Implementation of Innovative Hard Chromium Plating Tooling at Corpus Christi Army Depot – Phase I

NCMS Project #: 140384


  • Depot maintenance cycle time has become a high profile issue. Long cycle times adversely affect weapon system and spare parts availability.
  • Hard chrome plating processes create bottlenecks at depots, limiting throughout and lengthening cycle time.
  • Intricate masking processes and hand grinding requirements are labor intensive and put high demands on skilled craftsmen.


  • Availability: 200% increase in plating equipment capacity; resulted in weapon systems out the door faster.
  • Cost Savings: Annual labor savings of $1.1M; 83% decreased labor cost/part.
  • Reliability: Improved process control resulted in significant rework reduction; 17% on one part & 46% on another.
  • Cycle Time: Reduced individual part turnaround by an average of 60%; production capable of meeting demand – previously impossible!
  • Safety: Worker exposure to hexavalent chromium vapors reduced 50%.


  • A new approach to anode design avoids the needs for masking, while creating plating conditions that optimize current density and electrolyte flow for each individual part.
  • Specialized tooling and rack fixtures were installed on critical parts.
  • The new tooling resulted in:
    • Reduced labor for masking
    • Faster plating times
    • More uniform chromium deposits.

DOD Participation:

  • U.S. Air Force (Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center)
  • U.S. Army (Corpus Christi Army Depot)
  • U.S. Navy (Fleet Readiness Center Southwest)

Industry Participation:

  • Advanced Tooling Corporation
  • NCMS

Final Report