid pickling. A special focus is given to the zincating of aluminum alloys.
12. Zinc Plating
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for the main zinc plating solutions in use in the metal finishing industry; alkaline non-cyanide, acid chloride and cyanide. Special focus is given to function of and control over individual ingredients in each process. Common contaminants and possible methods of removal/treatment are discussed for each process.
13. Chromating, Phosphating and Black Oxide
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for chemical conversion coatings such as chromates, phosphates and black oxide. Conversion coatings over plated metals and aluminum are covered. The section on phosphating includes iron, zinc and manganese phosphate processes, while the black oxide section covers the most commonly produced coatings on steel. Equipment concerns are covered in all subjects.
14. Copper Plating
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for the main copper plating solutions in use in the metal finishing industry; alkaline non-cyanide, acid sulfate and cyanide. Special focus is given to function of and control over individual ingredients in each process. Common contaminants and possible methods of removal/treatment are discussed for each process.
15. Nickel Plating
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for the Watts nickel plating solution. Special focus is given to function of and control over individual ingredients. Common contaminants and possible methods of removal/treatment are discussed for each process. The lesson also covers nickel strike solutions and why/where they would be employed.
16. Chromium Plating
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for the decorative chromium plating solutions in use in the metal finishing industry; trivalent and hexavalent. Special focus is given to function of and control over individual ingredients in each process. Common contaminants and possible methods of removal/treatment are discussed for each process.
17. Commonly Plated Alloys
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for commonly plated alloys such as zinc-nickel, zinc-cobalt, brass, bronze, tin-zinc, tin-cobalt, tin-lead and Alballoy®
18. Precious Metals Plating Part-1
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for many of the precious metals plating solutions in use in the metal finishing industry; silver, palladium, palladium nickel, and ruthenium. Special focus is given to function of and control over individual ingredients in each process. Common contaminants and possible methods of removal/treatment are discussed for each process.
19. Precious Metals Plating Part-2
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for additional precious metals plating solutions not covered in part-1; gold, platinum and rhodium. Special focus is given to function of and control over individual ingredients in each process. Common contaminants and possible methods of removal/treatment are discussed for each process.
20. An Overview of Electroless Nickel Plating
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for both nickel-phosphorus and nickel-boron based electroless nickel plating chemistries. The section on nickel-phosphorus is divided into high, medium, medium-low and low phosphorus plating solutions.

Special focus is given to function of and control over individual ingredients in each process. Common contaminants and possible methods of removal/treatment are discussed for each process. Brief discussions of electroless plating of poly-alloys and composites are also provided.
21. Cadmium Electroplating & Special Cadmium Processes
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for cadmium and Ti-Cad plating processes. Special focus is given to function of and control over individual ingredients in each process. Common contaminants and possible methods of removal/treatment are discussed. Also, a brief discussion of nickel-cadmium diffused coatings is also provided.
22. Anodizing Light Metals
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for anodizing of aluminum, magnesium and titanium, with a major focus on aluminum. Also covered are the subjects of coloring and sealing anodic coatings on aluminum. Recently developed substitutes for chromic acid anodizing (sulfuric-boric and thin film sulfuric) are part of this lesson too.

Special focus is given to function of and control over individual ingredients in each process. Common contaminants and possible methods of removal/treatment are discussed.