A Look at the DOD’s Largest Electroplating Shop – Building 3001

Building 3001 at Tinker Air Force Base is known as the largest electroplating shop in the Department of Defense for a good reason.  Nearly every component of a U.S. Air Force jet engine has a thin coat of electroplating on it, and that process takes place in the chemical tanks within the facility. Some of the parts come through for dimensional recovery, a process which restores thickness to its original specifications. Others are processed to prevent corrosion and/or prepare the surfaces for paint. Hard chrome plating, soft nickel, hard nickel, Borazon, Alodine, black oxide, passitive magnesium chromate and silver are just some of the platings that are processed at the facility.

The renovation project was no small task. Approximately 180 chemical storage tanks, each with a capacity of 1,000 gallons were removed and replaced while the facility remained completely operational. A 6-phase renovation process designed to allow production without interruption was implemented. Each stage focused on a specific process line area and demolition did not occur until the new duplicate process was installed and fully operational.

A new state-of-the-art process instrumentation and control system was installed for the plating shop tank processes, ventilation, and utilities. Upgrades included fully redundant central programmable logic controllers (PLC), Human machine interface (HMI) graphic terminals, which allows part tracking and all process functions related to individual parts. Other areas of modifications included the replacement of the operating floor, which included a comprehensive interior structural demolition of the working floor and mezzanines. Roof-mounted scrubbers/exhaust fans, electric, lighting, reverse osmosis (RO) water systems, process control as well as systems support structures were also replaced and modified.

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