Everybody knows that precious metals have value, and if you work with them you’re probably already familiar with that particular value. However, if you’re running a company that does electroplating or you’re simply in the business, you may be able to save money on your process or make a considerable amount of cash. After all, recycling plating tank scrap can yield you a considerable amount of money over time if you understand the process and how to go about it.
Keep reading to learn more about the process and how you can make some real money recycling plating tank scrap.
What is the Tank Electroplating Process?
If you’re going to make money recycling plating tank scrap it’s a good idea to understand how the actual process works so you can get the most out of it. Believe it or not, it’s actually a relatively simple process that almost anyone can understand, even if actually doing it is a little bit more difficult.
During the electroplating process, two metallic parts are put into an electrolyte solution. This electrolyte solution contains a variety of ingredients, but for this process, the most important ones are dissolved metal salts and an array of chemicals that allow charged atoms to pass through.
The first of the metal parts in the process is typically gold or silver, a type of anode, but other metals that you want to apply to the surface in the plating process can be used as well. This process is typically used to make jewelry with gold and silver.
The second of the metal parts is known as the cathode, or the item that you are planning on plating. Examples of a common cathode include something like a cell phone cover, piece of jewelry like a necklace of watch band or even a household item.
After the cathode is added to the tank an electrical current is supplied throughout to cause the atoms in the anode to dissolve in the electrolyte solution and eventually bond with the cathode.
The process is relatively simple and that’s how manufacturers make everything from jewelry to belt buckles in many places.
The Problem with the Process
Ideally, you hope that the metal you want to stick to your plating subject will stick easily and without waste. Unfortunately this rarely happens since metals simply aren’t that precise. That’s why some metal often remains in and on the edges of the tank.
While the material that remains inside your plating tank may not look quite like the gold you’re used to, the substance left behind could contain significant amounts of those materials whether you realize it or not. If you simply discard that material, you’ll be wasting it and spending money that doesn’t actually go toward the plating process.
Unfortunately, removing the chemicals and other trace elements from the gold or silver yourself so that you can use the precious metals in the electroplating process again is nearly impossible for the average plating company or business that does electroplating.
That doesn’t mean you should simple discard what remains in your tanks after the plating process is complete.
How to Make Money Off Recycling Plating Tank Scrap
During the electroplating process, precious metals are likely to be left in your tanks after the cathode has been coated. Precious metals like silver and gold can also stick in your filter screens, in drain pipes and even on sensors inside your tanks. Sometimes precious metals even wind up in a sludge-like material that seems like nothing but waste.
The easiest way you can make sure you aren’t losing out on significant amounts of money during the electroplating process is to hire a qualified smelting and refining service to inspect your tanks and general process. These services have the tools to help you reclaim all of the scrap in your tanks so that it won’t go to waste.
Best of all, smelting and refining services can help you to properly clean your tanks while paying you for the scrap that they pull out. That means that you don’t have to pay a crew to clean your tanks and you’ll be able to cash in on something that you would have otherwise thrown away.
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