Toyota – new plating technology for electronic parts delivers significant reductions in water use
- July 6, 2020
- Posted by: Elaine Coles
- Category: Companies, Engineering, Environmental, Technology & Innovation
Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) has developed new plating technology that reduces the environmental impact of the process used in the manufacture of electronic parts.
In the new system, metal ions pass through a polymer membrane (solid electrolyte membrane) to apply plating like a stamp, exclusively to those areas which require plating. The technology is used in the plating process for forming copper, nickel, and other metal coatings on substrates.
Amounts of water typically involved in the existing wash processes vary with each plant and process -with the new process, the amount of cleaning water can be significantly reduced.
The new technology also means that hazardous and toxic substances in the form of metals, chemicals, additives etc used in existing processes will also be reduced, including metal ions and organic compounds contained in the plating solution.
Toyota has been working with Mikado Technos and Kanematsu Corporation to manufacture and sell new plating machines based on the new technology, which became available on 1st July.
The new stamping-type plating machine eliminates the dipping process currently required in the most common plating techniques, where parts have to be immersed in multiple baths of plating solution. This dramatically reduces the waste solution to about one-thirtieth and CO2 emissions to about one-third of previous levels. As well as this significant reduction in environmental impact. the technology also reduces plating time.
In the conventional plating process, substrates are completely immersed in solutions of copper, nickel or other plating metal. This requires multiple large baths for dipping the complete substrates, and substrate washing processes before and after plating. Large amounts of plating solution have to be used, because the complete substrates have to be immersed, creating waste. The extensive process also requires equipment for removing toxic substances released into the air and treating the waste solution.
The significant environmental benefits the new technology delivers have prompted Toyota to launch the new stamping-type plating machine and expand its use beyond its automotive manufacturing partners to many other companies in a range of industries.
Specifically, Toyota is supporting vacuum press manufacturer Mikado Technos with patents and expertise. The company has incorporated its own technologies to develop and manufacture a stamping-type plating machine for sale through Kanematsu.
Over the next two to three years, Toyota hopes to market the new equipment for use as a test machine for verification and evaluation purposes. Beyond that time, it will expand its sales to encourage its more widespread use as a full production machine.
The Plant Zero CO2 Emissions Challenge is part of the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, an initiative to contribute to the creation of a sustainable society.