The course consists of 21 lessons. Each one contains a wealth of valuable, practical information. And if you score 70 or above on the optional exam, you’ll receive 1 credit toward certification as a Master Surface Finisher. MSF is the world’s most respected – and most widely recognized – designation for finishing industry professionals. Those passing 6 course exams earn the coveted MSF designation.


Course Options

  • Web-Based Parts 1 & 2 (CEF)

    Tuition: $1700 | Member Tuition: $1300
    August 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28
    October 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23
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  • Web-Based Part 1

    Tuition: $1130 | Member Tuition: $800
    August 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28
    Register

  • Web-Based Part 2

    Tuition: $1130 | Member Tuition: $800
    October 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23
    Register

  • Home-Study Parts 1 & 2 (CEF)

    Tuition: $1650 | Member Tuition: $1350
    Register

  • Home-Study Part 1

    Tuition: $1050 | Member Tuition: $750
    Register

  • Home-Study Part 2

    Tuition: $1050 | Member Tuition: $750
    Register

  • Classroom Course Parts 1 & 2 (CEF)

    June 3-6, Exam June 7 | Rosemont, IL
    Tuition: $2250 | Member Tuition: $1650
    Register

  • Optional Exam

    Tuition: $250 | Member Tuition: $150
    Register


  • Who Benefits

    This training program is beneficial for operators and supervisors of job shops and captive shops performing a broad range of surface finishes on a variety of substrates. The course is also beneficial to sales personnel serving the metal finishing industry, as it will provide a level of knowledge about the processes that will allow a better understanding of customer needs.

    Goal

    The goal of this course is to present a broad range of information related to the fundamentals of electroplating, and methods of preparing parts for various surface finishing processes.

    At the conclusion of this course, attendees can expect to:

    • Understand basic chemical and electrical principles as they relate to electroplating, anodizing and conversion coating.
    • Be able to apply Faraday’s law in calculating the amount of time required to obtain a target thickness of plated deposit.
    • Know the cleaning/preparation processes for electroplating of common base metals.
    • Understand most common methods of transporting parts through an electroplating process, including barrel, rack, continuous strip/reel-to-reel and vibratory technologies.
    • Identify methods used to fabricate parts that are electroplated and potential problems caused by such fabrication methods.
    • Be aware of the common corrosion mechanisms and how surface finishing helps reduce corrosion.
    • Have a basic understanding of how a Hull and other test cells may be employed to monitor and control a plating process.
    • Know which rinsing methods and water conservation techniques are available.
    • Know what filtration technologies are employed in electroplating and in recovery of process solutions.
    • Be able to identify commonly employed quality tests that may be conducted on finished parts.
    • Know the basics of a wide variety of plating processes, including equipment, operational conditions and the role of impurities.
    • Be aware of methods for reducing contamination from plating processes.
    • Be able to identify the causes of common plating related problems and their possible solutions.
    • Be prepared to take the examination which is part of the Foundation MSF certification program.

Course Description – Part 1

1. Chemistry
This lesson covers basic chemistry principles that must be understood in order to fully comprehend the plating process. The lesson begins with the structure of an atom and then builds to yield an understanding of chemical reactions as they may be employed to process parts for plating and for plating and post-plating processes.
2. Electricity
This lesson discusses basic principles in electricity, beginning with Ohm’s Law. Basic rectification principles how ammeters and voltmeters work, and how current is distributed over a part are important concepts delivered by this lesson. A special focus is given to the role of anodes and how to calculate current density.
3. Electrochemistry
This lesson begins with Faraday’s Law and shows how it can be used to predict plating time. The lesson then goes on to the Electromotive Force Series, how the corrosion behavior of metals can be predicted, and how the EMF series can explain processes such as immersion deposits. The concepts of polarization in plating, current distribution and factors affecting deposit structure are then covered.
4. Metallic Corrosion
This lesson covers the basic principles of corrosion, including chemical attack, galvanic corrosion, stress corrosion cracking, filiform corrosion and fretting. The corrosion of common electrodeposits, including zinc, copper, nickel and chromium, is also discussed.
5. Part Fabrication
This lesson covers the various methods employed to produce parts and their impact upon the plating process. Included in the discussions are the types of soils produced by part manufacturing methods such as stamping, casting, forging, spin casting, drawing, extruding and powder metallurgy.

A special focus of this lesson is the subject of hydrogen embrittlement causes and cures. A brief discussion of soldering and brazing and their impact upon cleaning is also provided.

6. Barrel, Rack and Other Plating Methods
This lesson provides an overview of the basic technologies used for electroplating. The lesson begins with barrel design/features and shows how solution chemistry and operational characteristics must be changed when barrel plating vs. rack plating.

The second half of the lesson focuses on racks and rack plating issues. The last part of the lesson focuses on use of shields, robbers and other methods to modify basic current distribution conditions. A brief discussion of reel- to-reel, vibratory and brush plating is also provided.

7. Hull Cell and Other Test Cells
This lesson provides information on the use of the Hull Cell to troubleshoot and maintain a plating process. Examples of plating problems detected by the cell are given along with a demonstration of how the cell plated after a specific treatment was made. The lesson also covers other test cells such as the Lu Cell, the Gornall Cell, the Haring Cell and the Jiggle Cell.
8. Rinsing
This lesson discusses and provides calculation methods for the major method employed to conserve water without compromising process quality, including the use of counterflow rinses, spray rinses, multiple use rinses, and drag-out rinses. The lesson also discusses measurement of rinse quality using conductivity devices.
9. Filtration & Purification of Surface Finishing Solutions
This lesson focuses on maintaining a metal finishing process through proper filtration techniques, carbon treatment, and electrolytic purification.
10. Preparing Metals for Plating
This lesson will provide guidance on preparing steel, stainless steel, copper, zinc, and aluminum alloy substrates for plating. Ultrasonic cleaning, vapor degreasing, soak cleaning, electrocleaning, descaling and acid pickling are covered. A special focus is given to the zincating of aluminum alloys.
11. Testing of Plated Deposits
This lesson describes the most common quality tests employed on plated and anodic coatings. Include are tests for thickness, adhesion, accelerated corrosion, hardness, residual stress, ductility, wear, surface roughness and hydrogen embrittlement.

Course Description – Part 2

12. Zinc Plating
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for the main zinc plating solutions in use in the metal finishing industry; alkaline non-cyanide, acid chloride and cyanide. Special focus is given to function of and control over individual ingredients in each process. Common contaminants and possible methods of removal/treatment are discussed for each process.
13. Chromates, Phosphates & Black Oxide
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for chemical conversion coatings such as chromates, phosphates and black oxide. Conversion coatings over plated metals and aluminum are covered. The section on phosphating includes iron, zinc and manganese phosphate processes, while the black oxide section covers the most commonly produced coatings on steel. Equipment concerns are covered in all subjects.
14. Copper Plating
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for the main copper plating solutions in use in the metal finishing industry; alkaline non-cyanide, acid sulfate and cyanide. Special focus is given to function of and control over individual ingredients in each process. Common contaminants and possible methods of removal/treatment are discussed for each process.
15. Nickel Plating
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for the Watts nickel plating solution. Special focus is given to function of and control over individual ingredients. Common contaminants and possible methods of removal and treatment are discussed for each process. The lesson also covers nickel strike solutions and why and where they are used.
16. Chromium Plating
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for the decorative chromium plating solutions used by the metal finishing industry; trivalent and hexavalent. Special focus is given to function of and control over individual ingredients in each process. Common contaminants and possible methods of removal and treatment are discussed for each process.
17. Precious Metals, Part 1: Silver, Palladium, Ruthenium
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for many of the precious metals plating solutions in use in the metal finishing industry; silver, palladium, palladium nickel, and ruthenium. Special focus is given to function of and control over individual ingredients in each process. Common contaminants and possible methods of removal and treatment are discussed for each process.
18. Precious Metals, Part 2: Gold, Platinum, Rhodium
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for additional precious metals plating solutions not covered in part 1; gold, platinum and rhodium. Special focus is given to function of and control over individual ingredients in each process. Common contaminants and possible methods of removal/treatment are discussed for each process.
19. Alloy Plating
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for commonly plated alloys such as zinc-nickel, zinc-cobalt, brass, bronze, tin-zinc, tin-cobalt, tin-lead and Alballoy®.
20. Electroless Nickel Plating
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for both nickel-phosphorus and nickel-boron based electroless nickel plating chemistries. The section on nickel-phosphorus is divided into high, medium, medium-low and low phosphorus plating solutions.

Special focus is given to function of and control over individual ingredients in each process. Common contaminants and possible methods of removal and treatment are discussed for each process. Brief discussions of electroless plating of poly-alloys and composites are also provided.

21. Anodizing
This lesson provides chemical make-up and operational conditions for anodizing of aluminum, magnesium and titanium, with a major focus on aluminum. Also covered are the subjects of coloring and sealing anodic coatings on aluminum.

Recently developed substitutes for chromic acid anodizing (sulfuric-boric and thin film sulfuric) are part of this lesson too. Special focus is given to function of and control over individual ingredients in each process. Common contaminants and possible methods of removal and treatment are discussed.