Products Finishing

NOV 2013

Products Finishing magazine is the No. 1 industrial finishing publication in the world. We keep our readers informed about the latest news and trends in plating, painting, powder coating, anodizing, electrocoating, parts cleaning, and pretreatment.

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Page 32 of 59

Cutting Down Pretreatment waste anD water own company in 2006, and the "We started with about 300 test What fnishing managers face division also boasts a number of panels, ranging from a low of about every day is the balance between strong brands that include Gardena, 2 percent up to about 5 percent," routinely getting nine and 10 McCulloch, PoulanPro, WeedEater, Holland says. "Then came the saltDixon and Bluebird. spray tests, which of course took ratings on salt-spray tests, and Husqvarna Group products and several months for that many test satisfying the company's desire private-label brands are sold in panels." to become a greener, more most mass channels and by more The results were very pleasing to than 4,000 independent dealers Holland, as the panels showed very eco-friendly manufacturer. nationwide. little if any change from those that But being an international company means also trying to had been pretreated with the iron phosphate, which produced stay in front of environmental concerns around the globe, large amounts of sludge and required constant cleaning of which is why Husqvarna decided to take a hard look at its production processes to see where improvements could be made, where ecological changes could occur, and where cost-savings could be had. Less Waste, More Efficient Holland says he went over his pretreatment and powder coating lines thoroughly before deciding to investigate the switch from a conventional iron phosphate process to one that had less waste, was more energy-efficient and used less water than before. One of the first things Holland did was sit down with David VanLeuven, technical sales manager for chemical supplier Chemetall, to discuss a plan for conversion. The Husqvarna-Chemetall relationship goes back almost 20 years to when the supplier helped Holland convert from an alkaline to an acid cleaner in 1996, which saved more than 5 million gallons of waste water annually at the former Electrolux manufacturing plant. So it was with a good track record that VanLeuven began working with Holland on the nine-stage washer system, first starting with some testing during a weekend in 2012 with Chemetall's Oxsilan, a non-phosphorous pretreatment that is a drop-in replacement for iron phosphate processes. Gary Nelson, Oxsilan product manager for Chemetall, says that phosphorous is coming under growing discharge restrictions from regulatory authorities, and that many of these regions have limits or surcharges that range from as high as 25 mg/L to as low as 1 mg/L of phosphorous. "To give a point of reference, a conventional iron phosphate bath might contain 500-1,000 mg/L of phosphorous and the rinse stage after it may contain15-30 mg/L, assuming a 3 percent contamination level in the rinse," Nelson says. Testing Chemistry VanLeuven met with Holland and his staff on a Saturday morning to run some test samples with the new chemistry before converting it back on Monday. Husqvarna converted its pretreatment line to a nonphosphorous process. PRODUCTS FINISHING — 31

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