Measuring device: MetaScope 4

Device for measuring the plating thicknesses

The new MetaScope 4

With its hardware upgraded, our new MetaScope 4 represents a smooth new step within our string of MetaScope items. Its black housing now features a larger RPi colour display with a capacitive touch function. Its control elements have been adapted to the new 800 x 480 pixel display format, which results in a much easier handling, similar to a smartphone. The connection for the magnetic stirrer has not been changed so that existing stirrers can also be operated with the new device, too. The operating concept and the Leoni measuring algorithm remain unaltered.

Advantages

  • High accuracy in determining the exact plating thickness
  • Increase in quality
  • Process control
  • Reduced consumption of high value plating metals during production
  • Low operation cost by using standard chemical substances

Why electroplating?

To improve HF (high frequency) properties, mainly using silver

At higher frequencies electrical conductors experience a current displacement towards the surface called skin effect. In general a thick silver coating is used in high frequency applications. It is important to have a uniform plating thickness without any variations which can alter the conductor cross section and impact negatively on the conductor resistance.

To protect against oxidisation, mainly using tin and nickel

Many conductive materials form an oxide layer when exposed to a normal atmosphere. This can cause problems when the material is further processed especially when it is exposed to high temperatures, e.g. when running conductors through an extrusion line.

To improve solderabilty, mainly using silver and tin

Plated conductors are primarily used in automatic process equipment to ensure a good contact. Avoiding contact corrosion or the build up of local cells improves the fatigue life of crimp connections.

Why measuring the plating thickness?

Quality assurance

Most standards and specifications require a minimum plating thickness. These are acceptance criteria for customers and it may be necessary to demonstrate exact results.

To avoid excessive plating thicknesses

Especially when using high value precious metals it is possible to significantly optimise process costs by tightly controlling plating thicknesses.

The coulometric principle

The coulometric transfer process according to DIN EN ISO 2177

DIN EN ISO 2177 describes the exact process and required materials for the coulometric (electrochemical) measuring of various metal combinations, e.g. tin plated, nickel plated or silver plated copper. Coulometry is a method used to calculate the exact amount of plating material present by removing it using an electric current. It can be regarded as the reversal of the electroplating process.

Measuring system

A probe is immersed into a relevant electrolyte and connected to a measuring device using a test lead. As soon as the power is switched on the plating material begins to separate itself from the conductor.

To conduct the measurement the amount of electrical charge (Q) is required. This can be determined using the following equation: Q = It (As)
where Q is the amount of electricity in coulombs, I is the current in amperes and t is the time in seconds. A constant current and exact time measurement are needed to obtain accurate results.

The graph depicts a typical example for silver plated copper. The abrupt end of the gradual increase signals the total removal of the silver plating. This point, caused by a change in resistance determines the measuring time (t).

Measuring system
Measuring system
Typical graph of gradual increase
Typical graph of gradual increase

Components and assembly of MetaScope 4

MetaScope 4
MetaScope 4
  1. Power lead connector
  2. Clamp to hold probe in place
  3. Probe
  4. Glass container for electrolyte
  5. Copper cathode
  6. Measuring device with software

 

User manual MetaScope 4

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LEONI Draht GmbH Sales MetaScope 4 Treuchtlinger Straße 20 91781 Weißenburg Germany Plan travel

Phone +49 9141 918-151
Fax +49 9141 918-101
E-mail draht@leoni.com

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