New SlimLine electroplating bath and digital process control
von Ansgar Wessendorf,
With the market launch of the HelioChrome NEO Chrome(III) process for the protective coating of gravure cylinders, Kaspar Walter is also introducing a new generation of SlimLine electroplating technology for chrome plating with this new process. This type of electroplating bath, which will also be used for copper plating, degreasing and de-chroming in the future, is a pioneering technology that enables digital process monitoring.
“Huhtamaki has been successfully using a Beta SlimLine system for the HelioChrome NEO process since 2021. This innovative solution will significantly change the production of gravure cylinders by collecting and analysing real-time data to an unprecedented degree. This optimises the production process and raises quality control and electrolyte stability to a new level.
Deviations and error trends are automatically recognised immediately and corrected within the tolerance range so that errors do not occur at all or only very rarely”, explains Michael Fürholzer, Vice President Customer Service, Processes and Galvanics. Self-explanatory graphics and short video sequences on the touchscreen contribute to intuitive operation. The operator is thus informed about the current status of the electroplating bath at all times.
One of the most impressive features of the new SlimLine generation is its human-machine interface (HMI). It has been redesigned from the ground up and is now extremely user-friendly and highly interactive. The intuitive operation enables employees to monitor production processes in real time and have Kaspar Walter carry out remote interventions if required. SlimLine not only offers outstanding hardware, but also a new and customised software solution. This makes a further contribution to the stability and standardisation of the production process in the manufacture of gravure cylinders.
Direct e-mail communication with Kaspar Walter’s customer service and laboratory allows customer enquiries to be processed quickly and efficiently. This enables smooth collaboration to ensure consistent and faultless production processes.
Automated maintenance request
Another highlight of the new SlimLine generation is the option of automated maintenance requests and control of individual functions. This means more efficient planning and execution of maintenance work. In addition, certain functions can be automatically adjusted at the customer’s premises to ensure optimum production conditions.
Michael Fürholzer comments: “With the new SlimLine technology and HelioChrome NEO, we have created a highly standardised, automated and digital process in gravure cylinder production that requires virtually no manual intervention. Operators also do not require in-depth knowledge of electroplating, which counteracts the shortage of skilled labour. The operator’s work is mainly limited to regularly taking a sample from the HelioChrome NEO bath system, which is then sent to the Kaspar Walter laboratory to determine the current condition of the electroplating bath. All data and the history of the respective electroplating bath are stored in the laboratory database. At the same time, it serves as a kind of knowledge base in which all of Kaspar Walter’s electroplating expertise acquired over decades is stored in a structured manner. A digital target/actual analysis is carried out on the basis of this broad and intelligently linked database.”