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New plating technology reduces environmental impact

A new technology reduces the environmental impact of the plating process that’s used in the manufacture of various components


oyota has developed a new plating technology that reduces the environmental impact of the process that’s used in the

manufacture of various components. In the new system, metal ions pass through a polymer membrane (solid electrolyte membrane) to apply plating like a stamp, exclusively to those areas that require plating. The technology is used in the plating process for forming copper, nickel and other metal coatings. Toyota is working with Mikado Technos and Kanematsu Corporation to manufacture and sell new plating machines based on this new technology, to encourage its adoption. The machines are available now.

Improved process

The new stamping-type plating machine eliminates the dipping process currently required in the most common plating techniques, where parts have to be immersed in multiple baths of plating solution. This dramatically reduces the waste solution to about one-thirtieth and CO2

emissions to about one-third of

previous levels. As well as this signifi cant reduction in environmental impact, the technology also reduces plating time. The new stamping-type plating machine has a head section in which the upper part is fi lled with solution. A solid electrolyte membrane through which the metal ions pass is mounted on the tip of the head, which is then pressed against the area to be plated. The structure allows the membrane to be applied only to that part of the substrate that requires plating. When an electric current is activated, a metal fi lm (plating) is applied like a stamp to the area in contact with the membrane. In the conventional plating process, substrates are completely immersed in solutions of copper, nickel or other plating metal. This requires multiple large baths for dipping the complete substrates, and substrate washing processes before and after plating. Large amounts of plating solution have to be used, because the complete substrates have to be immersed,

12 July/August 2020 | Automation

creating waste. The extensive process also requires equipment for removing toxic substances released into the air and treating the waste solution.

Applications The environmental benefi ts prompted Toyota to launch the new stamping-type

Toyota stamping-type plating machine

plating machine and expand its use beyond automotive manufacturing to a range of other industries. Specifi cally, Toyota is supporting vacuum press manufacturer Mikado Technos with patents and expertise. This company has incorporated its own technologies to develop and manufacture a stamping-type plating machine for sale through Kanematsu. Over the next two to three years, Toyota hopes to market the new equipment for use as a test machine for verifi cation and evaluation purposes. Beyond that time, it will expand its sales to encourage its more widespread use as a full production machine.

The Plant Zero CO2 Emissions Challenge is

part of the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, an initiative to contribute to the creation of a sustainable society. This is one of the United Nations’ SDG international goals. The Toyota Group will work to fulfi l this challenge, adopting stamped plating machines within its businesses and steadily reducing the amount of CO2

it emits during its production processes. CONTACT: Conventional plating process


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