Put 30 Years of Experience to Work for You

Put 30 Years of Printed Circuit Board Experience to Work for You

Printed circuit board manufacturing is a complicated process with many steps, which means there’s a lot of room for error. When not properly maintained with high-quality support chemistries, it’s easy for residue and scale to slow down your production line and interfere with the quality of your product.

That’s why it’s so important to partner with a support chemistry distributor that understands the complexity of your process and is constantly innovating new ways to keep your processing equipment cleaner and more efficient so it continues to create a superior product.

Nearly 30 Years of PCB Expertise and Innovation

The story of Seacole’s innovation in the PCB support chemistries industry starts in 2002, when Seacole founder Gregg Elliott bought Circuit Research Corporation (CRC). Circuit Research Corporation was founded in 1990 and was a well-known and highly respected printed circuit board chemistry manufacturer. Its staff of talented chemical engineers with decades of experience developing and delivering the highest quality chemistry joined Seacole’s expert group of engineers and chemists.

The newly merged companies continued to build on CRC’s existing high reputation with distributors and agents locally in Minnesota and across the country. Today, Seacole is proud to provide printed circuit board manufacturers with chemistries designed to perform above industry standards while remaining cost-effective.

Two of Our Favorite Printed Circuit Board Support Chemistries

Seacole formulates and distributes dozens of support chemistries for printed circuit board manufacturers. Two of our favorite products are used in the development and stripping processes.

Many anti-foam additives leave behind residues on your PCB surfaces and processing equipment. Our ANTI/Foam CR-98 is silicon-free and solvent-free. Its extremely free-rinsing formula virtually eliminates residue from both products and equipment. Use ANTI/Foam CR-98 as an automated addition for process sumps that use bellows, air diaphragms, or peristaltic pumps.

As you know, regular maintenance of your developers and resist strippers plays a significant role in the quality of your product and efficiency of your production line. Equipment Cleaner 70 is a concentrated acid cleaner that removes hard-water scale and residues, including the stubborn ones that build up in solder mask developer chambers. It’s even reusable over multiple applications.

If you’re having trouble finding support chemistries for your PCB process that won’t leave behind residues, foam, or scale on your product or equipment, contact the experts at Seacole today. We can help you find the support chemistries that will keep your production running smoothly and efficiently.

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Walt Fogacs Printed Circuit Board

Meet Walt Forgacs, Seacole PCB Account Manager

Walt Fogacs Printed Circuit BoardWe had a chance this month to catch up with printed circuit board account manager Walt Forgacs. Walt’s been a chemist and engineer for more than three decades, and we’re grateful for the addition his expertise and experience make to the Seacole team. Take a moment to get to know Walt!

What is your role at Seacole?

I’m a printed circuit board account manager.

What printed circuit board industry trends are you seeing this year?

Traditional processing methods evolving at a more rapid rate to take advantage of Automation, LDI and other advanced direct processing technologies while vigilantly being environmentally conscientious. The consolidation of manufacturing sites and suppliers of course will continue.

What advice would you give people in your field?

High quality, consistency and process innovation have always been the triad of this business. I believe the next generations of manufacturing will be highly automated and integrated. My advice is take the time to see what and who is new and cutting edge then, invest in tomorrow today.

What is your favorite Seacole product?

The Equipment Cleaner 70. I like that product because of its powerful performance, extremely long life and the fact it is environmentally friendly due to its longevity.

What’s the first thing you do when you get to work?

Make sure I’m addressing all of my customers’ most important needs.

Do you have a secret for staying productive?

When I have something in mind, I get it done. I stay focused until it’s done. Prioritize.

Before starting your career, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

Chemist and production manager for a medium sized zinc and copper nickel chrome plating company in SLC.

What might someone be surprised to learn about Seacole?

A really high-quality cooperative crew. I like the people.

What is something you can’t live without?

God, country, and my family.

Walt’s Motto:

Measure twice, cut once.

Learn more about Walt here.

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Jim Jordan Surface Finishing

Meet Jim Jordan, Seacole Surface Finishing Account Manager

Jim Jordan Surface FinishingWe had a chance this month to catch up with surface finishing account manager Jim Jordan.  Jim holds a chemical engineering degree from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and enjoys helping customers improve their process control methods. Take a moment to get to know Jim!

What is your role at Seacole?

I’m an Account Manager in the Surface Finishing group. I support customers in southern Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska, with a few exceptions.

What surface finishing industry trends are you seeing this year?

Every year, we see an increase in the use of green industry practices, and 2017 is no different. Beyond the usual goals of reducing or eliminating the use of toxic and hazardous chemistries, there is more and more interest in chemistries that require fewer bath change-outs, generate less waste, and consume less energy – with no compromise in performance, of course. And RoHS compliance is still a driving force in many of the industries we support.

What advice would you give people in your field?

I encourage my customers to continually focus on and improve their process control methods. So many quality problems are the result of excessive process variation, and this can be avoided by implementing (and following) process control procedures designed to maintain key chemical parameters within the recommended specifications.

What is your favorite Seacole product?

It’s not easy to pick a single favorite product in the Seacole Surface Finishing portfolio, but I’m a big fan of Surtec 668 Trivalent Blue Chromate Conversion Coating for zinc. This newer product offering is having a lot of success in the marketplace right now because it provides our customers with all of the features and benefits they are looking for – excellent corrosion resistance, an intense blue color, a wide process window, and low operating cost.

What is the first thing you do when you get to work?

I start my day with a quick review of my to-do list, assessing my priorities and goals, and finalizing any items in my schedule that are still not nailed down.

Do you have a secret to staying productive?

Something I learned years ago was to follow the 2-Minute Rule: If a task will take less than 2 minutes to complete, do it right away. Also, I always keep a notepad handy for spontaneously writing down new tasks and ideas, and for remembering unfinished tasks that I can revisit later when less busy.

Before starting your career, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

When I was in 9th or 10th grade I had a job playing “honky-tonk” piano at a local Shakey’s Pizza Parlor on weekend evenings. Thinking back on it, I’m sure I annoyed an awful lot of pizza-eating patrons.

What might someone be surprised to learn about Seacole?

A lot of people would be surprised by the scope of Seacole’s product development and manufacturing capabilities (both staff and facilities) and the fact we’re much more than just a sales office/warehouse.

What are three things you can’t live without?

Well, family and friends are a given, so beyond that it would be coffee (I drink it morning, noon, and night), spicy food (the hotter the better), and my car (both out of need and enjoyment; no self-driving cars for me!).

Jim’s Motto:

Only I am in charge of my destiny.

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electroless nickel plating

Electroless Nickel Plating and Its Support Chemistries

electroless nickel platingElectroless nickel plating is an alternative process to electroplating. It reduces your facility’s water and energy use and cuts down on the hazardous waste produced by the plating process. Electroless nickel plating can be used on metal or plastic parts.

Instead of using electricity to convert the ions in the chemical bath to solids that adhere to your part, electroless nickel plating converts ions through a chemical auto-catalytic process. Here’s a look at the chemistries involved in electroless nickel plating.

Support Chemistries for Electroless Nickel Plating

The cornerstone of the electroless nickel plating process is a bath consisting of several chemical agents. When these agents are used in correct proportions and replenished regularly, the metal ions adhere uniformly to your part with little or no blistering.

The first additive for your chemical bath is the metal salt that contains the ions of the alloy you intend to plate your parts with. To convert these ions into solids that adhere to your part, you need a reducing agent. Hydrated sodium hypophosphite is a common reducing agent used in the electroless nickel plating process. The amount of the reducing agent present in the chemical bath determines the thickness of the metal coating on the parts.

In addition to the metal salt and reducing agent, your electroless plating bath requires stabilizers, wetting agents, and surfactants to promote adhesion and maintain a consistent and ideal pH. Stabilizers help control how well the metal ions adhere to your part. To reduce friction, you can add Teflon™ along with your wetting agent and surfactants. When your chemical bath is regularly monitored for ideal temperature and replenished regularly, electroless nickel plating can be a simple, effective, and sustainable way to plate your parts.

Three of Our Favorite Support Chemistry Products for Electroless Plating

Seacole’s electroless plating experts have identified several products that are best-in-class for adhesion, waste treatment, and specialized applications. Metal-Chem’s Meta-Mate Zincate 40 is a concentrated liquid pretreatment for aluminum parts that promotes adhesion while reducing blistering. When used with Metal-Chem’s electroless plating processes, Meta-Mate Zincate 40 will potentially allow more metal turnovers than other aluminum pretreatment formulations.

When a bath is spent, manufacturers usually send the remaining solution offsite or through a waste treatment system. Metal-Chem’s Meta-Treat EN is a waste treatment additive that eliminates costly investment in waste treatment equipment or offsite transport. The additive allows you to plate nickel onto scrap metal, such as steel wool, and then dispose of the nickel as a recoverable solid instead of hazardous waste. Meta-Treat EN reduces the nickel in your spent bath to less than 10 ppm.

Military, optical, and aerospace parts often require low-reflectivity coatings. Metal-Chem’s Meta-Black Midnite is a matte black coating used over low phosphorous EN to produce parts with excellent hardness and corrosion resistance. It is the only product of its kind that can be used with electroless nickel plating.

For help choosing the appropriate chemicals for your electroless nickel plating process, contact the experts at Seacole today.

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