• 67 companies are presenting electroplating and other surface treatment technology under the umbrella of industry association ZVO
  • Hannover. The special WORLD OF SURFACE TREATMENT display will be a major attraction at this year's O&S in Stuttgart, which takes place from 31 May to 2 June at the city's exhibition center located directly adjacent to the airport. Industry association ZVO is hosting a group pavilion in Hall 9 (B28), where 67 participating companies will be presenting their processes, products and services on a total floor area of 3,000 square meters. The ZVO presence at the leading international trade fair carries the tagline "Electroplating and surface treatment: partners for innovation in the global supply chain".

    COVENTYA GmbH has been one such partner for many years now, supplying specialty chemicals for electroplating and surface treatment to more than 40 countries in four continents. "O&S gives us the opportunity to showcase new technologies and processes and to present our full product range to a broad trade public", explains COVENTYA managing director Dr. Thorsten Kühler. The company is following the current industry trend in cathodic corrosion protection and putting its new top coats and tribological coatings center stage. It is also showing high-performance coating processes for zinc and zinc alloys, together with the appropriate after-treatment (passivation). Also forming part of the company's presentation are new developments in decorative electroplating and decorative corrosion protection.

    WIOTEC Wilmes Oberflächentechnik will be presenting its highly corrosion-resistant coating system, which consists of a layer of nickel phosphorus and a layer of chromium III, offering a less hazardous alternative to chromium VI. Other notable benefits of the process are the enormous energy and cost savings achieved. In future, the company will also offer zinc-plating of geometrically complex parts - typically for conductor rails and other electrical components. The process exhibits excellent solderability, and meets the requirements of EU Directive RoHS (2002/95/EC). "We are the only company able to utilize all our processes - nickel-plating, chrome-plating, zinc-plating and tin-plating, onto aluminum, steel, copper and brass - for items up to six meters in length", points out Udo Wilmes, managing director of WIOTEC.

    1001 custom solutions for the treatment of surfaces

    Coating specialist Zeschky is presenting its Z-PROTECTION® system to O&S 2016, together with the promise of "1001 surfaces". Zeschky offers customized solutions for the series coating of car parts, fixings and connectors, electrical and electronic components, furniture supplies, locks and hardware, and white goods. Notable benefits include residue-free coatings or drive recesses where the dipped areas are coated with no material residues or paint runs. The process can also accommodate complex geometries, such as spring clips with a wire diameter of as little as 1.2 millimeters. With four new drum coating lines, the company offers a range of coating options for all types of components that can be loose-tumbled.

    The cleaning of industrial parts is an essential prerequisite for electroplating or for pre-treatment prior to painting, and SurTec has developed a process that uses neutral activators (SurTec 414). A typical application for the product, which works at neutral pH value, is the removal of oxide films and rust from ferrous materials following deburring, and it offers a number of advantages over mineral acids. The product is non-classified, which makes it easier to work with - and safer. Because a neutralization stage is no longer needed, the process is simpler and less costly, while the formation of sludge is prevented. The neutral pH value means that the process can be used in commercial parts cleaning lines, which would be unthinkable if mineral acids were used. This benefit is also utilized in the cleaning and refurbishment of parts such as engine components, where carbon deposits and traces of corrosion can be removed with the additional assistance of ultrasound without attacking the composite material make-up of the items (steel, aluminum, ferrous metals, plastics, etc.). For the painting and powder coating sector, the use of SurTec 414 offers a stand-alone pre-treatment with virtually the same level of corrosion protection as that afforded by iron phosphating.

    The WORLD OF SURFACE TREATMENT devotes plenty of space to peripheral equipment as well. The Dutch company Hendor Pompen B.V. is bringing an extensive range of high-grade plastic pumps and filter chambers to O&S, specifically designed for use in the electroplating sector. "We are also exhibiting a new device for recovering residues of gold, silver and other precious metals", says Lion Lavrijsen, Hendor's sales manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The electro-recovery process relies on a fine metallic matrix inserted into a cylindrical cathode. The constant turbulence caused by the Hendor Recovery Cell system exposes the cathode continuously to fresh ions. This makes it possible to recover precious metals even at very low concentrations.

    Automation for electroplating shops

    ICOM Automation GmbH will be presenting no less than three solutions in Stuttgart, which will be of interest to everyone in the business of building and operating electroplating shops: the automation of the electroplating process itself (GalvaCom), wastewater treatment (AwaCom) and the systems environment (LawaCom). The GalvaCom system control is an automation solution that is intuitive in operation and clear to follow on screen. It is a flexible system with sophisticated logging capabilities and the reliability that prevents down-time. As well as easy management of the items and the plating formulae, the program makes it possible to set any tolerance desired and any length of time in treatment tanks, as well as automatic current density correction - all within outside limits that can be pre-set. Taken together, these functions deliver genuine production advantages for operators of electroplating lines. AwaCom is a wastewater treatment control system tailored to the needs of modern plating shops for solution regeneration and the safe disposal of process water. The LawaCom software system offers many functions for data processing in the plating and surface treatment industry. "In addition to its main job of registering, checking and transmitting data relating to tank solutions and treatment, it also enables the operator to manage and log ongoing plant maintenance", observes Stefan Wegerich, who is responsible for sales and project management at ICOM.

    A special service is on offer from the experts at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Engineering and Automation (IPA). For firms that wish to outsource their electroplating requirements to third-party coating specialists, the IPA provides an impartial assessment of contract coating services on the market. The wrong choice of supplier - whether locally, globally or in low-wage countries - can lead to costly delays and other problems. The IPA scientists possess the expertise between them to cover the entire R&D chain - from process development to industrial plant engineering. "This breadth of coverage, and the focus on electroplating within the larger field of surface treatment technology, are two of the things that make us special. Not only are we familiar with the electrochemical processes, but we also have specialized knowledge of the different process stages, plant engineering, peripheral equipment - a complete overview, in short, of the flow of parts through the production system, and the quality test engineering needed at the end", points out Dr. Martin Metzner, head of the electroplating department at the IPA.

    With these and so many other technical innovations to see in all areas of electroplating and surface treatment, a visit to the WORLD OF SURFACE TREATMENT is surely a must, leaving visiting professionals enriched by new impressions and rewarding conversations.

    The added bonus: several shows at one venue

    Taking place in parallel with O&S from 31 May to 2 June 2016 at the Stuttgart exhibition center are a number of other related trade fairs. One of these is parts2clean, the Leading International Trade Fair for Industrial Parts and Surface Cleaning. This show focuses on the complex cleaning processes that are an essential prerequisite for the application of industrial coatings. Then there is LASYS, the International Trade Fair for Laser Materials Processing, which showcases laser applications across all sectors of industry and for all types of materials. And finally, many users of surface treatment and finishing technology will also be on site for AUTOMOTIVE Expo, which features five trade shows covering different aspects of the automotive industry.