6 / 9 / 2012
HUBER+SUHNER has been finishing mass parts for high-frequency connectors for over twenty years. This extensive experience of surface coating is incorporated from the product development phase onward. Our in-house electroplating facility in Herisau, Switzerland, is one of the most modern in the world and is, in part, also available to external customers. The facility is constantly optimized to ensure that it remains at the cutting edge - for example, by maximizing lot sizes.
The throughput of an electroplating facility depends mainly on the dwell time required for the parts in the bath, as well as on the size of the baths and workpiece carriers. As the size of the baths is typically unchangeable, throughput can be increased only through optimized hanging. A job that involved coating brass with silver in large batches presented HUBER+SUHNER with the challenge of modifying the existing pivoting frame to achieve the optimal lot size without sacrificing coating quality. The standard approach was to hang 200 parts for each batch. The idea was to reorganise the strips to maximise the number of suspension points, but without the parts touching.
A pivoting frame was developed with millimetre precision to fully exploit the space in the fully-automated plant’s electroplating baths and transport systems to maximum capacity. The load capacity was tripled. The increase from 200 to 600 parts per pivoting frame has helped toachieve a throughput in rack coating that was previously impossible at HUBER+SUHNER. The total weight of a batch is now a heavy 67 kilograms, the surface of all the parts is 466 dm². An optimum thickness of 4 to 6 micrometres of silver is applied at the measuring points on all 600 parts: as little as possible, but as much as necessary to achieve the desired quality. The result is a large volume of 165 grams of silver per lot. Thanks to the optimised pivoting frame, throughput has increased significantly, while maintaining the same quality and also reducing costs. A key contribution towards continuous process and production optimisation for our customers.