Competence

State-of-the-art tin-plating line
in Weissenburg sets new benchmark

Tin-plating line at plant Weißenburg
Tin-plating line at plant Weißenburg

The new tin-plating line at our Weissenburg location was commissioned in June 2014 in order to be able to feed tin-plated redraw of the finest quality into the downstream stages on the premises.

It has a capacity that allows for wires between 1.4 mm and 3.20 mm to be processed in an all-encompassing state-of-the-art fashion and can handle plating thicknesses between 1.5 µm to 21 µm. Adjusting amperage and throughput speed has almost been entirely automated on the basis of wire size and desired plating thickness. During the plating procedure, top-notch centricity of the coating is guaranteed at all times.

All processes inside and around the new tin-plating line are geared towards manufacturing first-class products only. A whole number of monitoring mechanisms has been implemented so as to ensure that the machine operates flawlessly while all relevant parameters are continuously controlled.


Galvanisation – technology

Galvanisation
Galvanisation

The technology of galvanisation was named after Luigi Galvani, an Italian physician and scholar, who made some important observations as early as the18th century. He is considered as the discoverer of galvanic electricity.

The galvanisation technology (in this context also known as electroplating) deals with the electrochemical precipitation of objects carrying metallic coatings. Both coating material (e.g. tin, nickel, gold or silver) and base material are treated by way of immersion into an electrolytic bath. An electric circuit (DC) needs to be set up, with the coating material connected to its positive pole (anode, e.g. silver pellets) and the base material connected to its negative pole (cathode e.g. copper wire). At the point of the current beginning to flow metal ions are detached from the coating material. They suffuse the electrolytic bath and settle on the base material.


Galvanisation – purpose

There are basically two areas where galvanic plating is applied:

”Decorative Galvanisation“

This term comprises all those applications that aim at optically embellishing an object. While tubular steel furniture or parts of motor vehicles are chrome-plated, jewellery or cutlery are often gold-plated or silver-plated.

Lyonese Wares, i.e. single wire, threads, flat wire, bouillon and pearl are frequently gold-plated or silver-plated. Their fabrication moved to Nuremberg in the 16th century and this is where the origins of the LEONI corporation are to be found. To this day these products are manufactured at our Weissenburg location and they are used for fine pieces of sacral embroidery or in the traditional textile industry, not to forget decorative applications in the fields of crafts, floristics and creatives.

Decorative Galvanisation
Decorative Galvanisation

All these applications do require surfaces that are visually perfect. Any kind of shading, blemish or flake has to be avoided. At the same time, we have to try and consume as little coating material as possible in order to remain cost-efficient.

”Functional Galvanisation“

This field revolves around improving the functionality of a product. Tin or nickel coatings prevent oxidation, which would hamper downstream processing of electrical conductors in particular. At the extruding stage, for example, high temperatures constitute a critical process parameter.

Another phenomenon galvanic coating averts apart from oxidation is corrosion.

The use of silver or tin as a plating material enhances the solderability of wires, which is of particular importance when it comes to automated processes. By avoiding galvanic corrosion or the formation of local cells, the durability of crimp connectors will be increased as well.


Tin used in electroplating

Technical properties of tin

  • Heavy metal
  • Chemical element
  • Chemical symbol “Sn“
  • Density 5.769 g/cm³ (bei 20 °C) (α-tin)
    Density 7.265 g/cm³ (bei 20 °C) (β-tin)
  • Melting point 505.08 K (231.93 °C)
  • Electrical conductivity 8.69 * 106 A/(V*m)
  • Good malleability
  • Non-toxic, even with larger quantities
  • Very low melting point
Tin at the periodic table
Tin at the periodic table

Fields of application for tin

Copper wires are mainly tin-plated in order to prevent environment-driven corrosion. Signal and heating cables are prominent examples of products that have to meet advanced requirements in case AdBlue® emission control is applied since it uses extremely aggressive urea that would severely affect bare copper.

Better solderability is another reason for electroplating, which gains particular importance whenever automated procedures come into play. Avoiding contact corrosion and the formation of local cells enhances the durability of crimp connectors.


Benefits of our new tin-plating line

LEONI boasts many years of experience in electro-plating wires. Its newest addition in this field, the new state-of-the-art tin-plating line leads to a concentration of know-how and a further strengthening of our competence center for drawing and electroplating. You can now select from four locations (in the US, the UK, China and Germany) if you require electro-plated products. This translates into greater flexibility und process stability, with delivery times being shortened in addition.
Whether the goal is better surface protection or solderability – our new tinning line allows us to provide you with customized tin-plated products of the finest quality.


For source information

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Just in case we have not yet supplied you with tin-plated wires or strands, feel free to send us your product specification and we will be happy to undergo a product qualification.

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