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BEP Surface Technologies Revolutionizes Plating Processes Through Digital Transformation and Sustainability

by Anna

BEP Surface Technologies, a prominent electroplating and surface finishing specialist, has undergone a significant digital transformation and decarbonization journey by investing in cutting-edge control and automation technologies. This bespoke solution has revolutionized the chrome plating process, providing real-time visibility into critical operational parameters, thereby enhancing monitoring and data analysis capabilities.

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The two-year project has yielded impressive results, reducing energy consumption by 20%, material usage by 10%, and labor requirements by 15%. The scalable solution, initially applied to chrome plating, is now being extended to copper and nickel-plating operations. It seamlessly integrates with BEP’s grinding machinery to introduce predictive maintenance strategies and monitor hazardous materials, contributing to enhanced safety measures.

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Beyond operational efficiency gains, the digitalization initiative has triggered a cultural shift within the 54-year-old company. The reduction in manual operations and increased monitoring capabilities empower engineers to drive continuous improvement initiatives effectively.

Andrew McClusky, Managing Director of BEP Surface Technologies, highlighted the impact of the digital transformation on the company’s chrome plating process and its broader net-zero journey. He emphasized that capturing vital data from processes enables groundbreaking control and automation, providing invaluable insights into process optimization and energy efficiency.

This digitalization project, initiated in 2022 as part of BEP’s digital strategy, was supported by Made Smarter, a government-backed program aiding SMEs in adopting technology and skills. The success of the initiative led to the employment of Hassan Bin Mazhar, initially an MSc student in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Salford, as an automation engineer at BEP.

Hassan played a pivotal role in the project, addressing the challenge of excessive chrome deposition during the plating process. The implementation involved sensors, PLCs, Human-Machine Interfaces (HMIs), and a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) software system to centralize and analyze operational data, offering new insights for process optimization.

BEP’s digital transformation demonstrates the potential impact of small investments in technology and the integration of digital skills. The success story showcases that kick-starting the digital transformation journey need not be elaborate or expensive, opening avenues for continued innovation and excellence in manufacturing practices. The transformative shift positions BEP Surface Technologies as a forward-thinking industry leader, fostering sustainability and efficiency in electroplating and surface engineering.

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