Metal finishing and especially electroplating have long been considered by outsiders (and some insiders) as being based on voodoo and black magic as much any real science. From outside the industry it just doesn’t seem possible to force metallic ions from a liquid solution onto another object with electricity. It’s especially disconcerting to these folks to do that same feat without electricity as is the case with electroless plating. Contrary to that belief or perception, if you will, electroplating has a long history of classroom instruction and scientific research.
Since 1976 the American Electroplater and Surface Finishers Society (AESF) has conducted training and certification for the metal finishing industry. The initial training course offered by the AESF is called CEF (Certified Electroplater Finisher) training and consists of 40 hours of classroom instruction in the basics of electroplating and surface finishing technology. The course runs the gamut from electro-chemistry to anodizing, copper plating, nickel plating, zinc plating, corrosion protection, rinsing and cleaning, etc. After completing the 40 hour course the student has the option of sitting for a 2.5 hour exam which if completed successfully results in the student receiving the title of CEF. The CEF (Certified Electroplater Finisher) designation is the only worldwide recognized certification in the plating industry. There are several levels of CEF certification and each level is achieved by completing a different course and exam beyond the initial CEF training.
Does having the CEF designation make you the smartest person in the room?? From personal experience, I definitely tell you it does not. But it does show a commitment to education and accountability within the metal finishing industry. Especially on the part of the employers, as they are usually the ones who pay for the instruction and certification. Companies that invest in their employees are usually the ones that excel in their respective industries and CEF training is one way of demonstrating that commitment to excellence in the metal finishing world.
Since 1976, there have been just under 5,000 CEF certifications issued. Today, there are approximately 1,700 active CEF’s.
Coating Technologies Inc. has three CEFs on staff:
Ken Mantle, General Manager (CEF-2)
Mike Cooper, Operations Manager (CEF)
Charissa Kobyluck, Quality Manager (CEF).