Palladium Alloy Plating enables mass production of contacts.

Press Release Summary:

Offering substitute for gold plating, PALLADEX PC200 palladium-cobalt alloy material provides hardness from 450-600HV and is suited for electrical contacts in mobile phones, PC batteries, and SD cards. Incorporating mechanism for suppressing denaturalization of palladium ions and cobalt ions prevents degradation, such as rapid reduction in deposit efficiency, even when more than 10 g of palladium has been deposited per liter of plating solution.

Original Press Release:

Palladium Alloy Plating Solution is Able to Mass-Produce Electrical Contacts as a Substitute for Gold; Tanaka Precious Metals Begins to Provide on November 9

Tokyo, - Tanaka Holdings Co., Ltd. today announced that Electroplating Engineers of Japan, Limited ("EEJA") will begin providing the PALLADEX PC200 palladium-cobalt alloy plating solution on November 9, 2011.

PALLADEX PC200 is a palladium-cobalt alloy material for electronic components of which durability is required, such as electrical contacts in mobile phone, PC batteries, and SD cards. As a substitute for gold plating solution that is currently widely used in mass production, precious metals costs can be reduced by approximately 90% and abrasion resistance can be greatly improved due to hardness being increased up to 6 times. This palladium-cobalt alloy plating solution can be introduced to mass production because it offers a high yield and operating efficiency that were not possible with previous palladium-cobalt alloy plating solutions and enables the manufacture of electrical contact components with stable quality.

Issues with mass production using palladium alloy plating solution

Hard gold plating solution with excellent electrical performance is used in electrical contacts as which high hardness and corrosion resistance are required in mass production now. While gold price remains high, electrical contact manufacturers are focusing on palladium plating solutions with greater hardness and corrosion resistance at lower cost as a substitute for gold plating solutions. In its efforts to develop substitutes to less precious metals and other metal materials, EEJA had provided PALLADEX PC-100 palladium-cobalt alloy plating solution, which is the predecessor of PALLADEX PC200.

However, operating environment such as current density(*1), plating bath temperature and pH (potential Hydrogen) had a significant effect on the amount of cobalt contained in the plating deposited by existing palladium-cobalt alloy plating solutions. The amount of cobalt codeposited, which affects the hardness and corrosion resistance of electrical contacts, is ideally 20w% (percentage by weight), and the range of the amount of cobalt codeposited by PALLADEX PC-100 is wide at 10 to 30w% (20 +/- 10w%), which made it impossible to reliably manufacture electrical contacts with the hardness required by users.

Furthermore, an issue in operating efficiency was that once 1.6 grams of palladium per liter of plating solution had been deposited, deterioration occurred as the speed of the formation of the film declined and the amount of cobalt codeposited fluctuated, and users need to frequently replace the plating solution as a result. Due to such reasons, it has been difficult to use palladium-cobalt alloy plating solutions that are available on the market such as PALLADEX PC-100 as a substitute for gold plating solutions for electrical contacts in mass production level.

Palladium-cobalt alloy plating solution able to be used in mass production of electrical contacts

PALLADEX PC200 is a palladium-cobalt alloy plating solution that can be used as a substitute for gold plating solution in mass production of electrical contact components, and possess the following features.

(1) Consistent hardness and corrosion resistance

By stabilizing metal ions in the plating solution and adjusting plating solution composition, it is possible to stably codeposit 17 to 23w% (20 +/- 3w%) cobalt when targeting 20w% without being affected by current density.

-> High yield enables its use in electrical contact mass production process

(2) 7 times longer lifespan than conventional products

Incorporating a mechanism for suppressing the denaturalization of palladium ions and cobalt ions prevents degradation such as a rapid reduction in the deposit efficiency even when more than 10 grams of palladium has been deposited per liter of plating solution.

-> Dramatic improvement in operating efficiency. Significant improvements in productivity enable reductions in production costs

(3) Costs reduced by approximately 90% with up to six times the hardness compared to gold plating solution

It is possible to reduce precious metals costs by approximately 90% compared to gold plating solution. Furthermore, compared to 100HV (Vickers hardness) of gold plating solution, PALLADEX PC200 can provide a significant increase in abrasion resistance with a hardness of 450 to 600HV.

-> Substitution of gold plating solution enables low cost mass production of high-performance electrical contacts

(4) Widely applicable to other electrical contact materials

- Semiconductor and MEMS (MicroElectroMechanical System) probe pins.

Substitution of currently widely used rhodium enables precious metals costs reduced by approximately 60%

- Semiconductor packages

Compared to electrolytic nickel-palladium-gold plating solution that is currently the most suitable material, precious metals costs can be reduced by approximately 20%

EEJA plans a sales target of PALLADEX PC200 at 2 million yen per month. PALLADEX PC200 will participate in TPCA Show held at Taipei Nangang Exhibition Hall for three days from November 9 (Wed) until November 11 (Fri). Technical staff will be on-site to respond to interviews at the exhibition booth (J1105, within the Ofuna Technology Co. Ltd. booth).

(*1) Current amount flowing through per unit of area.

Company release:

About the Tanaka Precious Metals

Established in 1885, the Tanaka Precious Metals has built a diversified range of business activities focused on the use of precious metals. On April 1, 2010, the group was reorganized with Tanaka Holdings Co., Ltd. as the holding company (parent company) of the Tanaka Precious Metals. In addition to strengthening corporate governance, the company aims to improve overall service to customers by ensuring efficient management and dynamic execution of operations. Tanaka Precious Metals is committed, as a specialist corporate entity, to providing a diverse range of products through cooperation among group companies.

Tanaka Precious Metals is in the top class in Japan in terms of the volume of precious metal handled, and for many years the group has developed and stably supplied industrial precious metals, in addition to providing accessories and savings commodities utilizing precious metals. As precious metal professionals, the Group will continue to contribute to enriching people's lives in the future.

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