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  • Thailand's unique situation where plating technology is challenged / Siam Hikifune

Thailand's unique situation where plating technology is challenged / Siam Hikifune

Michio Kobayashi
Engineer Manager

In 2013, we installed an automatic plating equipment and started production in the Amata Industrial Park in Chonburi Province, Thailand. The automatic plating equipment was installed in a large gymnasium-like building.

For plating, electroless nickel is applied to the aluminum base material, electro-nickel plating is applied, and trivalent chromium is plated as the final finish plating. After the aluminum material is attached to the jig and put into the automatic plating equipment, after one hour, the product that has been plated to the finished trivalent chromium appears. Currently, next to the automatic equipment, we are installing copper / nickel / chrome plating equipment for manual zinc die-casting materials.

Overcome adversity to provide Japanese quality plating treatment in Thailand

Our company has maintained the same technical capabilities as Japan while struggling with the bad conditions unique to Thailand.

Differences between the Japanese site and the Thai site

  • 1 High temperature: The temperature of the washing water after alkali etching was high, resulting in excessive etching failure.
  • 2 Insufficient cooling efficiency: The intention was to install a large enough cooling machine, but the calculation of required capacity by the Japan side was revealed to be insufficient.
  • 3 Severe deterioration of additives: As additives are self-decomposable, they wear and deteriorate more rapidly in heat; thus they require to be kept cooled.
  • 4 Unstable electricity and voltage: Unlike Japan, there is no reliable transformer. In general, wiring appears to be bare wires just connected randomly by amateurs. Voltage fluctuation is about 220V ± 10%. It is considered to be a heavy burden on electrical equipment.
  • 5 Soil improvement: Thailand has many flat areas and seawater is mixed to form soil. In order to keep the building from sinking, heavy piling is needed. However, since there are no earthquakes, there is no worry about the possibility of the building collapsing.
  • 6 Water supply: In Thailand, the water coming out of the tap is not drinkable water. Drinking water is generally bottled in a plastic bottle (about 35 yen for 500 ml) or utilizes a water server. Water purifiers are installed everywhere in town, and people take it home in a plastic bottle.

In Japan, if one turns on the tap, drinking water will continue to flow out endlessly. If there is a problem with the water pipe, it will be a serious problem. Recently, the number of young people who only drink water from plastic bottles seems to be increasing. At a plating plant in Tokyo, tap water from a faucet is also passed through an ion exchange resin where impurities are removed to yield pure water, which is then used as washing water before drying.

In Thailand, basically water from taps cannot be used. It is necessary to remove impurities from a faucet through a reverse osmosis membrane (RO) for usage such as bath water and washing water of the plating solution. Further, it is treated by an ion exchange resin and then it is used in the plating line as pure water without impurities. Further, stocking purified water is also difficult to manage and hard work.

Speaking of water in Thailand, there is a squall every day and the water overflows. In contrast, Thais, without panic, dig up asphalt roads to control the destination of water. Several times a year, we faced the asphalt roads dug up all over due to the flood and couldn't get near the factory. The next day, the excavated road is restored.

Scenery of people having lunch on a flooded road

Lastly, although Japan has four distinct seasons, Thailand only has warmer days throughout a year, albeit with some temperature fluctuations. As Thailand is a hub for the Asian region, we should recognize that it is an important country that maintains ties with neighboring countries, and hope for further development in politics, economy and infrastructure.

Plating technology including electroless plating on aluminum and nickel plating on brass – For high quality plating in Thailand, please contact Siam Hikifune.

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