Modeling and Simulation (M&S) has become an integral part of modern design and manufacturing. Today, no major product is designed without the use of M7S. In the past we put scale models of aircraft and cars in wind tunnels, and used smoke to track the airflow. Today, we use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to understand exactly how the air flows under all possible conditions, calculating drag and lift in air vehicles or drag and road holding in road vehicles. We use stress analysis to ensure every part of the vehicle is robust and structurally sound, and heat flow analysis to design its engine, cooling system and passenger space.
For a long time the plating and surface finishing industry has been able to get by without complex (M&S), because the processes and equipment for surface finishing, and requirements for surface finishes were not overly complex. But in the past years the complexity has increased significantly due to environmental regulations, cost and performance, and robotics. Simple electroplates such as Zn and Cd are being replaced by ZnNi, hard chrome is giving way to trivalent chrome, alternative electroplates and thermal sprays, while chromate conversion is being replaced by non-hexavalent materials that are often more sensitive to process conditions and therefore harder to use. Even paints are changing to reduce volatile organics and chromates, and painting is becoming automated, while soon a host of minor constituents of paints and adhesives will suddenly find themselves orphaned by REACH regulations and have to be replace.
This talk will examine what other industries are doing, see what is most pertinent to Surface Finishing, discuss capabilities and limitations, possibilities and caveats, and hopefully provide some guidance on how the Surface Finishing industry can quickly and profitably adopt the most useful M&S for the 21st century.