Automated selective plating takes off after SIFCO and Safran’s pioneering project
World leader in selective plating, SIFCO Applied Surface Concepts (ASC) has developed the first robotic selective plating station for landing gear for Safran Landing Systems in Gloucester.
Safran Landing Systems (formerly Messier-Bugatti-Dowty) is a world leading manufacturer of landing gear systems and has a focus on providing solutions which are not only reliable and robust, but increasingly weight efficient and environmentally responsible, providing overall value across an aircraft program.
Safran’s facility in Gloucester has been at the forefront of landing gear technology for over 80 years. Today, the 100,000 m2 site employs around 1,200 people and it’s core competencies include design, research, development, and testing, and systems integration together with a comprehensive, state-of-the-art production capability. It is here that they manufacture the landing gear for a number of the world’s leading commercial aircraft.
Demanding aerospace operating conditions present continual surface finishing challenges for manufacturers. Components need to be able to withstand friction, extreme temperatures and corrosive environments while continuing to operate at optimum levels. For Safran Landing Systems, one particular challenge came in the form of a landing gear bogie beam design.
Landing gear design includes a stop-pad between the bogie beam and vertical part of the component to prevent wear as it is retracted into the fuselage. However, this impact results in potential wear at the interface, with a further risk of atmospheric corrosion. A design modification was agreed involving the application of a nickel chrome electrolytic protective treatment.
SIFCO ASC has partnered Safran on various surface finishing projects for over 20 years including more recent work to increase wear resistance on one of the aircraft’s axles. These projects are carried out using the renowned SIFCO Process® – the leading method of electroplating localized areas on components without the use of an immersion electroplating tank.
Neil Kenyon, Process Group Manager, initially approached SIFCO ASC to investigate the potential of the SIFCO Process® as a solution for the nickel plating application. While it was advised that this could be solved by manually plating a layer of nickel underneath a layer of chrome on the section of the bogie beam affected by corrosion, Safran’s robust manufacturing quality standards required the process to be highly traceable and repeatable. SIFCO ASC’s UK team consulted its French specialist engineering R&D department. Following a full situation analysis, the team recommended the SIFCO Process® should be automated using a collaborative robot in order to adhere to Safran’s robust manufacturing standards. However, this had never been done before and would require significant engineering expertise. In order to achieve the results demanded by the aerospace specifications, the two teams embarked upon a collaborative research project.
Initial work began at the end of 2013. Safran tested the nickel material in its specialist facility under simulated take-off and landing conditions. Once it was confirmed that the material was suitable in early 2014, SIFCO began work on designing the robotic system. During this time, to fast-track the benefits of the SIFCO Process®, the plating was carried out manually.
The robot, now fully operational at Safran Landing System’s Gloucester facility, provides the company with a precise and highly traceable, repeatable and accurate process, well-suited to the hi-tech facility it sits within. The integrated computer logs all of the relevant information including: the parameters plated; the batch numbers for the solution; current densities and solution levels. The fully-automated system also adheres to the company’s health and safety policy as it minimizes human contact with harmful chemicals. It currently processes 30 bogie beams per month and the team is looking to expand its use into other areas of the company.
Consistent plating uniformity has been achieved using this process, standing up to the robustness of the necessary qualification testing.
The SIFCO Process® has since been specified into the manufacturing process of new landing gear to prolong the corrosion protection. It is also being rolled out into Safran Landing System’s Mexico facility where landing gear components are also manufactured.
Study reveals industry barriers to phase out cadmium
A new survey from global selective plating company, SIFCO Applied Surface Concepts (ASC) highlights aerospace specifications and prime’s requirements as the main barriers to the phase out of cadmium in the US aerospace industry, and suggests more clarity on the topic is still needed.
In recent years, there has been speculation that the US aerospace industry will phase out cadmium by 2023, however the survey from SIFCO ASC found that only 23% of respondents think they will actually be cadmium free within the next five years. What’s more, just under half of respondents performing corrosion protection touch-ups and repairs do not feel that they have the necessary resources to make an informed decision on a cadmium alternative. When asked why, 100% cited “lack of credible resources and documentation.”
SIFCO ASC provides both Cadmium LHE and Zinc-Nickel LHE touch-up kits to leading OEM and MRO companies in the field, and also works to find suitable alternatives for the future. Even though decades of research indicates that zinc-nickel can be a reliable alternative to cadmium in the aerospace sector, two thirds of respondents who plate cadmium cite aerospace specifications and prime’s requirements as their biggest barriers to phasing it out.
More than 50% of respondents who plate cadmium believe they have no other option for corrosion protection, as one stated, “We are dependent upon what the [original equipment] manufacturer specifies when it comes to corrosion resistant plating. Until the manufacturer allows alternatives, our hands are tied.” However, Scott Peterson, Training manager at SIFCO ASC, is already heavily involved in bringing a cadmium alternative to the OEM and MRO markets. He said: “What this survey really shows is that there is much hesitation across the industry on this topic. The majority of respondents who don’t think the deadline will be met say the reason is a lack of alternatives, but we believe that this highlights a need for more knowledge sharing and collaboration to provide the level of confidence needed to make the change.”
To aid the industry in sourcing credible, detailed and up-to-date research on cadmium and its alternatives, SIFCO ASC has created an online Cadmium Knowledge Hub where its technical experts will regularly share a variety of content on the topic such as manufacturer testing reports and academic research papers. The site also encourages any other professionals in the industry to submit their own findings in order to help the industry move forward on this issue.
Peterson added: “We are working with a number of leaders in the field and finding that zinc-nickel can even outperform cadmium in some instances. When used with the right conversion coating, the corrosion protection of zinc-nickel is even more impressive. The changes are happening in some areas but the industry needs to come together and share best practices so that cadmium can finally be phased out.”
To visit SIFCO ASC’s Cadmium Knowledge Hub, visit: www.sifcoasc.com/cadmium-knowledge-hub.
SIFCO ASC appoints Gruppo Gaser as Italian partner
Global selective plating company, SIFCO Applied Surface Concepts (ASC) is partnering with one of Italy’s leading specialists in the treatment of metal surfaces, Gruppo Gaser, to grow the global footprint of its renowned SIFCO Process®* of selective plating.
With established European businesses in France and Sweden and partnerships in major manufacturing economies such as Germany, Austria, and Benelux, the expansion into Italy, Europe’s second largest manufacturer of engineering and metal goods, was the natural next step for SIFCO ASC.
Gruppo Gaser has five production locations across Italy in Rozzano (MI), Isola Vicentina (VI), Caravaggio (BG), Granarolo dell’Emilia (BO) and San Giuliano Milanese (MI) – all of which will ultimately provide the SIFCO Process®. The main application focus at the outset will be on silver plating and anodising in the power generation and precision engineering industries.
SIFCO ASC has 7 facilities across the world and now has 7 Authorised Partners in Europe, and 24 globally.
As with all SIFCO Authorised Partners, the Gruppo Gaser team is already benefitting from a comprehensive training programme enabling them to identify selective plating applications and deliver a consistent, high quality service to customers. Five of the company’s technical engineers recently visited the UK to complete a full induction programme.
Gianni Franzosi, CEO at Gruppo Gaser commented: “Our engineers found their recent training in the UK extremely valuable and are already identifying opportunities in our current portfolio. We welcome the SIFCO Process® into Italy and look forward to working in partnership with the experienced team at SIFCO ASC.”
Mark Cattle, Group Sales Director at SIFCO ASC added: “Italy is known for its innovation in engineering and every day the SIFCO Process® is providing efficiencies for businesses across the world. With Gruppo Gaser’s established reputation in surface treatment and focus on the power generation and precision engineering sectors in particular, they are the obvious partner for us.”
For more information on SIFCO ASC, visit: www.sifcoasc.com
For more information on Gruppo Gaser, visit: www.gruppogaser.com/gaser-ossido-duro.html
*The SIFCO Process® is a unique and portable plating method used to enhance, repair and refurbish localised areas on components.
SIFCO ASC expands into Polish market
The appointment comes as part of a wider strategy to grow SIFCO ASC’s presence across advanced engineering industries in Central Europe.
Mark Cattle, Group Sales Director at SIFCO ASC commented: “Every day we are opening new doors for customers in the manufacturing and engineering industries by showcasing the benefits of the SIFCO Process®*. Poland has a growing advanced manufacturing industry with Dolina Lotnicza (Aviation Valley) in south eastern Poland a perfect example of this trend. With other advanced manufacturing and engineering clusters developing, it makes perfect business sense for us to make the SIFCO Process® directly available. TSR was the obvious choice for us due to its solid reputation as a surface finishing company.”
Warsaw-based TSR was selected as an Authorised Partner due to its technical ability and established contact base in a number of key industries including: oil & gas; power generation; aerospace and advanced engineering.
As with all SIFCO Authorised Partners, the TSR team will benefit from a comprehensive training programme enabling them to identify selective plating applications and deliver a consistent, high quality service to customers.
Adam Radziszewski, founder of TSR said: “The SIFCO Process® is renowned and specified across many industries for its ability to enhance, repair or refurbish critical components so, as you would expect, we are thrilled to become an Authorised Partner for Poland.”
For more information on SIFCO ASC, visit: www.sifcoasc.com
*The SIFCO Process® is a unique and portable plating method used to enhance, repair and refurbish localised areas on components.
Cleveland-based plating company, SIFCO ASC, builds bikes for local children
As part of a team building exercise, SIFCO employees were grouped into teams and engaged in fun challenges which earned them parts to build the bikes. Once all of the bikes were assembled, the children arrived to personally pick up the bikes – a surprise to all the employees.
The event, known as Wheels for the World, was organized by Team Builders Plus and the children were nominated by the Rockside Church in Independence, Ohio. Johnson (pictured) was thrilled with his bike and said he couldn’t wait to ride it round his block.
Team Builders Plus understands how much of an impact the bikes have on the families. They provide another mode of transportation for the parents as well as enabling the children to take part in a healthy and fun hobby.
Chic Allen, SIFCO ASC general manager, said: “It was awesome to see Johnson’s smile as he tried to decide which bike was going to be his and know our efforts will result in another six underprivileged kids feeling that same sense of joy. I also loved seeing the team’s reaction when they saw their bikes were being handed over to local children. It really made the day worthwhile and brought our team even closer together. Wheels for the World is a great initiative and I would recommend it to any other local business looking to give something back to the community.”
For more information on SIFCO ASC, visit www.sifcoasc.com.
SIFCO ASC debut SIFCO Process® at World Nuclear Exhibition 2016
SIFCO Applied Surface Concepts (ASC), the world’s leading supplier of selective plating technology, will be exhibiting for the first time at the World Nuclear Exphibition in June. The team will be showcasing the SIFCO Process® and its unique benefits in OEM and repair applications within the energy industry.
The annual exhibition will be held at the Le Bourget in Paris, from 28-30th June and unites key players in the global nuclear energy sector.
The SIFCO Process® is a unique selective plating process which has been engineered to overcome common operational and maintenance challenges facing the industry including component wear, corrosion, fretting and conductivity. Examples include a nickel coating for journal bearing resize and copper and silver applications on bus bars for conductivity.
One of the key advantages of the SIFCO Process® is its portability. Unlike using an immersion tank, the SIFCO Process® allows the operator to plate a very specific area of a component, quickly and easily, in situ and to the required thickness reducing downtime costs and complications. For example, one common issue within the nuclear industry is that once installed turbines can’t be taken out of the facility meaning they need to be repaired in situ. By repairing and protecting the existing components using the SIFCO Process®, companies also remove the cost and logistical implications of purchasing a new part.
The process also minimizes the removal of surface material, which limits the amount of preparation time, and preserves the existing material to retain strength.
Lee Shelton, Managing Director at SIFCO ASC, said: “We are really excited to be showcasing the SIFCO Process® at the World Nuclear Exhibition this month. Often our customers in the power generation sector are challenged with repairing critical components without compromising revenue flow but with our localised approach, we can repair parts in-situ and plate a specific area of a component without incurring downtime costs and logistical repercussions. We have facilities in the UK, France, Sweden and US so we are fully equipped to deliver international engineering requirements for turbine applications.”
For further information about SIFCO ASC, please visit stand 2B-S18 at the WNE or visit www.sifcoasc.co.uk
SIFCO ASC showcases selective plating benefits at EASA 2016
Attendees of the 2016 Electronic Apparatus Service Association (EASA) Convention and Exhibition are invited to visit SIFCO ASC, world leading supplier of selective plating solutions to learn more about the benefits of selective plating for electro mechanical applications.
Due to take place in Toronto, ON, Canada at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre between June 12th – 14th , the EASA Convention welcomes more than 3,000 attendees from some of the brightest and most innovative names in electrical mechanics.
Selective plating plays a vital role in the electric motor repair industry due to the significant time and cost savings it can offer in extending maintenance intervals and service life. End bells, which house the bearings that support both ends of a motor shaft, often suffer from fretting corrosion during operation. The SIFCO Process® is used to plate the end bell bores to size with nickel and takes significantly less time than alternative methods such as sleeving, welding, thermal spray, or tank plating processes.
For attendees particularly interested in alternatives to chrome plating, SIFCO ASC representatives will be on hand to discuss the benefits of selective brush plating with Hard Nickel (SIFCO Process Code 2085) and why many of their customers are already implementing it as a replacement.
EASA is an annual event which gives professionals from the electric motor repair industry the chance to upskill in their field of expertise covering areas such as repairing motors and pumps, managing business, and finding better ways to serve customers.
Chic Allen, General Manager at SIFCO ASC, said: “EASA is an excellent way for us to show the industry the benefits of selective plating as a cost-effective method of repair and the new technologies we are bringing to market. We are really looking forward to catching up with our current customers as well as meeting new delegates wishing to understand more on how the SIFCO Process® is used in the electric motor repair industry.”
The SIFCO Process® is also used in many other industrial applications where surfaces need to be protected, repaired or refurbished such as aerospace, power generation and oil & gas.
You can visit SIFCO ASC at: Stand 1332
To register for the event visit: www.easa.com/convention
For more information on SIFCO ASC, visit: www.sifcoasc.co.uk
Notes to editors
About SIFCO ASC
SIFCO Applied Surface Concepts provide practical, cost-effective selective brush plating solutions to improve part performance and reduce manufacturing costs through corrosion protection, increased wear resistance, increased hardness, improved conductivity, anti-galling or slip. SIFCO ASC surface enhancement technologies and brush plating services have been utilised for over 50 years on both OEM components and on parts requiring refurbishment in the aerospace, oil and gas, general industry and power generation sectors.
About Norman Hay plc
Norman Hay plc is a global chemicals, sealants, surface coatings and engineering group with more than 70 years trading history. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, the group operates four main divisions: Ultraseal, the market leader in impregnation chemicals and process equipment; Surface Technology, specialists in the development and application of surface treatments with well-known brands including Armourcote; SIFCO ASC, global leaders in selective plating; NHE, manufacturing bespoke process plant and equipment.
For further information contact Natalie Hunt at Wyatt International on +44 (0) 121 454 8181 or email: email@example.com.
New white paper uncovers best kept aerospace secret
By highlighting the performance and portability of the aerospace approved SIFCO Process®, the white paper makes the case for a wider adoption of selective plating – both for salvage and repair as well as many OEM applications.
Endorsed by Lee Benson, CEO of Able Aerospace Services, ‘Precision and Portability as Standard’ discusses the underestimated value of the SIFCO Process®. Lee comments: “Any new manufacturer or aircraft operator looking to safely repair aircraft components and lower cost is doing themselves a disservice by not considering selective plating for the right applications. The collective cost savings of our global customer base and safety record proves this.”
Using case studies and comparisons with other plating technologies, the paper clearly demonstrates the advantages of the SIFCO Process®, most notably the quality of its mechanical properties, the low cost of capital investment, its viability as an alternative to cadmium, and its ease and speed of use – including its on-site deployment in hangars and in the field.
Innovation in automation
SIFCO ASC also recently unveiled its new automated plating system – a concept not usually associated with the process, suggesting a major step change for SIFCO ASC. The white paper explains how the SIFCO Process® can be automated to deliver cost and productivity improvements across the manufacturing process by using recent examples of machines developed for international aerospace manufacturers.
Derek Vanek, Technical Manager at SIFCO ASC based in Cleveland, Ohio said: “We have serviced the aerospace industry for many years and have numerous prime approvals. The SIFCO Process® is called out in over 30 commercial specifications. However, the changing landscape of the manufacturing sector means companies are hungry for new ways to innovate. This is why we have heavily invested into communicating the benefits that selective plating can provide the industry.”
To download your free version of the white paper visit: www.sifcoasc.co.uk/secret-standard
SIFCO ASC to launch automated plating system at MACH
SIFCO Applied Surface Concepts (ASC), the world’s leading supplier of selective plating technology, will be showcasing its new automated plating system at the MACH exhibition in April. The team will be exhibiting its automated system’s ability to improve production efficiency, increase process control and reduce costs in surface finishing operations.
The launch comes hot on the heels of the government’s announcement of continued support for investment in developing manufacturing technologies like automation. As an extension of the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA), the Chancellor has pledged £200,000 for each company looking to upgrade and introduce new plant and machinery such as SIFCO Process® Automation.
The biennial exhibition will be hosted at the NEC, Birmingham, from 11-15th April and celebrates advances in the manufacturing industry. With automation dominating industry agendas, the event provides SIFCO ASC the ideal platform to profile its innovative automation process.
The SIFCO Process® is the leading method of electroplating localised areas on components without the use of an immersion tank. This provides a wealth of cost and performance benefits; therefore by automating the process, SIFCO ASC has now introduced an ideal alternative for manufacturers looking to enhance the surfaces of higher volume and complex geometry production components.
SIFCO Process® Automation can be tailored to operate seamlessly within any production process, and deliver accurate and controlled deposits with minimal operator involvement. The process also reduces costs by improving production efficiency, flexibility, coating quality and repeatability.
Lee Shelton, Managing Director at SIFCO ASC, said: ‘We are really excited to be unveiling our automated selective plating system at MACH. Automated solutions are playing an increasingly important role in enhancing the competitiveness of UK manufacturing and we are committed to contributing toward this momentum with our automated plating system. From our UK base we are ideally placed to offer technical support and advice to manufacturer’s looking to increase production efficiency, improve performance and deliver cost savings from their surface finishing operations.
As part of the Norman Hay Group, SIFCO ASC will be exhibiting at MACH alongside sister-company Surface Technology who will be showcasing its comprehensive surface treatment knowledge and expertise developed over more than 70 years supplying the UK manufacturing industry.
For further information about SIFCO Process® automation contact us now, you can also see the process in action on stand 5974 at MACH.