The Story of a Project

Based on Paper delivered at Institute of Metal Finisher IMFair Conference 16 June 2011

The story of the project started when a long term client GammaScience set up a custom Spray “Chrome” facility in Kent based upon technology and materials bought from a company based in the united states, as well as becoming the UK agent for the system. It soon became apparent that the system as purchased did not work reliably and that the vendors were either unable or unwilling to help. After struggling for nearly a year with the process and at the point that they were about to abandon it completely a The Gamma Science partnership was asked to look into the problem and if possible recommend solutions.

Spray Chroming is a system involving both traditional spray painting techniques as well a process using a multi head spray gun to cause metallic silver, used in preference to carcinogenic hexavalent chromium, to be deposited on the workpiece's surface. The result resembling chromium plating. In fact it is modifications of the Brashear's Process which has been in use for many years for the manufacture of decorative mirrors. The other “fact” that we learned very quickly was that Spray “Chrome” Systems have an unenviable reputation for unreliability. It was therefore with some trepidation we approached the problem.

The first stage of the project was, of course, to investigate what was actually happening on site. Over the next couple of weeks we observed a number of metallisation sessions during which there seemed no rhyme or reason to which batches or in some cases items within a batch were successfully metallised and which failed. Failures came in many forms and some times even when all the working parameters appeared to be unchanged from a previous successful metallisation.