skip to main content

Fully automated line coats 100,000+ spark plug pins a day

Champion LogoTemperatures approaching 1,000ºC, 30,000 volt currents, crushing pressures over 2,000 psi - to perform in the combustion chamber, a spark plug must be precisely engineered and virtually indestructible.

The need for absolute reliability and increasing longevity under such hostile conditions is what prompted Federal Mogul to contact Poeton Industries when they needed to apply an electrolytic nickel coating to spark plug centre posts. The need was to protect the steel pin from oxidation when it goes through its final assembly operation, in an induction furnace at 700ºC.

The application required a coating of extremely consistent quality, with a very closely controlled thickness over the whole of the part. Also important was an aesthetically pleasing nickel oxide finish on the exposed cap, to which the high-tension leads are connected.

To handle the quantities involved - 100,000 per day and more - Poeton set up a dedicated barrel plating line using barrels designed to process 12,000 pins at a time.
The line is fully automated and PC driven, with carefully controlled chemistry for both the plating bath and the pre-treatments.

SPC was used to monitor the nickel thickness and coverage, and to weigh the pins and relate the weight gain to the coating thickness. In addition, Poeton supported the processing operation with metallographic sections and coating analysis using its own on-site laboratory, which is based within the company's Gloucester Technology Centre.

The result? The pins were right first time, every time - essential for the KANBAN operating regime that the customer employed.

23 April 2010

Back to Success Stories List