This project focused on elimination of toxic/carcinogenic cadmium (Cd) material for brush plating repair operations, and reduction of solid waste associated with adsorbents used to contain solution leakage attributed with traditional brush plating repair processes. The program technical objectives were as follows:
- Demonstrate the Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) Dalistick Station for selective brush plating in Department of Defense maintenance, repair, and overhaul operations.
- Test and evaluate the COTS Zinidal Aero zinc-nickel (Zn-Ni) brush plated coating as a Cd replacement on weapon systems parts and components.
The Dalistick D.2020 station (Dalistick Station) is a closed loop electroplating system that enables selective electrochemical treatments (anodizing, electroplating, and surface preparation). The Dalistick D.2020 has been designed to control electrochemical surface treatments in regards to the electrolyte (constant flow, temperature control, display of usage rate, display of consumable life) and the electroplating process (voltage control, process control according to the required current.) The Zinidal Aero Zn-Ni brush plated coating is a possible replacement for Cd brush plating which will not embrittle high strength steels.
The Zinidal Aero Zn-Ni solution has comparable performance to qualified Zn-Ni brush plating solutions in many categories including appearance, thickness, composition uniformity, corrosion resistance, and plating adhesion. However the solution does not consistently pass hydrogen embrittlement testing, paint adhesion, or SO2 resistance. The Dalistick D.2020 station provides excellent control of the plating process and produces very consistent results.
A sustainability analysis was performed which shows a 15 year lifecycle cost of the station is slightly greater than traditional Cd brush plating as seen in the table below.
A successful technology demonstration took place in February of 2020. No major implementation issues were found during the technology demonstration and no findings from the demonstration are expected to change the sustainability analysis previously performed. Recent software updates has made the station itself more user friendly and decreased repair times. The largest limitation to implementation is with the Zinidal Aero Zn-Ni solution which does not meet or exceed cadmium brush plating performance in all instances.