Choosing The Right Akalinity Builder

There was a time when anyone working with soiled base metals could easily clean any surface. Over the past 60 years regulations discouraging or preventing the use of solvent degreasing/cleaning and cyanide-based processes has forced metal finisher to find alternatives for properly cleaning the base metals they need to process. No one disputes that a good clean surface is an absolute prerequisite for proper metal finishing. The old adage “nothing sticks until it is clean” has never been truer for metal finishers. Today, Alkaline cleaning is the primary method used on base metals prior to … [Read more...]

How is Asterion handling GHS?

Asterion has completed the conversion from the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) to the GHS compliant Safety Data Sheet (SDS). We are currently distributing the SDS to customers. A SDS was sent for any products purchased after January 1, 2014. This time frame was based on the standard expiration, of one year, for Asterion products. Those that have requested the SDS in hard copy format, they were mailed on April 24. Those that requested the e-mail format, should have received those SDS between April 23 and April 28. Asterion has made the conversion to the use of the new label format. You … [Read more...]

Tips to Overcome the Confusion and Trials of “Tribal Knowledge”

"Tribal knowledge" is any unwritten information that is not commonly known by others within a company. This term is used most when referencing information that may need to be known by others in order to produce a quality product or service.  I have been hearing this term a lot lately, I found out it may have been made popular by Six Sigma training.  In the metal finishing industry, we are faced with a lot of turnover, death, extinction/rebirth of plating machines, employment position eliminations, and new workers into the workforce.  Along with these challenges, the "basics" of metal finishing … [Read more...]

Winning the War on Filth – Part 2

I've encountered a lot of frustrations dealing with oxidation scale or scale from welding, heat treating, or laser cutting. The customer doesn't communicate to the finisher that the new soil source is coming their way; then the temp worker hangs the part on the auto line; next thing you know the temp worker is reworking hundreds of parts due to blisters and poor plating coverage. So what system will work to help remove the standard soils you may be encountering and still survive the attack of a foreign scale? Here are some suggestions that have worked for some of my clients, as well as some … [Read more...]

What To Know When Switching Soak Cleaners

When selecting "the best" cleaner for your operation, it is important to look at many factors. Each type offers their own benefits and disadvantages. I've listed some of the important things to consider when making your selection, but it will come down to working with a trusted vendor to work and test through your options before making your final selection. The simple answer is that all or one of the types of cleaners may be the best choice for your operation. Consider these three categories to narrow your search: substrate (the surface or type of metal you are cleaning), the soils you need … [Read more...]

Metal Hydroxide Precipitation

Heavy metals are very common contaminants in industrial waste treatment streams. Due to the fact that many metals are very toxic, they are removed before the waste water is discharged from the facility. The list of most common heavy metal contaminants include lead, copper, chromium, nickel, silver, zinc, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic. The most common way to effectively remove these metals from the waste stream is by precipitating the metal in an insoluble form, such as hydroxides or sulfides. Precipitation by hydroxide formation is the most common method. Many heavy metals are amphoteric, … [Read more...]

What Can I do to Lengthen the Life of my Cleaner Bath?

There are a few things that will affect the life of your cleaner baths. The first is the condition of parts that you are putting into the bath. If they are covered in and dripping with oil/grime, your cleaner isn’t going to last very long as it will have a lot to clean up. This is easily fixed by lowering the amount of oil used to ship or manufacture the parts. Note that this may not be possible if you aren’t in charge of manufacturing the parts. It’s recommended that you discuss this with those who send you the parts to be plated. Additionally, depending on the type of cleaner you are using, … [Read more...]

I Need A Cleaner, What Have You Got?

For such a simple question, why is the answer so complex?  It starts with the understanding of what a cleaner is made of. Since we rarely deal with solvent cleaning these days, let’s limit this discussion to aqueous cleaners.  There is an extensive list of products that are incorporated into cleaners, and they all serve a function in one capacity or another.  Here is a list of common additives and the functions they perform in a cleaning system. Builders A builder is the basic component of an aqueous cleaner and the workhorse of all components.  Common builders are sodium hydroxide, … [Read more...]

Liquid Cleaner Preference

During my more than 30 years in the metal finishing industry, a slow and quiet revolution has taken place. Early in my career many finishers would ask, “Why should I pay for water?” when we discussed liquid cleaners. Now when I talk to most metal finishing shops, they tell me they have a preference for liquid cleaners. Why the new preference over the powder equivalents? My clients and prospects give me many reasons: It could be for safety, for control, for ease of handling and sometimes for the simple choice of a longer bath life. User Safety and Other Preferences Worker safety has always … [Read more...]

Increase Productivity to Maximize Profitability

It is easy to become complacent as we run our businesses. As many say, “We get stuck inside our comfort zone." To stay competitive, metal finishing operations must continually search for ways to improve their productivity to maximize profits. Acid Zinc Chloride Plating Solutions Many finishing companies operate acid zinc chloride (often called chloride zinc) plating solutions due to the faster plating speed achieved and the ability to plate directly on hardened steel. Yes, alkaline zinc offers you distinct advantages like excellent plate distribution as seen in the old, high cyanide bearing … [Read more...]