Push-button locks, especially those used in public or highly accessible spaces, require a durable cover plate to protect the sensitive internal mechanisms against environmental contaminants and tampering. However, their shape makes manufacturing and finishing them difficult. Ones requiring exacting materials or techniques, however—such as steel with nickel plating—pose additional challenges.

At Engineering Specialties, Inc. (ESI), we have the knowledge and skills to accommodate a wide range of part and production demands. The following case study demonstrates our ability to provide out-of-the-box solutions that meet and exceed a customer’s needs.

The Challenge

The customer approached our team with a request for a custom cover plate for use with their push-button locks. Their original manufacturing method experienced issues at the finishing stage—during barrel plating operations, the corners of the cover plates lodged into the slots of other pieces, which diminished the consistency and quality of the treatment.

pre-plated cover plate

In an attempt to address this problem, they switched to rack plating. However, this change proved to be more expensive. Turning to ESI, the customer sought a solution that produced quality parts with lower production costs.

The Solution

Our expert team worked with the customer’s engineers to devise an innovative solution to the above problem. Rather than relying on post-stamping plating methods, they identified a source for pre-plated nickel, (the customer’s finish of choice), and determined a method of stamping the cover plates from the new material. By changing the material and manufacturing process, we:

  • Reduced production costs. It’s much easier to plate a single piece of material rather than multiple individual pieces. Doing so saves on both labor and material costs.  
  • Decreased dimensional issues. In barrel plating operations, the individual parts tumble in barrels, which causes slight to severe deformation to the pieces. Using pre-plated material during the cover plate stamping operations eliminates this risk.

Get a checklist on our blog: Pre-Plating vs. Post-Plating: Which Makes Sense for Your Project?

The Result

Employing progressive stamping techniques and rigorous in-process testing and inspection processes, we were able to produce high-quality pre-plated nickel cover plates to 0.002 inch tolerances in the high monthly volumes the customer required. Switching to the material and manufacturing process we suggested allowed us to significantly lower production costs—a reduction of 20 cents for each unit.

With production volumes for the cover plate averaging 30,000 units per month delivered to Mexico, these savings translated to over $6,000 each month and $70,000 each year for the customer.

Quality Manufacturing from ESI

The above case study demonstrates our team’s ability to overcome unique challenges with unique solutions. To find out more about our manufacturing capabilities or partner with us on your next project, get a free project analysis from our team.  

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