Three key factors determine the cost of gold electroplating service:
Labour is unquestionably the essential aspect, particularly in the case of conventional metal plating, when material costs are not as high.
The surface area of the object to be coated is another significant metric to consider, as it impacts all three factors listed. Andrea Mazzilli and Torben Lenau’s paper “Empirical Calculation of the Surface Area of an Object” (1996) describes an empirical approach for estimating surface areas.
- MATERIAL COST
To determine the material cost of plating an item, you’ll need to know the amount of material that will be deposited as well as the price of the coating material.
Quantity of material
The amount of material (mass) that will be deposited in the gold electroplating service is determined by three factors:
- a) the surface area, b) the thickness of the coating, and c) the density of the substance
- a) Surface area of the part “S” [dm2/part] calculation
Because there are so many complicated shapes, this can be a challenging process at times. As a result, this computation is typically performed using specialised tools (e.g., computer-aided tools) or by attempting to approximate a complex geometry with a more common (and simple) geometry. Depending on the shape of the part, this simple geometry can be a sphere, cone, cylinder, or parallelepiped. The article “Empirical Calculation of the Surface Area of an Object, Andrea Mazzilli & Torben Lenau (1996)” goes into great length about it.
- b) The thickness of the coating “t” [m]
The thickness of a coating is significantly dependant on the substance and the coating’s purpose. As a result, it is usually decided on a case-by-case basis. Every gold electroplating service, on the other hand, has a recommended range of values.
- c) Density of the material “qm” [g/dm2 m]
To calculate the amount of material easier, the following formula converts the traditional values of the material’s density, which are usually given in [g/cm3], into a more convenient unit. qm= 0.01dm, where dm is the density of the substance [g/cm3].
Material price “p”· [DKK/g]
Every day, the price of materials (metals) is quoted based on market demand and supply. Because the cost of materials is usually only a small part of the total cost of the process, approximate figures can be accepted. So the average values of recent periods can be used.
The material cost of any electroplated component is: Cm= p qm S t [DKK/part] based on the values stated above.
Only in the case of gold plating or other specialised precious metals, the cost of the materials has a significant impact on the entire cost of the process (not very common applications).
Hourly wages and time worked are the two most essential components in estimating labour costs.
Wages per hour “wl” [DKK/h]
Electroplating hourly wages are determined at around 300 DKK/h based on empirical estimates1. Because the bath does not need to be examined continuously for time-consuming operations like hard-chromium plating, the hourly cost of the process drops to around 150 DKK/h.
From a conversation with Peter Leisner and surface treatment businesses.
[min/part] Estimated amount of time spent
The time spent plating a component is made up of two different types of time:
- a) the duration of the gold electroplating service
- b) labour time, which is connected to component preparation and post-operations (drying, packing, etc.).
- a) Electroplating time “tb” [minutes per part]
The entire plating time for the bath’s content (bath time or immersion time) is fixed once the bath’s composition is determined. Each bath has its own set of factors that determine the rate of deposition.
When the bath size varies, the current intensity must rise to maintain the same current density and, as a result, the same deposition duration.
Thus, plating time is given by the formula1:
Tb= (t·dm·60)/(I·E·Y) [min]
t = coating’s thickness [µm]
dm= material’s density [g/cm3]
I = current intensity [Amp/dm2]
E = electrostatic equivalent [g/Amp·h]
Y = current yield %
- b) Labor time “ta” [min/part]
The amount of time spent on labour (pre-and post-treatment) is highly dependent on the type of manufacturing.
It is highly dependent on the state of the component in small enterprises (low production quantities). As a result, depending on the component’s state, size, and complexity, the time can range from five minutes to several hours. This time increases dramatically if the component is an old object that requires extensive processing.
Components for high production volumes (large baths) are usually new and do not require lengthy pre-treatments before gold electroplating service. As a result, the length of time depends primarily on the volume of manufacturing.
As a result, the total time spent is equal to the sum of ta and tb:
[min/part] T = ta + tb
Equipment expenses are estimated in the same way as labour costs. In this situation, the hourly cost of the equipment “we” [DKK/h] must be considered, which is experimentally estimated1 to be around 35 DKK/h.
As a result, the cost per part associated with the usage of gold electroplating service equipment is estimated using the following formula:
Ce = weT / 60 [DKK/part] Ce = weT / 60 [DKK/part] Ce = weT / 60 [D
Because gold is a precious metal, it is not an inexpensive option for industrial use, hence industrial gold electroplating service is costly. This is why Smart Microns provides a zero-waste gold electroplating service with the lowest gold-to-surface-area ratio possible.