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Root cause analysis (RCA) stands as a cornerstone process in identifying and rectifying the underlying causes of issues or defects across industries. Despite the widespread use of traditional RCA tools like Fishbone diagram and 5 Why’s analysis, their effectiveness in pinpointing root causes, particularly in addressing chronic or enduring effects within the electroplating industry, has come under scrutiny. This paper introduces Advint's Foveated Root Cause Analysis (FRCA) tool guide, aiming to present a more efficacious approach to RCA.


The Need for FRCA

While traditional RCA tools possess their strengths, they often prove inadequate in tackling chronic effects persisting over several years. The author of this paper has noted several cases where companies faced difficulty in pinpointing root causes, despite making concerted efforts. Thus, this endeavor represents a culmination of various observations, insights, and studies.


Key Principles of FRCA
Single Root Cause:

FRCA operates under the principle that an effect stems from a singular root cause, notwithstanding the presence of numerous sub-causes. This stands in contrast to the common misconception of attributing multiple root causes to a single effect. Distinguishing between a root cause and potential causes is also of significance.


Foveated Approach:

The term "foveated" denotes the focused and concentrated analysis requisite for identifying the root cause. FRCA underscores the importance of scrutinizing evidence and being cognizant of potential traps or biases that might impede the analysis. 

Stages of FRCA

Collect Data:

Efficient data collection serves as a linchpin for a successful investigation. FRCA accentuates the significance of compiling clean and pertinent data, recognizing that incomplete or irrelevant data can impede the analysis. One must recognize there is always hidden data, and the role of the facilitator is to expose and present the hidden data and reveal to the team. 


Form a Team:

FRCA advocates for the formation of a team comprising approximately five members with diverse technical backgrounds who are directly involved with the effect. To mitigate confirmation bias and potential pitfalls, it is advisable to exclude members who have previously participated in RCA for the same effect. It is prudent to recognize that an effect requiring more than two FRCA indicates poor application. 


Write the Problem Statement:

The problem statement should be articulated in plain language, focusing exclusively on the effect and eschewing technical jargon or potential causes. This approach ensures that the analysis remains untainted by preconceived notions or premature conclusions.



FRCA underscores the importance of expeditious analysis, ideally within 48 hours of defect occurrence or detection. This proactive approach heightens the likelihood of identifying the root cause before evidence becomes compromised, obscured, or forgotten. It is pertinent to be systematic in approach, ask only whys, not to discuss, argue or debate the causes.



Based on the identified causes and root cause, FRCA advocates for implementing corrective actions. In a manufacturing setting, it is often imperative to enact multiple measures to mitigate the repercussions of non-conformance.



The final stage of FRCA entails executing the recommended actions. It is imperative to follow through with the prescribed measures, as shifting priorities in a bustling manufacturing environment can lead to lapses in implementation.



FRCA presents a novel and targeted approach to root cause analysis, addressing the shortcomings of traditional RCA tools in pinpointing root causes for chronic or enduring effects. By espousing a foveated approach, evidence-based analysis, and prompt action, FRCA endeavors to provide a more effective solution for identifying and rectifying the underlying causes of issues or defects in electroplating applications. 


The captivating prelude above expertly introduces the comprehensive guide, while Advint's Online Industrial Electroplating training provides an in-depth, thorough explanation that is sure to equip the students with the essential knowledge and skills needed to excel in this field.


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.....many metal finishing companies are bracing for the next economic triad – i.e., massive commodities super cycle, high interest rate effect, and continuing supply chain limitation.

Automotive sector’s electrical vehicle (EV) push is changing the commodities market. The change had and will continue to affect metals like copper, aluminum, nickel, etc. Albeit, it has been only a year since the balance tilted, make no mistake, the commodities huge super cycle had just begun.

Executives can be sanguine about their business once they levitate with a two-year picture on the economic triad of interest rate, commodities price and supply chain.


Over a year, supply chain woes affected the global economy and the surface & metal finishing industry. These challenges, mostly related to ocean freight imports and semiconductor chip shortages, were driven by COVID – 19.


A few companies have negated these challenges and many are bracing for the next economic triad – i.e., massive commodities super cycle, high interest rate effect, and continuing supply chain limitation.


This paper gives background, specifics and recommendations.


Supply Chain

DC rectifiers used in electroplating and anodizing applications were among many products affected by semiconductor chip shortage and ocean freight bottleneck. Automotive sector is one of the worst affected because of these issues.


Automotive sector’s electrical vehicle (EV) push is changing the commodities market. The change had and will continue to affect metals like copper, aluminum, nickel, etc. Albeit, it has been only a year since the balance tilted, make no mistake, the commodities huge super cycle had just begun.


Electroplating companies need these metals either as anodes or as salts.

Advint recommends its clients to work only with suppliers who have negotiating powers, and negotiate the price with them. Prices are volatile, but a supplier can balance delivery with price at a fair profit margin. It is important to keep a bill of materials (BOM), cost of goods sold (COGS) system, and inventory management agile for the foreseeable future.


We expect chips shortage and other supply chain issues to relax from the third quarter of 2022.  


High Interest Rate

Many federal and union government’s coffers are empty since they had been on a spending spree through the pandemic. The supply chain issues we discussed earlier had created differences between supply and demand. One must not reminisce about the present crises from the past ones. Earlier global economies were used to demand, not a supply challenge. This pandemic had created supply issue, and the demand continues to be strong. As most are aware, federal reserves have or will soon hike interest rates. This will reduce demand, and advertently or inadvertently, a series of hikes might trigger a recession. If it does not deteriorate to a recession, executives must expect a slowdown in the economy. They must position their finances, inventory management, and allocate the companies’ fixed capital expenditures accordingly. We expect this effect to peak during the second quarter of 2022 and the overall effect of high interest rate environment will last until the end of calendar year 2023.



An Idea in Brief

Higher labour cost, higher commodities price, rapid hikes in interest rate, and persisting supply chain challenges confront metal finishing leaders.


Executives can be sanguine about their business once they levitate with a two-year picture on the economic triad of interest rate, commodities price and supply chain.



This Insight paper is a redacted version published to Advint’s advisory services subscribers on Jan 03, 2022.


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Students from USA, Middle East, and Asia had rated 100% satisfaction with Advint’s Online Industrial Electroplating Training course.

We feel good about the progress made in placing Advint’s online training as the best and unrivaled source in the global industry.

Go To Training Page


We write this paper to explain why this study is the most comprehensive and all-encompassing course in the market and why early career professionals, both novice and ardent, see value and rate highly.

  1. The course explains electrochemistry, processing, physical characterization, engineering, automation, methodology, and management.
  2. We use Adobe Illustrator graphics to explain electrolysis.
  3. Covers basic and advanced concepts.
  4. Written and instructed by practiced manufacturing professional with over thirty years of experience.
  5. We give access to students a 172-page E-book and present with over 350 pages of high-quality MS PowerPoint slides.
  6. We used one word instead of two for succinct communication, where possible.
  7. The course is interactive and engaging, and not limited by time.
  8. It is not driven by revenue, but value.

We offer custom training courses to aerospace and automotive operating staff on an as need basis.


Click the PDF link to refer to recent endorsements, and breakdown of students by region and qualification.




Our course content drives the growth. The value we offer and the students’ recognition makes us improve the content and presentation at every opportunity. It will be an amiss, if we don’t mention about our plating training participants. Advint is fortunate to have the most dedicated people attend the course with an intent of making a difference. We owe high approval rate to them!


Of course, higher satisfaction increases our responsibility. The responsibility to make the next cohort of students experience better. We commit Advint to do just that!


Behind the scenes, work is in progress to offer new cohort of student’s latest digital technology experience.

Overall, Advint’s Online Industrial Electroplating Training course is on the path to become the premium source of education in the global industry.


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Is surface profile of the substrate pertinent for an effective adhesion of the electrodeposit? Does it only improve the aesthetics or also influence the functional properties? What are the options? Do treatment methods vary with substrates?


This short paper answers these questions and offers a synopsis of those processes. The processes are blasting, mechanical polishing, vibratory bowl movement, bright dip, chemical polishing, and electropolishing. 



Industry uses abrasive or sand and glass bead blasting methods to clean and change the surface profile of the substrates before plating. Silica, aluminum oxide, and glass beads are the often-used media at various grit sizes. Machines and manual booths (closed) are used to execute these methods. This is an age-old technique. It is a simple process, but leaves impregnated particles on the surface and, if not properly removed, might affect the next processes (cleaning and plating).



On mechanical polishing and similar category falls polishing, buffing, lapping, and grinding. Unlike buffing, polishing removes the metal surface. Lapping and grinding change the surface significantly. Industry uses muslin, canvas, leather, etc. as polishing wheel materials. Muslin is most extensively used as a buffing wheel. These mechanical processes are used to improve the aesthetic appeal of the substrates. As further pre-cleaning is involved before polishing, the polished and buffed substrates reduce the load on plating line’s pretreatment processes.


Vibratory Bowl Movement

Deburring and improving Ra value of metals are the primary applications of the vibratory bowl movement method. We can use this method on several metals and substrates (before plating) like copper and beryllium alloys, stainless steel alloys, low and high carbon steel alloys, nickel and titanium alloys, and several others. Size and shape of the substrates, media, chemicals used during the bowl movement, speed of the movement and time control the resultant finish. Unlike mechanical polishing and blasting, the process doesn’t leave residues on the substrates.  


Bright Dip

As the name implies, this process improves the brightness of the substrate. It improves the surface profile and helps aid oxide layer removal. This is an immersion process mostly using an acidic solution for 5 seconds to 5 minutes. Commonly used substrates are ferrous, copper, beryllium, aluminum, stainless steel, nickel, and Monel alloys. Zirconium, titanium and silver metals can also be bright dipped. These processes cost less, and the solution life is short.


Chemical Polishing

Chemical polishing process is like bright dip, but removes more substrate material. Many copper alloys and a few ferrous alloys can be chemically polished. Some chemicals are toxic and need good air ventilation for a friendly environment, health and safety practices.



Electropolishing is an anodic process. Electrolysis selectively removes micro – peaks of the substrate metal. This process offers superior passivation and corrosion resistance properties on 300 and 400 series stainless steel alloys. The passivation properties got from electropolishing are better than nitric acid and citric acid passivation processes. Common metals electropolished are 300 and 400 series stainless alloys. Other alloys are Al, Cu, Monel, nickel, silver, zinc, tin, Co, Ti, and low and high carbon alloys.


Electroplating Surface Profile


These methods can alter the surface profile of the substrate metal before electroplating. Cost, chemical hazard, and awareness distinguish the choice and application of these methods. Each method has advantages and disadvantages.

Blasting is the easiest. Vibratory bowl movement and electropolishing methods offer the best aesthetics and functional properties after the deposition process.


We can enhance the deposit brightness, leveling characteristic, adhesion and surface profile Ra values using any of these processes.


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In the changing times as now, expectations on quality and services differ. A plating company is no exception. The sector is not at the forefront. When expectations grow, re-alignment of vital trademarks of an electroplating organization must change. The change must happen with a focus on data science, creativity, finance and behavioral science over a long period. Except data science, none of these are new. But the application, the discipline and methods have adapted. When a plating organization defines and uses these four trademarks, they become ‘agile’. This short paper explains the characteristics of these trademarks and spills the beans on its returns.


Agile Electroplating

Data Science

Surface and metal finishing sector are on the precipice of embracing data science. Many large automated electroplating plants have unintegrated big data. Several variables and analyst’s processing abilities limit conventional statistical methods like control charts and design of experiments.


A proper use of statistics and inclusion of a software program with algorithm enables big data to be integrated on many variables. Use of data science enables predictive analytics. The common tools are error trend seasonality (ETS) and auto-regressive integrated moving average (ARIMA).


So, what are the returns? Is data science better than simple statistical tools? The answer lies in the scale and the ease with which we can do a complex study with big data within a short period. These analyses can detect variations in hoist performance, rectifier applications, and laboratory data. Data collection and analysis in real time will make sure predictability and compel corrective actions of the processes and equipment.



Finance plays an integral role in daily activities and on long-term capital projects. Proper use of marginal cost concept on daily activities and return on investment (ROI) or net present value (NPV) method on capital projects is pertinent. A dynamic team deals changes with apt financial methods, and it yields pure profit and opportunity cost value. A well-structured bill of materials (BOM) and use of data science will show non-conformances in a process at an early stage. This will help management react to changes. A balanced usage of financial and or accounting practices with statistics and data science will produce optimal quality results.



Creativity inspires innovation. Develop necessity and enable trust to seed creativity.

In the absence of creativity and motivation, a team member can’t bring disciplines like data science and financial management to fruition.

Innovation on input and output variables, automation and DC rectifier 4-20 mA controls can refine and alter the process performance. Many variables and big data demand software programs, as manual analysis become overwhelming and overlooked. We can be creative and innovative on data, technology, behavior, and science.


Behavioral Science

Many of us engage in matters we liked, we have studied, and we corroborated. There is a valid reason for this conduct. Many times, we are right. Sometimes we sustain on our validated thoughts. When challenged or distracted, we change. When we focus and our emotional intelligence increases, we also change. Some of these changes are desirable, but most are not! Therefore, possessing a sustainable conviction over a long term turns out to be nonlinear. There is no standard method to sustain conviction. However, one must balance change and sustenance with conviction. New and complex subjects like data science and its integration in manufacturing require focus and engagement.

Human capital integrates data science, finance and creativity. This will levitate an organization’s performance.

Empowered staff with sustainable conviction can maximize profit and develop their employer’s performance in the long term!


An Idea in Brief

The joint use of data science, finance and creativity with behavioral science will be the harbinger of change for high technology and ambitious electroplating applicator. These trademarks are no longer nice to have, but are deliverables critical.

Real time reaction is the crux of the matter.


Use of data science and finance is about being proactive and making things simple. Behavioral science is about recognizing the values of creativity, data science and finance, and making it effective.


Agile organizations posses a lean production system. They become lean and productive by using proactive data analysis with innovative technology. These applicators write succinct operating procedures.


The four trademarks identified in this short paper are authentic methods to become agile and create an enormous surplus.


Note to Readers: Because of intricacy of the subject, brevity of time and confidentiality, the paper you read might drain the energy. The author desires a reader to revise the paper and enlighten on this matter.


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The metal finishing industry plates hard and decorative hexavalent chromium processes from 1920s. It is an acknowledged industry standard and preferred choice because of its exceptional physical characteristics. US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) had listed chromium trioxide as a hazardous chemical because of its carcinogenic property.



Many aerospace components use hard chromium, the automotive sector primarily uses decorative and other sectors use both decorative and hard chromium plating deposits. A deposit thicker than 1.2 micron are functional (hard) and any lesser are decorative. The industry favors chromium because of its oxidation resistance properties. Among groups 4, 5, and 6 elements of periodic table we plate only chromium using an aqueous solution. Ionic liquids can deposit most of the transition elements. Aqueous hexavalent Cr deposit has exceptional tribological and corrosion resistance (not all formulations) properties. We plate the deposit on high strength steels and nickel alloys (with Wood’s nickel strike). This deposit exists in alpha phase, is crystalline and forms limited compounds or components with occlusion of hydrogen and carbon developing internal deposit stress (refer ASM Handbook for more information). The electrolytes’ low cathode current efficiency allows greater tribological properties. This is because the deposit has hydride and carbide compounds. These hydrides and carbides develop deposit intrinsic stress and effect deformation property of the deposit (Hooke’s law describes elastic properties of materials or deposit).


Extensive applications and good properties make environmental directions a challenge to meet. Before we get deeper, let us get a historical perspective.



Around 1910, a researcher accidentally developed the original hexavalent chromium plating formula comprising chromium trioxide and sulfuric acid. He assumed chromium trioxide was a trivalent salt until another scientist corrected the misinterpretation within two years.  



From that time substitute methods such as trivalent chromium plating, cobalt alloy deposits, electroless Ni deposits with P or B alloys were developed and are a focus of continuing research. High temperature and room temperature ionic liquids for deposits such as trivalent chromium, niobium, aluminum, molybdenum is in study.


Alternate Choices

Chromium Plating

Trivalent Chromium Plating

Decorative trivalent and hexavalent deposits have similar properties because of the thickness limit and electrolysis mechanisms of the respective electrolytes. Electrolysis mechanisms change as electrolysis progresses and the deposit characteristics vary with thickness. There are scientific papers on this phenomenon. On hard Cr applications major variation is on macro-cracks, which develops after baking. When analyzing macro-cracks, a seldom adhered to practice is to compare the microstructure on transverse sections. Refer to ASTM E3 – Microstructure and Properties for more information. A few applications use nickel undercoat to negate the effect of macro-cracks.


Other Electrolytic Methods

A few specialists recommend electroless Ni-P, electroless Co – P and electroless Co as substitutes to hexavalent hard chromium plating deposit. But the author of this paper doesn’t consider these as dependable alternatives. Only electroless Ni-B (mid boron) deposit possesses tribological properties, but it doesn’t offer comparable wear and corrosion resistance properties of hard hexavalent Cr plating deposit.


Ionic Liquid Methods

Room temperature ionic liquid electrolysis is an effective alternate. Aluminum deposit offers many unique advantages. However, it is still an emerging technology.


Vapour Deposition Methods

There are two types of vapour deposition methods – physical vapour deposition (PVD) and chemical vapour deposition (CVD). We can apply CVD on several transition metals. Of particular interest to this topic are CVD deposits of Ta and Nb.


Thermal Spray Coating

On economy, versatility and diversity of options, the thermal spray coating processes is the best alternate to hexavalent Cr plating method. There are five different methods available in the market – oxyfuel wire (OFW) spray, electric arc wire (EAW) spray, oxyfuel powder (OFP) spray, plasma arc (PA) powder spray, and high velocity oxyfuel (HVOF) powder spray. Refer to ASM Handbook Volume 18 for more information on this subject. However, on many applications the line-of-sight characteristic will limit the thermal spray method. There is continuous research in this field, and recently a few companies have taken the processes to a new level.



Bottom line, trivalent chromium plating, vapour deposition, and thermal spray methodologies are operative substitutes to hexavalent hard chromium plating process. Application demand, cost and the required physical characteristics determine the value of a specific method.


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This paper explains Advint’s exclusivity from our competitors to the North American rectifier procurement agents.

Our rectifier sales vertical currently offers technological lead with substantial cost edge from peers, and we position us for the future of rectifier applications.


In the crowded rectifiers sales market, Advint distinguishes its leadership in the fundamentals, quality, technology and supply chain. Market surplus inspires customers to make wise choice by parsing quality and price benefit, and other technical factors.


Electrolysis is DC power supply’s primary use. We begin by understanding the requirements of electrolysis and electricity. Other value adds are electrical and electronic necessities, automation, big data integration features and logistics. We made sales and customer services with a nimble format covering specifications checks, electrical certification and inspection label needs, transportation and product warranty.



Each customer's need is different. On electrolytic applications, due consideration of electrolyte conductivity and ionic mobility (and Ohm’s law) is important. We offer service to customers who want to go make a choice between insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) and silicon-controlled rectifier (SCR).


Advint’s representative encourages considering ripple and maximum output from DC amperes. On productivity, be strategic on DC output amps, largest and smallest parts produced at a time, and the ripple tolerance based on electrolyte and electrode tolerance. An unsuitable choice can increase ripple, drive electricity consumption, and cripple productivity in the long-term.



Advint has partnered with a leading rectifier. The supplier’s PRO series models meet UL and CSA’s inspection label standards. Their model’s MODBUS protocol and RS 485 communication enable automation and data integration of many parameters. Of course, most manufacturers offer similar features with an exception of Advint’s data integration feature. The most important distinction is the workmanship and rigorous quality system from the team on electrolysis, hydrogenation, electroplating and anodizing power supplies.


DC Rectifier


Supply Chain

We understand the customer wants great price and quality, with prompt delivery on the promised date. This is what we offer, and we do that with an attention on supply chain, customs clearance and transportation.



Advint’s pivotal lead is our understanding of electrolysis and electricity.


We took simple but often discounted procurement process steps. Investments in artificial intelligence software to analyze disparate data and on digital ecommerce to make the buying process easy for our new and long-term customers are in progress. Advint offers a rebate for advisory services clients when they buy rectifiers.


Our rectifier sales vertical currently offers technological lead with substantial cost edge from peers, and we position us for the future of rectifier applications.


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The true plating capability refers to a process which performs as almost as expected. It executes with lesser labour, zero downtime, greater process control and with exceptional physical characteristics. Though it might appear simple, most job and captive plating shops seldom meet an effective realization of the said ability.



Most processes have unique challenges. Cyanide and electroless electrolytes, precious metal plating like gold and silver, aluminum anodizing and stainless steel electropolishing need exclusive tactics. Cost metrics and process complexity varies within these processes.


An important holdup most stumble is accepting the status quo. Process failures, downtime, delays, etc. are perceived as a norm. As it occurred yesterday and transpires with others too!

Also, people with emotion become agnostic to methods, tools, concepts, and approaches. While, data science and artificial intelligence sans use of emotion.

This short paper aims to show a path toward a true electroplating capability.


Here is a simple infographic of vital elements to attain this goal:

True Electroplating


As shown in this graphic, our intent is at the core of our actions! Begin with intent to achieve infinite results.


We need knowledge and creativity with intent. The staff must have a comprehensive training on electroplating, lean, statistical process control, and total quality management. A good understanding of periodic table and electromotive force (emf) potential is mandatory. A process control is contingent on sampling and analytical techniques, and database integration with spontaneous communication and reaction.


Consider using 6 process development and control (PDC) tools as recommended by Advint’s earlier blog as an alternative to 7 quality control (QC) tools.


Plant Design and Automation

On no occasion reckon to aid a true electroplating feat with an inextricable and poor electroplating equipment design.


A nimble design with a correct choice of electrolyte chemistry, materials selection, engineering capabilities, rectifier controls and calculations such as ampere hour control, serial communication are indispensable.


Choose IGBT rectifiers for nickel, copper, silver, zinc and chromium plating applications. IGBT will be suitable for most anodizing applications, but sometimes a SCR rectifier or a half wave SCR rectifier will be essential.


Plating equipment and the manufacturer play a significant role in the plan of a new line. The project managers of most manufacturers do not have industrial plating experience. Under these situations, planning on processing, development tools, creativity and method become imperative.


True Electroplating Rewards

When a process performs, employee and customer satisfactions are at its zenith. You get to eat your competitor’s dinner.

How Can We Help

  • Advint’s prudent offering of advisory services empowers clients to achieve true plating capability.
    • Advint’s proprietary Time Change Management (TCM) tool aid metal finishers master productivity management, total quality management, and optimization of physical characteristics of the deposit.
    • We apply an algorithm software to deconstruct big data and conduct predictive analysis.
    • Advisory service includes backing platers in the project phase of electroplating plants.
    • The work supports research and REACH alternates.
  • Our online training course accommodates corporates and individual professionals.



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Acknowledgement of the influential in electroplating develops our learning of the fundamentals, and it improves our research.

There are thousands of contributors who served the electroplating industry and academia for over a century.

Who tops your list?

What did they do?

Why is it important?

What did we learn?

This short paper lists 8 innovators, two focused on electrochemistry and the rest on industrial plating (electrolytic, autocatalytic, ionic & aqueous). Their contributions enabled our understanding, improved our applications, and helped us to advance the technology.


Let us see who they are, when and what did they offer to the field and its benefits.


Michael Faraday

During 1832 Faraday published a paper relating the quantity of electricity with the amount of metal liberated at the electrodes resulting in two laws. When we think of electroplating, Faraday’s laws are probably the first to come to our mind. Mastering a process or shining at customer satisfaction does not end without due consideration of an electrolyte’s current efficiency and the feasibility of a deposit.


Walther Nernst

Nernst equation is the fundamental equation of electrochemistry and for the electrode processes. An ardent electroplating researcher shall begin and ensure a thorough understanding of Nernst equation and its concept. We can plate several transition metals, post transition metals, and metalloids. Some using aqueous electrolytes and room temperature ionic liquids, and most using high temperature ionic liquids. A modest approach to choose the electrolyte and the element for the deposition process is to comprehend Nernst equation and its concept. An interstitial or interatomic alloy electrodeposit choice is no exception to this subject.


Abner Brenner

Brenner conducted many studies on electroplating deposits. We conspicuously recognize for his preliminary contributions on electroless nickel plating invention around 1946. Though he got black non-adherent dendrites in the initial testing, his research allowed significant growth in electroless Ni-P and Ni-B deposition processes, and plating on plastics.


Richard Hull

Hull cell device is common in most electroplating laboratories. Most platers gain Hull cell testing skills or aspire to become good at it! Hull around 1930s invented a testing cell and derived a formula to calculate the effective current density of an electrolyte. Hull cell unit and its formula is quite easy to use! Is the design of the unit and its formula an ordinary achievement?


Oliver Watts

Professor Watts reported on 1931 his work on nickel plating bath comprising nickel sulfate, nickel chloride and boric acid at a higher temperature. Many used nickel-plating electrolyte using the same inorganic constituents at room temperature or at 120ºF. Watts was the first to report the benefits of thick and uniform deposit at 145ºF and 160ºF. Since then we began calling this electrolyte a Watts nickel plating solution.


Donald Wood

Wood was an expert in cyanide silver plating, and that is what he did for most of his career. We know him for his invention of chloride-based nickel strike bath during early 1940s. The Wood’s nickel strike formulation enabled the global industry to plate on all ferrous, nickel, titanium and aluminum alloys.


Donald Cook

Even if you are well read in the industry, you might not have heard about Dr. Donald Cook! Cook coined the term ‘metaliding’. Metal finishing industry did not see the effects of his research. But if I didn’t mention his name with others, it would be amiss as he is alike Nernst and Brenner. No one would have worked on more transition elements and diffused into others than him! His knowledge in electrochemistry and chemistry of halides was impeccable, and he distinguished the ins and outs of transition metals of group 3 to 11 of the periodic table. But his only focus was in high temperature ionic liquids.


Seymour Senderoff

We know Dr. Senderoff for his invention of spiral contractometer used in hard hexavalent chromium and nickel sulfamate plating applications to detect internal stress in the deposit. He worked for Dr. Brenner for several years and later focused on high temperature ionic liquid tantalum plating. It was my source of pride to continue on his research and improvise his formulation.


electroplating leaders


So, what is the learning?

Recognizing these pioneers and their work must transcend awareness and dwell on a deeper understanding of their explanations and research outputs.

Faraday and Nernst focussed on the fundamental of electrochemistry. Cook and Senderoff concentrated mostly on high temperature ionic liquid electrolysis (plating and diffusion). Brenner, Hull, Watts and Wood dedicated their research on commercial electrolysis. Nevertheless, all played a revolutionary role in electroplating applications.


Here are the examples of teachings from a few of these pioneers’ work:

Nernst’s invention allowed us to relate electrode potential, valency of the metal ion and current. Hull’s work brought to light Tafel’s, Butler’s and Volmer’s work. Wood’s invention signified electromotive force (emf) series and distinguished strike, flash plating, and plating. Cook’s and Senderoff’s developments emphasized the importance of eutectic temperature, phase diagram, liquidus temperature of salts, fluxing effect and ionic conductivity of electrolytes.


Hope you find this paper valuable and you dig deeper on these matters!

Post your comments and write about who tops your list.


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A recently published paper by a senior staff on a leading American magazine was unclear about the electroplating terms, like covering and throwing powers. Many times, we see vague interpretation and wrong distinction on these terms.


Advint’s online electroplating training and E-book offers right definition, explanation of identical terms and concepts. So, I’ll abstain from offering an elucidation here and write on the effects and recommendations.


The supplementary purpose of this paper is to emphasize the importance of correct interpretation of underlying electrolysis mechanism, terms, concepts of electrochemistry and electroplating fundamentals.


The confusion on these terms occurs when one draws a literary meaning on these words, reads leading technical magazines and science journals, and listens to veterans in this field.


Dr. Samuel Glasstone’s An Introduction to Electrochemistry delivers the clearest definition of throwing power of an electrodeposition process.

To correctly understand the terms, deeply observe acid chloride zinc or Watts nickel plating and cyanide copper or cyanide silver plating processes. Careful analysis of these electrolytes using a Hull cell will make clearness of these terms.


Handbooks and electroplating books frequently cannot document and analyze all developments, and now and then it misconstrues the depth of progress in the metal finishing field.


Confidentiality and hidden knowledge within the industry is the reason for such limitations. This limits awareness of all electrolyte properties and their formulations options with benefits. Many large organization’s operating procedures and practices also deter the best ability of a process.

We recommend you to question, test and re-consider critical attributes and formulations, including the references of Advint’s e-book guide to get a model electroplating routine.


Why is it imperative to comprehend properly?

Choosing a suitable electrolyte and maintaining the concentration of anions and organics will enable us to:

  1. improve product quality
  2. improve deposition thickness with due consideration for product geometry
  3. meet functional and customer criterions
  4. improve process control
  5. reduce cost associated with rework and under or over thicknesses
  6. minimize or eliminate problem solving time
  7. correctly comprehend fundamental electrolysis mechanisms

How can you learn the correct terms?

Advint’s virtual course E-book syllabus covers relevant electroplating terms and concepts.

We recommend referring authentic resources, test yourself by analyzing electrolysis and deposition mechanisms on various electrolyte formulations and metal deposits.


To the Point

In this short paper, we discussed why right construal of a plating term is important. We reviewed how to access the pertinent information and the reasons for confusions. A diligent comprehension of the terms will help advance the metal finishing capability to what it’s worth.


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Venkat Raja
April 25, 2024
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Charles G Graham
March 25, 2023
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