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Co-ordinated chemicals: Weber tells Finishing magazine that it can manage your cleaning process.

Whether functional or decorative electroplating--metal pre-treatment can significantly influence the quality and costs of coating. For one leading manufacturer of electroplating chemicals and systems, fitting out the test electroplating equipment with a dual ultrasonic system from Weber Ultrasonics, including state-of-the-art generator technology, guarantees maximum flexibility in the design of the cleaning processes. Reliable selection of the technically and economically most suitable solution is thus guaranteed.

Founded in Leipzig, Germany, in 1912 as an electrolytic research laboratory, Dr.-Ing Max Schlotter GmbH & Co. KG, now based in Geislingen in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, is today considered one of the leading companies for electroplating. One of the company's main focuses is the development and production of chemicals and processes for electroplating coating, including pre-treatment and post-treatment such as cleaning, passivation and sealing, for a wide range of industries. More than a third of the employees working in the Chemicals division at the headquarters are employed in research and development. When electroplating became increasingly industrial in the 1950s, the decision was taken to extend the core competencies with the design and construction of electroplating plants. Through its subsidiaries in Europe and Asia, Schlotter supplies subcontracted electroplating companies and in-house users worldwide.

Optimal coordination of chemicals, process and system

To ensure that the chemicals, process engineering and plant engineering are optimally coordinated for the respective tasks, the company uses ultra-modern test electroplating equipment. "Here, we can test electroplating processes from Schlotter's entire product portfolio, optimize them in accordance with customer requirements, and sample parts," says Thomas Haberfellner, head of service and sales for Germany at Schlotter. In addition to around 70 active baths with a volume of 60 to 400 liters, there is also a pre-treatment line with several baths.

High flexibility--even for cleaning/degreasing

In the pre-treatment area, a bath with a volume of 400 liters is used for soak or heat degreasing. Various chemicals are also used here, depending on the cleaning task, such as removal of machining oils and grease, chips, particles, polishing compounds and scale. And the integrated ultrasonic solution from Weber Ultrasonics supports a high degree of flexibility. The dual frequency system used comprises the fourth generation of Sonopower 3S generator in the 3,000 Watt power class and two laser-welded ultrasonic encapsulated transducers, each with a power output of 1,500 Watts. These have been positioned at the side of the cleaning bath. "Weber Ultrasonics gave us detailed information about this progressive technology. We were so convinced by the resulting flexibility and advantages that we decided to use the system without first consulting other manufacturers of ultrasonic technology," remembers Thomas Haberfellner.

Ultrasonic technology for coating-compliant, clean surfaces

The selected frequencies of 25 and 50 kHz enable the cleaning tests to be optimally coordinated with the respective component material, such as die-cast zinc, brass or steel, as well the type and quantity of soiling. This is further assisted by the possibility of adjusting the power output steplessly from 10 to 100 percent. This means, depending on requirements and the sensitivity of the product being cleaned, it is possible to work with a power output of between 1.5 and 15 Watts per liter of bath volume. "This solution allows us to implement cleaning tests with a very broad range of parts and thus enables us to respond very flexibly to the requirements of our customers," the service and sales manager adds.

The patented combined frequency and amplitude modulation guarantees homogeneous sound fields and prevents "standing waves". As a result, cleaning or degreasing can be carried out more quickly and efficiently, often also at lower temperatures or in shorter cycle times. The Sonoscan is a further innovative feature offered by the generator, making the implementation of tests or the handling of the generator in daily operation easier and more reliable. The software automatically determines the operating frequency before the ultrasonic output and adjusts the system accordingly. This means that the system always works at the most efficient power output, even when operating conditions change, such as temperature fluctuations or a change of cleaning medium. During the process, the frequency is continuously monitored and automatically adapted.

The optional fieldbus interface integrated in the generator (Profinet, Profibus or Ethercat) not only enables ultrasound-specific process parameters to be accurately controlled during the cleaning tests, but also documented. Last but not least, it enables the generator to be integrated in linked system concepts or a higher-level control system.

Space-saving and cost-efficient solution

Another plus point of the ultrasonic solution is its compact and space-saving design. Unlike conventional mono-frequency systems, the two dual frequency submersible transducers can be operated with just one Sonopower 3S generator. This not only saves investment costs, but also production area. The ready-to-install generator can be operated as a standalone system or simply integrated in a standard control cabinet.
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Title Annotation:PRETREATMENT
Publication:Finishing
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Sep 1, 2019
Words:796
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