Empowering Our Customers to Be Heard
AST is a high quality metal finishing company that specializes in electroless nickel plating, gold plating, silver plating, plating on magnesium, tin plating, electrolytic nickel plating, passivation and chemical conversion coatings. A large percentage of AST’s customers are OEM’s and high end machine shops that have stringent quality requirements.
One of our clients, a provider of voice pick-up and radio transmitters in the performing arts industry, came to us with a challenge they have been facing for years. They were producing voice transmitters with black anodized coating. However, anodize is aluminum oxide which is an electric insulator, so the components couldn’t properly ground. To combat this, they were using masking in some areas of the component to allow for grounding, but this created oxidation in the bare spots, which only increased corrosion and decreased quality. They needed plating that would allow grounding, avoid corrosion, and black color to blend in with clothing and avoid light reflection. This was a plating and cosmetic issue—so the fix called not only for the right material but also the right color. We turned to a newer plating system, electroless black nickel, which is conductive so it allows for grounding. Now, we just needed to get the color right. This was no easy task because certain chemical concentrations have to be present with the right parameters for the coloring to be dark enough. After a couple months of process development and testing (and working side-by-side with the vendor), we created a great solution that met all of our customer’s requirements. By putting our expertise to work in new creative ways, we were able to produce a product that solved all three points of this performing arts dilemma, resulting in one of the highest quality radio transmitters on the market along with pioneering a new process for electroless black nickel connectivity.
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