Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Electroplating Tools

A tool for electroplating is a portion of the surface of each of a plurality of holes, and a second plate having a plurality of retaining elements. As like on a drawing each of the holes is configured to receive a piece that is to be electroplated, and to mask a portion of the surface and expose another portion of the surface of the piece. The first and the second plates are held together, and a mechanism is provided for shifting one of the plates with respect to the other between a first orientation in which the retaining elements are disengaged from pieces received in the holes and a second orientation in which the retaining elements are engaged with pieces received in the holes. This arrangement allows the pieces to be quickly and easily retained for an electroplating operation and released after the electroplating operation.
Its sometimes desirable to electroplate selected surfaces of a small component or part (e.g. valve component). This may be desirable in order to provide a functional and/or esthetic plating on the selected surfaces.

There are several electroplating problems associated with economically electroplating surfaces of a multiplicity of small parts simultaneously. A problem that must be considered during design of an electroplating tool for holding a large number of small parts during an electroplating process is how to provide good electrical contact with each of the parts without having to carefully align or attach electrical contacts individually to each of the parts. Another problem that must be considered is how to firmly hold each of the parts on the tool during the electroplating process. There is also some difficulty associated with achieving uniform plating thickness for a large number of parts held on a single electroplating tool. Specifically, there is a tendency for heavier plating to occur on surface exposed to higher current densities.

It would be desirable to provide an electroplating tool that is capable of quickly locking each of a large number of individual parts on the tool in a simple operation. It would also be desirable to provide a tool that is capable of establishing a good electrical connection with each of the parts in a simple operation. Features that allow modification of the local current density would also be desirable to achieve more uniform plating thickness for each and among all parts.

Google