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InlinePlat - Innovation in metal coating through automatic high speed electroplating units, process intensification and closed water cycles fully integrated with mechanical manufacturing lines

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - InlinePlat (InlinePlat - Innovation in metal coating through automatic high speed electroplating units, process intensification and closed water cycles fully integrated with mechanical manufacturing lines)

Reporting period: 2014-11-01 to 2015-04-30

By realising very high process intensification of the electrochemical metal deposition process, the innovation project aims to develop and bring to market modular, fully automated production units for electroplating of mechanical parts and components which can be directly integrated into the manufacturing lines of mechanical engineering companies, automotive suppliers, components and systems manufacturers etc. as self-standing functional metal coating systems
Ludy and its partners have assembled a list of technical and economic requirements for InlinePlat industrial development and demonstration to be realized within 27 months from the start of the intended SME Instrument Phase 2 project. The requirement data sheet was updated and adjusted bases on feedback from potential pilot customers that were contacted and interviewed, and based on modeling results obtained for mass, energy and water flow results. This resulted in an InlinePlat configuration with a cascade of baths / modules / equipment / capacity needed to have an automated inline system which is self-monitoring. The dimensions and equipment interfaces will be designed to have the most possible system compactness without comprising in performance and coating quality. Furthermore, calculations were carried out at Ludy, with requirements from pilot customers who provided data on real industrial settings from their productions sites. This includes number of parts to be coated per year, coating composition and surface area, expected coating quality, cycle times per coated part, etc. Based on this analysis, the configuration of the InlinePlat components were detailed, as is summarized in the final results section.
InlinePlat units will be standardized inhouse electroplating plants for inline and automated manufacturing where the operation and maintanance is outsourced to Ludy. The business concept thus breaks up with the old electroplating business model – i.e. maximum flexibility of electroplating plants – and integrates fully automated electroplating units as product specific manufacturing cells directly into the production line of a mechanical manufacturing company. The benefits are: no logistics needed, the business model offers significant reduction in bound cash since plant purchase not needed. This increases productivity for Ludy’s customers and saves time since no lengthy approval certificates for type approval are needed.
The project is ready to start right after a positive decision on Phase 2 funding from the EC, since at least three mid to large sized firms are interested in prototype testing, and have provided input on production parameter requirements. 2 letters of intent have also been exchanged. A project work plan and financing plan have been elaborated, as well as a financial plan and sales and income forecast for market introduction. The expected socio-economic impact is to set up a new high-growth industrial SME with the capacity to grow to over 100 employees within 4 years
Draft of complete closed automated electroplating cabinet
Concept of InlinePlat electroplating system arrangement