Tooling is one of the most important considerations for any project that requires metal finishing and rack plating in particular.
The term “tooling” refers to a broader category of hardware that is necessary to apply the finish to the part. Rack plating is one area to consider with regards to tooling and designing. A plating rack that is effective can take a lot of engineering bandwidth when developing a new project. Read on for some tips from our Southern California metal finishing experts.
What you need to know about rack plating
Here at IPS what we do is referred to as rack plating which is different than reel-to-reel plating or barrel plating. In rack plating, the finish is applied onto a part or a group of parts that are placed on racks. Plating racks consist mainly of a solid frame, which can also be referred to as the spline, that is the clips that hang onto the parts and the hooks. Some considerations that need to be made in order for the most efficient and effective rack design to be made include the following:
- Keeping the parts held together securely so that they do not fall off the rack during the plating process.
- Obtaining the correct amount of electrical current to pass from the bus bars to the parts through the rack to allow for the parts to deposit the required thickness throughout the parts on the racks for each of the plating layers.
- Demand requirements from the customer which translate to production capacity requirement for the plating shop (this must do more with the quantity of rack that are to be made). This is something that can easily be overlooked but is critical for regular production volumes. This can be calculated by having a yearly demand volume for the parts and dividing it to get the weekly demand which would then be the weekly production output by the plater. But other factors that need to be accounted for include spikes in demand, fulfillment of backorders, issues with inventories that require additional output and production scheduling, or more specifically how parts are going to be required from the plater supplier. It is very possible that the requirements will not be a steady amount every week and that larger lots will be required at a given time, so this needs to be planned out in advance with the plater so that the right amount of tooling is made to cover a more realistic weekly production capacity requirement.
- Maximizing throughput on the plating lines. Making sure that the most number of parts are placed on the rack without affecting the quality or ability to meet our customer specs. This also helps make the plating process as efficient as possible and allows for more competitive pricing.
It is important to consider the development of custom-engineered plating racks to make sure the parts meet the customer specs, volume requirements, and price considerations.
A competitive advantage that Industrial Polishing Services, Inc. has over other companies in this regard is that we design, manufacture, and repair almost all of our plating racks. This helps to reduce costs and lead time for both the fabrication of new racks and the repair of existing racks. This also allows us to be more directly involved in the finish development for new projects.
Rack plating can be a complex subject, so if the team at your company or plant is in need of further explanation of tooling for rack plating and what is involved with loose piece plating, we encourage you to contact the experts at Industrial Polishing Services, Inc. We will be happy to provide you with additional information about our full range of finishing and plating services. We look forward to teaching you more about tooling for rack plating and about the capabilities of our Southern California company to develop solutions that fulfill all of your decorative metal finishing needs.