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MONTHLY REVIEW


Published by the American Electroplaters Society
Publication and Editorial Office 3040 Diversey Ave., Chicago
VOL. XVI—MARCH, 1929 No. 3


EDITORIAL

Now that we have all decided to go to the annual meeting at Detroit, June 8, 9, 10, 11, 1929, and have pledged ourselves to assist the research committee in interesting our employers and outside firms to contribute the upkeep of our fellowship at the Bureau of Standards at Washington, D. C., that is progressing rapidly under .he direction of Dr. Wm. I.. Blum for the benefit of the plating industry at large. It might be opportune to also agree to aid the educational committee of the convention by giving some heed to their requests for papers and titles of same that the programs may contain the information that will firmly imprint this event on all and encourage a large attendance to our annual event.

President Horace Smith and the executive board, at this time ask branch officers and members who have this work in charge to hurry it along and please send to convention educational committee the information asked that papers may be tabulated and program finished.


REMARKS ON CHROMIUM PLATING

At Annual Banquet Chicago Branch A. E. S., Jan. 26, 1929

By Dr. O. P. Watts, U. of W. and Honorary Member A. E. S.

After four years of commercial chromium plating in the United States, with a couple of years more in Germany thrown in for good measure, it would seem that the action of the chromium solution should be as thoroughly understood as that of any other plating solution. That this is far from being so all will admit. Some of the peculiarities of the chromic acid solution, either in composition or behavior, are:

  1. The chromic acid solution has a metal concentration enormously greater than any other plating solution ever used. A nickel solution having 32 oz. of single sulphate per gallon contains 6.7 oz. of nickel, while the usual chromic acid solution of 32 oz. chromic acid contains 16.6 oz. of metal per gallon. If the metal concentration is considered in terms of chemical equivalents, that is if the amounts of metal are divided by the weights deposited at 100 per cent efficiency by equal currents, the chromium solution has 83/2 times the available metal that is in the nickel bath. But the extremely low efficiency of chromium deposition lessens still further the rate of removal of metal from the film of solution at the cathode; if this be allowed for the effective metal concentration of the chromium solution exceeds that of the above nickel solution sixty-two fold.
  2. The current density used in chromium plating exceeds many times that employed in any other plating solution. It is well, therefore, that its effective metal concentration so greatly exceeds that of other plating solutions.
  3. Insoluble anodes are used in the chromium solution, which is the case in only one other plating bath, that for the deposition of platinum—and this is not by choice as with chromium, but by necessity, because a platinum anode is insoluble in its plating bath. Because no metal is supplied from the anode, it is again well that the chromium solution has such an extremely high metal content initially. This gives it a good start in life.
  4. Chromic acid is a very strong oxidizing agent, yet hydrogen is abundantly evolved during plating. Three years ago the effect of nitrates in several plating solutions was tested in the writer’s laboratory both by adding sodium nitrate to the regular plating bath and by using metallic nitrates for .deposition. With sulphate solutions of iron and of nickel only 40 grams per liter (5.3 oz. per gal.) of sodium nitrate, a much less active oxidizing agent than chromic acid, almost completely prevented the deposition of metal and entirely suppressed evolution of hydrogen. One would naturally expect that such a great quantity of chromic acid would prevent the deposition of both chromium and hydrogen—but it does not seem to interfere in the least with either.
  5. The chromium bath is unique among plating solutions in that its metal is initially nearly all in the higher of the two valences in which it exists in this solution, and it is generally agreed that chromium is deposited only from the lower or trivalent state. This means that metal deposition takes place in two stages; first, reduction from the valence of six to three, and second, an equally big step so far as using up current is concerned, deposition of metal from the trivalent state.
    Deposition of iron from a solution of ferrous sulphate takes place with practically 100 per cent efficiency. But if one attempts to plate iron from a solution of ferric sulphate, in which the valence of iron is three instead of two, before any iron is deposited all or nearly all the metal in the film of solution in actual contact with the cathode, from which deposition takes place, must first be reduced to the ferrous state, i.e from a valence of three to two. So to deposit the same weight of iron from a ferric as from a ferrous solution requires at least 50 per cent more current. If in the ferric solution (ferric sulphate for example) an insoluble anode such as lead be used, some of the ferrous iron formed by reduction at the cathode will circulate to the anode, where it will be changed again to the ferric state. The first step toward deposition of metal, reduction to a lower valence at the cathode, is being partially undone at the anode. If the solution is stirred vigorously so that the ferrous iron formed at the cathode is all brought in contact with the anode, current may be passed indefinitely without any iron ever being deposited. Reduction at the cathode will be completely offset by oxidation at the anode.
    The chromium solution has nearly all its metal in the highest valence, an insoluble anode is used, and the solution is a self, stirrer, since the hydrogen and oxygen liberated at the electrodes furnish stirring where this is most effective. The wonder is, not that the efficiency of the chromium solution is low, but that any metal is deposited. If man tried to design a plating solution of poor efficiency he could hardly go farther in that direction than the chromic acid solution.
  6. Several experimenters have reported that chromium cannot be deposited from chemically pure chromic acid, but that a small ,quantity of chromium sulphate or some other trivalent salt must be present or be formed by the addition of some substance other than chromic acid.
  7. It is generally said that deposition of chromium occurs solely from such trivalent salt as may be present, and that the chromic acid merely serves as a reservoir to supply metal for reduction to the trivalent state. If this is true one would expect that the more metal present in the trivalent state the higher would be he efficiency, as in a mixture of ferric and ferrous salts.
    An objection urged against having much of the chromium reduced to the trivalent state is that the resistance becomes so great that too high a voltage is required to send the desired current through the solution. The fatal objection, however, to having much chromium in the trivalent state is that the efficiency of metal deposition is greatly lowered, just the opposite of what experience with other solutions would lead one to expect. A chromium solution which gave an excellent deposit was divided in half, and to one lot enough chromium sulphate was added to make the concentration of this five times that in the original solution. The two solutions were electrolyzed in series with iron cathodes of equal size. The efficiency of the original solution was 13.8, but that to which chromium sulphate had been added was only 0.3 per cent. The behavior of the chromium solution is peculiar, to state it mildly.
  8. Hydrogen can be caused to deposit at the cathode from every solution ever used for the deposition of metals by raising the cur rent density to higher and still higher values; but at low and moderate current densities many solutions deposit only metal. In these there may be said to be a preference for deposition of metal instead of hydrogen. In a few solutions the preference is for deposition of hydrogen instead of metal, and in order to deposit metal efficiently such solutions must be neutral or only faintly acidified. In the chromic acid solution the preference for deposition of hydrogen instead of metal is greater than in any other plating solution—so great that at low and moderate current densities only hydrogen is deposited.

On passing a small current through a chromium solution no action is visible at the cathode. All the current is used in reducing chromium from the hexavalent to the trivalent state. On increasing the current considerably hydrogen is presently evolved. This is because hexavalent chromium does not reach the cathode fast enough to employ all of the larger current in reduction, and so enough hydrogen is deposited to make the total chemical changes at the cathode equivalent to that calculated from Faraday’s law. On raising the current still further chromium is deposited along with hydrogen. Three actions are now going on simultaneously at the cathode: reduction of chromium from a valence of six to three, deposition of hydrogen, and reduction of chromium from a valence of three to zero, i.e. deposition of chromium. The preference among these three possible actions at the cathode is in the above order, but the distribution of current between them is affected by the current density, concentration of tri- and hexavalent chromium, the temperature, and perhaps other factors. In one experiment in which the hydrogen was collected it was found that 24 per cent of the current deposited chromium, and 59.6 per cent deposited hydrogen, leaving 16.4 per cent unaccounted for. The missing current was undoubtedly spent in reducing from the hexavalent to the trivalent state some chromium, which was swept away from the cathode by the violent stirring produced by hydrogen before it could be further reduced to metal. By the use of lead anodes this trivalent chromium is changed again to the hexavalent state. Iron anodes are not so effective in oxidizing trivalent chromium as are lead anodes, so that such trivalent chromium as is swept away from the cathode accumulates in solutions in which iron anodes are used.

A few weeks ago an attempt was made to learn something about what has most puzzled the writer in chromium plating: 1st, that neither pure chromic acid nor pure chromium sulphate will serve as a plating solution, but that a mixture of them must be used; 2nd, that the mixture must contain its chromium almost entirely in the state of highest valence, diametrically opposite to theory and experience with other plating solutions.

Since hydrogen is deposited in preference to chromium from all these solutions it was thought that the different results might be due to a greater ease of depositing hydrogen from some solutions than from others. If there is no trivalent chromium present reduction of hexavalent chromium is a necessary process and preliminary to deposition of metal. Deposition of hydrogen is a waste of current, but it is only after the preference for deposition of hydrogen has been satisfied that the residue of current can deposit metal. In the hope of finding why one solution should waste practically all current in deposition of hydrogen, while another should use considerable of the total current usefully in depositing metal, observations were made of the ”discharge potential” of hydrogen from different chromium solutions. The discharge potential of hydrogen is the polarization set up by hydrogen, and represents the opposition to deposition of more hydrogen.

The discharge of hydrogen is easier from solutions of hydrochloric and sulphuric acids, which contain many hydrogen ions, than from the sodium and potassium salts of these acids which contain few hydrogen ions. In normal solutions of the above acids and salts the discharge potential of hydrogen on the same metal is from 0.5 to 0.7 volts lower in the acid than in the salt solution. It is because of this lowering of the discharge potential of hydrogen by sulphuric acid that so little sulphuric acid may be present in nickel solutions. Much of this acid makes the deposition of hydrogen much easier than the deposition of nickel so that little or no metal is deposited.

The discharge potential of hydrogen was measured on polished copper cathodes in Sargent’s solution, 250 g. chromic acid and 4 g. chromium sulphate per liter, in the same to which 200 g. chromium sulphate per liter had been added, in C. P. chromic acid, 250 g. per liter, and in pure chromium sulphate, 200 g. per liter. Besides the discharge potentials, which should be taken as approximations rather than exact values, minimum current densities are given for the deposition of hydrogen and chromium.

 
Current density required for deposition of
 
D. P. of H.
Hydrogen
Amp/dm2
Amp/ft2

Chromium
Amp/dm2

Amp/ft2
Sargent bath
+0.110
.....
....
....
....
” plus Cr-sulp.
–0.660
10
93
40+
362+
Cr-sulphate
–0.073
0.09
0.8
1
93–
C.P. chromic acid
0.114
0.15
1.4
16+
150+

The discharge potential of hydrogen from the different solutions agrees well with their performance in plating. It is known that chemically pure chromic acid or sulphate alone deposits mainly hydrogen, and that any considerable increase of chromium sulphate in the Sargent solution produces a similar result. It is seen from the column marked D. P. of H. that the polarization, or opposition to deposition of hydrogen, is much greater in the Sargent than in any other solution, so that the Sargent solution ought to deposit less hydrogen and more metal than any of the other three solutions, as it does.

The current densities required for deposition of hydrogen tell an interesting story. In the Sargent-plus-sulphate solution the large current density required for deposition of hydrogen to begin means that the preference is for reduction of hexavalent chromium and that much current is used in this before any of the current deposits hydrogen.

The extremely low current density at which hydrogen appears in the chromium sulphate solution might be expected, since the only reduction possible here is from trivalent chromium to metal, and as has been pointed out before, this does not occur in chromium solutions until after deposition of much hydrogen.

The low current density at which hydrogen deposits from the pure chromic acid solution is surprising. In spite of a great concentration of hexavalent chromium almost no current is employed in its reduction at a copper cathode at low current density. Cathodes of other metals might show different results. Where the amperes for deposition of chromium are followed by a plus sign, these are the current densities at which chromium first appears, and higher densities would be needed to cover the cathode completely.

During the past year a number of minor investigations connected with chromium plating have been carried out, and although most of these merely confirm the statements or results of others, a few may be new to some members here.

The Effect of Stirring.—In general stirring may be expected to have two effects in plating: 1st, to permit the use of higher currents without burning than can be employed in still solutions; 2nd, to change the efficiency, if this is not already 100 per cent.

Two types of stirring were tried: rotating a cylindrical cathode at 900 R.P.M., and the use of a propeller wheel at about the same speed. In each test the cells with the still and stirred solutions were connected in series electrically and the temperature was the same for each test, although it varied from 104° to 116° F. in different tests. With the rotating cathode the efficiency of metal deposition was increased about 3 per cent, while with mechanical stirring there was a slight lowering of efficiency. The deposits were equally bright and good. Stirring by the propeller was tried over a wide range of current density but no difference between plating in the still and stirred solutions could be detected. The only explanation offered for the unexpected results is that the violent evolution of hydrogen on the cathode was stirring the ”still” solution so effectively that the added mechanical stirring had no measurable effect.

The Difficulty in Plating Rough Spots.—In the plating of brass, either from the use of too small a current or irregularity in shape of the object, it sometimes happens that one or more spots are not covered with chromium at once, in which case an excessive increase in current is necessary to cover the bare spots. Examination shows that the exposed brass has been corroded by the solution and roughened.

In order to deposit hydrogen from acids or form solutions of sodium or potassium salts by the electric current there is an opposing force, polarization, which must be overcome. This polarization lessens with increase in concentration of hydrogen ions in the electrolyte, and is therefore least in fairly strong solutions of sulphuric and hydrochloric acids, and varies for different metal cathodes, being highest on mercury and least on platinum. It also varies with the smoothness of the metal surface, being less on rough than on smooth surfaces. It was thought that this phenomenon might explain the difficulty of plating rough spots, hut attempts to measure the ”discharge potential of hydrogen”—the potential of the cathode when hydrogen first appears—from a chromium plating solution, gave such contradictory values that further experiments were abandoned, with a verdict of not-proven.

Effect of Annealing Chromium Plate.—The hardness and brittleness of electro-deposits of iron and nickel are lessened by heating to redness, and it was thought that similar effects might be produced on chromium plate. A 48-hour deposit of chromium on a thin sheet of copper tested #89 on the Shore scleroscope, but after annealing at a red heat for 15 minutes tested only #36. It is evident that one of the useful properties of chromium plate, viz., its resistance to abrasion, is lost by heating to high temperatures.

Effect of Superimposing Alternating on Direct Current.—During the last ten years many claims have been put forward for the beneficial effect of using alternating current superimposed on direct current for particular cases of electrolysis, and a number of patents have been taken out for such use. Information that this combination gave better results than direct current alone in chromium plating proved incorrect. No improvement could be found.

Use of Kerosene to Prevent Fumes.—A layer of kerosene has been used for many years to prevent foaming or spray from industrial solutions, and several persons have recommended its use in chromium plating. The writer has tried it and recommends it for temporary use where the expense of an exhaust system is not warranted. One would expect that passing articles through the kerosene would prevent adherence of the deposit, but there is no trouble on this score. The violent evolution of hydrogen that accompanies deposition of chromium makes the chromic acid bath one of the best combined cleaning-and-plating solutions so far used. It should be remembered that not only is kerosene inflammable, but the bubbles that come from the cathode are filled with hydrogen and those from the anodes with oxygen, and when the two mingle there is danger of a violent explosion if the mixture is ignited. Breaking of the circuit should be done at the switch and not at the cathode rod! No heavy oil should be mixed with the kerosene else it may not be wholly removed by the hydrogen and cause spots bare of chromium, and also by an increased viscosity make a dangerous foam on the surface of the bath.

Determination of Current Efficiency.—When platinum is not available as the cathode on which to deposit metal for finding the efficiency of deposition, copper is usually used, and several investigators have used copper cathodes in the chromium solution. Copper is unsuited for this use in the chromium solution since it is attacked. Iron or steel cathodes should be used instead.

Stripping Chromium Plate.—Chromium plate is easily stripped either by use as anode in a chromium solution kept for this purpose, or by the use of hydrochloric acid. The first method may he used for stripping from iron or nickel plate without injury to the finish, but in stripping chromium from copper and brass there will be attack of these metals if the article is left in the lath too long. The writer prefers hydrochloric acid for stripping chromium from copper or brass, and if about 2 volumes per hundred of formalin be added, chromium plate may be stripped from steel without marring the polish. Various dilutions of commercial hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid) have been recommended, and almost any strength may be used, but the more dilute the acid, the slower its action. The pickle used for stripping chromium from steel must be free from copper.

Use of the Doctor.—In the old days when articles were plated by the dozen instead of by thousands as at present, and a large percentage of the day’s output received individual attention from the plater, the ”doctor” was often called on to save replating some article which had failed to cover in one or two spots. For the benefit of the younger members present, who probably have never heard of a plating doctor, it may be well to say that the doctor referred to consists of a small anode wrapped in cloth or a piece of sponge. This is dipped in the plating solution, connected to the anode rod by a wire and touched to the bare spots on the object, which is connected to the cathode rod through a suitable rheostat. Such old time doctoring was unsatisfactory for it did little more than give the color of metal, for where the original plating had taken an hour or more, the plater had neither the time nor patience to put on more than a fraction of this thickness with the doctor.

Because of the short time required for ordinary chromium deposits, chromium plating lends itself especially well to use of the doctor and because of poor throwing power needs its application more frequently than any other electroplate. Two minutes use of the doctor puts on a deposit of chromium quite as heavy in most cases as the original plate. Because of the oxidizing power of the chromium solution the chromium doctor needs a suit of asbestos clothes instead of the cotton worn by the old-time plating doctor. The writer uses a strip of lead or steel covered with asbestos sheet tied on with asbestos twine.

Dept. of Chemical Engineering, University of Wisconsin.


NEW THOUGHTS AND THEIR APPLICATION IN THE LACQUER INDUSTRY

By Mr. Leo Roon, M.Sc., Technical Director, Roxalin Flexible Lacquer Co., Long Island City, N. Y.

MR. LEO ROON: ”When I sent the title of the proposed paper forward to Mr. Barrows, I must have been in a particularly ambitious frame of mind. I did not realize for the moment the broadness of the scope. Therefore, with due humility to the vastness of my subject and in consideration of the short time allotted me, I propose to speak at this meeting on flexibility, just one little thought, very important, though much neglected.

In many industries flexibility and adhesion need have nothing to do with one another, but in your particular field, the metal industry, they should and must be united to yield the results which we all seek. We have prepared several metal plates to illustrate different types of flexibility and adhesion commonly found in practice.

Plate No. 1. You will note that the yellow pigmented lacquer peels off readily in sheets, but these sheets themselves are perfectly flexible and the film itself is tough. This is an illustration of flexibility with toughness without adhesion.

Plate No. 2. This yellow pigmented lacquer is soft, and will remain so. Your finger nail takes it off like cheese, but it is flexible and sticks well to the metal. The old timers will never forget the old castor oil bottle or can. A little flaking, then the bottle, and if the dose was too much, this shows what happened. So we have here an illustration of flexibility without toughness or wearability with adhesion.

Plate No. 3. This yellow pigmented lacquer looks good, but on bending the plate, the finish cracks. Scrape it with a knife and it flies off. The older it gets the more brittle the finish is satisfactory for cheap work where color coating to last until it reaches the consumer is sufficient. That is a common condition of temporary flexibility, temporary adhesion.

Plate No. 4. This is also a yellow pigmented lacquer but so formulated that you can bend it any number of times in the one place, in fact, until the metal cracks, but the finish does not chip or flake. It has toughness to the point that it can be readily buffed with rag wheel and limestick as you will note on these compacts.

This same type lacquer has perfect adhesion to glass as you will note from these glass articles, and the finish feels as hard as the glass itself.

You will also note from these metal pieces that stamping and drawing operations do not affect the adhesion. Tests show that these brass pieces can be stamped and drawn again after a lapse of one and a half years, and so we may say that lacquers formulated in this manner possess ideal properties for metal finishes as they combine permanent flexibility, permanent toughness, and permanent adhesion.

The sample plates were done in pigmented lacquer so that they could be seen readily, but the same situation applies in the clear lacquers, and we have several practical applications shown here.

A simple method for determining whether a lacquer will stand a stamping and drawing is to place the finished piece in an acid copper plating bath, then rinse dry and examine for copper deposited on the lacquered face. If the color of the metal makes it difficult to detect, dip the piece in a cold sulphide solution and the black copper sulphide will be readily detected if the lacquer film has failed.

Please bear in mind, however, that while this type of lacquer has this adhesion to a wide variety of metals, and thereby eliminates the necessity of stacking two to four different types of lacquer, and reduces the chance for error on the part of the operator, it is not a cure-all or a magical substance.

The fact is, that the requirements of manufacturers even in the same industry vary considerably. Their local conditions of preparation of their work, spraying, handling, drying, etc., vary even more, and in the proper formulation of lacquers, therefore, the individual requirements must be taken into consideration from the scientific and practical ends, if you wish to get the lest possible results. If your lacquer man understands the theoretical phase of his work and feels at home in a pair of overalls, he can understand your plant operating conditions. Consult him as you would your physician or attorney, tell him the whole truth, let him diagnose and prescribe, keeping in confidence such phases of your work as you specify.

Studies of such nature have made possible unusual developments such as you see here, and there are many others which we were unable to get permission to show, as the manufacturers asked to keep them confidential.

Like the rest of us whose business it is to work, eat, sleep and even dream of lacquer in all its diversifications, I am thoroughly imbued with the fact that lacquer manufacturers have only scratched the surface in the field of protective and decorative coatings. May I, therefore, say a word in conclusion to any purchasing agent, superintendent, or foreman here who may be classified as hard-boiled by the swarm of lacquer salesmen who call on him. These points are:

  1. The biggest developments in the lacquer industry have been made principally in the last five years.
  2. Bigger and finer developments in this infant industry are bound to come from progressive lacquer houses.
  3. Progressive consumers of lacquer will get the first benefits of co-operation with progressive lacquer manufacturers, the others will follow.
  4. Therefore if a lacquer salesman shows you something really new and different, please don’t give him any one of the ten accepted stalls known to all lacquer men, but listen to him, sift him out from the others and give him the opportunity to prove his claims in a practical way. There is every chance that you will both benefit by such an evidence of progressivism. (Applause.)

CHAIRMAN SMITH: Is there any question you would like to ask Mr. Roon ?

MR. SERGENT: Does the different colored pigment have any effect on adhesion?

MR. ROON: It does to a degree, but that is merely one factor.

QUESTION: I would like to ask Mr. Roon if the glass articles are all primarily coated before pigment lacquered.

MR. ROON: No, all the pieces you see are given one coat of lacquer directly on the glass. No prime coat is applied at all.

MR. GRUND: I would like to ask how the adhesion holds to a cadmium plated surface.

MR. ROON: We have never tried it. I would be very glad, however, if you would like to submit pieces of cadmium plated metal to use, we will work on that particular proposition.

QUESTION: How much heat does lacquer take without discoloration ?

MR. ROON: I would say if you were to heat these lacquers here for a period of a couple of hours at 150 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit, there would be no discoloration. These are not heat resisting lacquers by any means, and we don’t claim that they are such but there are heat resisting lacquers made both in the clear and pigmented lacquers to meet those conditions.

MR. KENNEDY: I would like to ask if any previous chemical treatment is necessary before the application of this lacquer.

MR. ROON: No, sir, no chemical treatment other than to be absolutely sure that your metal is clean and free from grease and dirt.


THE PLATERS’ POSITION IN PURCHASING

By Mr. Van Straaten, of the International Chemical Co., of Philadelphia

We all know that in the past few years there have been very many developments in the science of electro-plating, and that the researches of the scientists have brought many important developments. It is very interesting, though, to look back upon them and note their importance and results. As to their importance we can have very little doubt but as to the results, many questions might be raised, chiefly due to the query as to whether or not the plater is benefiting to the highest possible degree from these developments. In other words, are these new discoveries actually reaching the man who is most interested in their use and application ?

The plater has three possible sources of information as to the use and development of new materials: the scientist, the brother plater, and those firms that specialize in furnishing the plating industry with its material and equipment; the scientist and the -plater disseminate their information through trade journals, personal contact and conventions; the plating supply house, on the other hand, is entirely dependent upon its advertising and its salesmen. The scientific development work of some of these supply houses is just as important in the field of plating and manufacturing as those of the unattached pure scientist. Many of then retain large research staffs and especially trained men purely for the purpose of making new discoveries, finding new materials and new ideas for your exclusive use. It is very true, however, that despite all that they do for you in the minds of many platers the developments of these houses are looked upon with less respect than the developments of the scientist or the plater. It is unfortunate, but in many cases we find that it is true.

There are probably two reasons for this: one, the fact that in the mind of the plater it cannot be overlooked that the supply house in bringing forth a new material or a new idea is undoubtedly impelled by the hope of financial gain.

The second is that in the past the much flaunted developments of some of these houses have proven to be flat failures.

In regard to the first influence that the supply house in bringing forth a new material is doing so in the hope of financial gain, it is perfectly true. They are. But that very same thing applies to the house with which the plater is associated, and makes the development and the discovery none the less meritorious. These firms spend large sums of money to retain their prestige and their years of standing, and they are very jealous of those assets and will do everything possible to justify the confidence placed in their name. That being so, there is no reason in the world why their discoveries and the things they are bringing forth should not be just as important and just as valuable to the plater or to the firm that they are trying to introduce this idea, as those of the unattached scientist or those of the brother plater.

In regard to the second influence, as to past experiences on the part of these people, it is true that in the past there have been many failures; even today it is a very common thing for a representative of a house to walk in to a firm to sell them, glorifying his product with his flags flying and his drums beating that may or may not have merit, and I think most of you are thinking of past experiences and saying ”mostly not.” But it is a very serious question, and it is very important and it does require and need a great amount of your thought.

Each and every one of you are vitally interested in any new developments that may help you to improve your conditions or to make your work easier and reduce your operating cost in every possible respect.

Yet, past experiences have caused you to despair of present-day claims of many representatives. You have despaired to the point of throwing up barriers, harriers in your own minds in the form of doubts and physical barriers in the form of preventing your being seen by these representatives in most cases. Your associate purchasing agent and in many cases the superintendent has also developed these barriers. Great doubts exist in their minds as to claims that are today being made regarding new discoveries and new developments. The only danger that possibly arises is this: isn’t it possible that with that state of mind existing, you may in many cases overlook and pass up a very good idea or material that would help you a great deal and be of great value to you? That, briefly, is the problem that exists. You recognize it, and I will say very frankly I don’t blame you a bit. You are perfectly right in feeling as you do. At the same time though I believe you will agree with me from your part that it is a very serious problem and if possible something should be done to correct it.

Up until the last decade the plater saw every supply man that came into the plant. He was welcome, due to the information he had to give. The development of the science of plating in the States was greatly due to the supply man because he carried information from plant to plant as to what was being done in other plants, and thus aided everybody and everyone benefited. But, during the past ten or fifteen years there came the era of the purchasing agent, really an outgrowth of the war.

He states on one side that he does all of the buying, that he orders whatever the plater requests. However, this question arises, if he is averse, as in many cases, to allowing the plater to see the supply man and being interviewed by him, we wonder how it is possible for the plater to be fully aware of the best things for his needs, for it is an undisputed fact that the scientific development of plating or any other operation can only be clearly presented and understood by the plater and not through second-hand information as would be the case in transmitting such developments through the purchasing agent.

I have discussed this problem with numerous platers and purchasing agents. They admit it is unfortunate. They feel that much could be accomplished if they could place the necessary amount of confidence in the sincerity of the representative that is calling upon them.

This opens up a nice question that was discussed with me by several supply men and platers just within the past two or three days. I don’t intend going into it as to the question of ethics of the supply salesman. That is something that rests entirely with the management of the supply house. It is up to them to see that their representatives are properly equipped to properly present whatever message or information they may have to the house that they are trying to help. The answer as far as we are concerned logically seems to be: a basis of mutual understanding and respect on the part of the purchasing agent, the plater and the representative of the supply house. When the purchasing agent realizes that he is dealing with a firm, this representative upon whom he can depend, he will without a doubt allow this representative and this plater to discuss their problems and arrive at some satisfactory solution of them. That is rightly so.

The plater is the responsible party, and being responsible for the work should be just as well informed and have the right to dictate what he wants the same as any other executive.

To benefit from the advantage of the supply house whose confidence he has, the plater should have an understanding with his superintendent, production manager, or purchasing agent that whenever such a representative his firm he will calls upon be allowed to interview him. It will be of use. All progress is beset with disadvantages. The transition from that period in which the plater interviewed everyone to the condition which exists generally today, from which it is almost impossible to see him, is a great one, and only time will safely correct it. The plater owes it to himself, to the science of plating, and to the firm with which he is associated to instill mutual trust in himself and in the purchasing agent so that the boss will be impressed with the fact that the plater should and must see the representative supply men.

In the field in which I am active many problems constantly present themselves. If it were possible to develop a cure-all cleaner, these problems would never exist. But we all know and feel that day never will come. In the cleaning field the problem, though, of new developments at this particular time, very vital, due to the fact that cleaning every day is becoming more complicated. The cry for production, the lowering of costs, the use of new metals in which we are having the trouble of spotting out’ the handling of particularly soft metals, such as aluminum, zinc die casting, cause it every day to become more and more a problem and question.

There have been brought on the market in recent months materials used for the purpose of cleaning that have never been seen before. They have made very rapid strides. More research is being done along those lines, and I dare say that with the field open today in the next twelve months there will be brought to the attention of the platers new methods of cleaning metals that a year or two years ago we would have thought to be impossible. The handling of soft metals has been greatly improved. It will be improved more than that within a very short time. The handling of metals, very difficult and heavy oils, and greases, removing them in a very quick time in comparison to the time that it has been done in the past, great strides have been made on that.

Just from that angle in the field in which I am active, not even considering the developments of other supply houses, of which there are many, brings that problem to a focal point and should impress upon us all the necessity of some methods whereby the developments of these houses are brought just as clearly to your attention as the developments of the scientist or the plater. It is very necessary for the reason that they are very important in their field. A healthy relationship and only that will serve to bring these and all similar developments to your attention, and all that I or anyone else can ask is that you give it some thought and try and establish a more healthy relationship than has existed in the past. I thank you very much.


 



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