In general, the surface treatment has been carried out to date by large lot production (batch treatment); such a production system results in several disadvantages such as large scale equipment, large required space, long lead time and high fluctuation of the product quality.
In the present paper, a technology which can be carried out for small lot production has been investigated to solve the above disadvantages. The technical point of small lot production essentially lies in the development of a high speed treatment technology; if small lot production is performed without success in high speed technology, no advantage can be given; only a larger space becomes necessary for the equipment. Here, in the present paper, investigation of a high speed process for each step of electroless nickel plating will be described. Concrete results of an investigation of the technology for increasing the speed of scale removal and degreasing as pretreatment, as well as the development of a high speed bath in the plating step and the adoption of a partial heating process for thermal setting of the plated film, will be illustrated. Compact equipment capable of nearly piece-by-piece feeding which can cope with small scale production of many grades, including the development of the above-mentioned technologies, has been designed for practical application. It will be also described briefly.