Archive for August, 2011

Maximizing Profits with Plating Measurement Systems

Clients of Eastern Applied Research use x-ray fluorescence analyzers to measure a variety of coatings.  The plating of interest can be any number of metals – one of the more common, and most costly, is gold.  As the cost of gold continues to climb, companies that perform gold plating services see increased importance on having a quality X-ray Fluorescence based measurement system – one that includes the XRF analyzer, NIST traceable standards, and the support needed to understand the technology…allowing for maximum performance and increasing profits.

XRF for ENIG and ENEPIG Measurements

XRF for ENIG and ENEPIG Measurements

With a reliable XRF based measurement process, companies that provide gold plating services can plate closer to their minimum specification.  If a measurement system can confirm your plating process is controlled properly, then you can save gold (or other metals) – maximizing your profits with the help of XRF technology.  You can lower your target thickness and ensure you are comfortably within your required specification when the XRF analyzer is properly calibrated with the best measurement techniques and standards of low uncertainty.

Without a reliable measurement process, utilizing x-ray fluorescence technology, a plating company will not be able to control excess plating.  You need to define the uncertainty of your measurement process.  Only after it is confirmed that the measurement system is working properly can your plating process be adjusted to near the minimum thickness reliably and consistently.

Reworks from under-plating are expensive, so most plating companies will plate heavy to ensure they meet the minimum.  However, in the long run, this over-plating approach is as expensive as reworks.  As an example, if you are plating 15u” of gold to make sure you meet the clients minimum requirements of 10u”, then you are wasting as much as 50% of your gold.  XRF technology can control your measurement process to target 11u” of gold reaching near a six-sigma confidence level – then you can save 27% on your gold costs.  Again, with increasing gold costs, this savings equation can be substantial (and isn’t just limited to gold, of course).

The first step in maximizing profits is having confidence that you are measuring accurately and with repeatability; then you can adjust the plating line to control your process.  At Eastern Applied Research, we can provide the system, methodology and training to define the measurement uncertainty.  Once we show you that your uncertainty is 2% (this varies per application and system used) you only need to plate 2% higher than the minimum.  Any additional amount of thickness you add is based on your ability to control the plating process itself – but to control that you need the best measurement system and a complete understanding of the measurement uncertainty inherent in any system.

If you are over-plating to avoid out of specification product then you are throwing money away and allowing competitors that use XRF measurement systems to have an advantage that allows them to quote lower than you.  Eastern Applied Research Inc specializes in coating measurement systems, and has for twenty years.

XRF Applications SupportWe can help you improve your process and maximize profits – contact an Application Specialist to discuss your process and XRF Technology.