Spouted Bed Electrode Plating ProcessComponents for the electronics industry continue to get smaller and smaller as devices also decrease in size. Just think – smart phones, tablets, cameras, etc. Due to their tiny size, many of these parts can’t be properly plated using conventional methods. This is where Spouted Bed Electrode® (SBE®) plating comes in.

SBE is a plating process that was developed and introduced by Technic Inc. about 20 years ago. It was specifically designed for plating miniature and flat parts that would present challenges for barrel or vibratory plating. It also works well with parts that have counter bores, tabs, and difficult geometry.

So, how does it work? A SBE unit consists of a vertical cylinder with a conical bottom that serves as the plating chamber. Plating solution enters the vessel as a high-velocity jet and moves the parts upward to a deflector plate. Parts then travel outward and down to the conical portion of the unit where plating takes place. As a result, small parts are plated very evenly.

There are many advantages to using SBE:

  • Solution exchange rate is enhanced due to the jet velocity and the chance of plating with depleted solution is greatly reduced.
  • A uniform current density is maintained because the distance between the anode and cathode remains the same throughout the process. This allows for better thickness distribution between parts.
  • There are no doors or seams where parts can become entrapped, resulting in over-plated parts or some with no plating at all. This factor, coupled with the jet velocity, ensures that components will not clump, couple or twin during the process.

The only real disadvantage to SBE plating is the volume of parts that can be plated in the chamber. Load volume can range from 50 to 500 ml. But remember, this process was designed to plate small to very small parts.

If you are looking to plate miniature parts that require a uniform plate, consider SBE as the better alternative to conventional plating methods. It’s an efficient process that delivers a quality and consistent finish across the entire run.

Spouted Bed Electrode® and (SBE®) are registered trademarks of Technic Inc.