Efficient plating process features low environmental impactS. Himmelstein | July 02, 2020
In accord with the company’s Environmental Challenge 2050, an initiative to contribute to the creation of a sustainable society, engineers at Toyota Motor Corporation have developed a polymer membrane-based stamping-type plating technology that reduces waste and carbon dioxide emissions. The new approach to the plating process for forming copper, nickel and other metal coatings on substrates during electronic parts manufacture uses a solid electrolyte membrane to apply materials only to areas requiring plating.
Substrates are completely immersed in plating metal solutions in conventional plating systems that require multiple large baths for dipping the complete substrates and for substrate washing. The use of large volumes of plating solution means that large amounts of plating solution must also be discarded as waste.
By contrast, the head of the new stamping-type plating machine contains solution and the solid electrolyte membrane, through which metal ions pass, is mounted to the tip and pressed against just the area to be plated. When an electric current is applied, metal plating film is deposited only to the area in contact with the membrane. The need for a dipping process is eliminated, which translates into a significant reduction in waste solution production and CO2 emissions, a more compact process footprint and shorter plating time.
To expand process and environmental benefits beyond automobile production, Toyota is providing patents and expertise to vacuum press manufacturer Mikado Technos, which has incorporated its own technologies to develop and manufacture a stamping-type plating machine for sale through Kanematsu.