Pre-treatment change yields major benefits

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Considerable energy savings and a reduction in water consumption have been achieved after Curries converted to a zirconium-based pre-treatment process for metal door frames.

Challenge

Our manufacturing facilities continuously examine production processes to find ways to reduce environmental impact and generate cost savings. US-based hollow metal door and frame manufacturer Curries analyzed its pre-treatment process to find a better method. The production was using a five-stage iron phosphate process to pre-treat hollow metal door frames prior to painting.

Solution

After examining various options, Curries converted to a zirconium pre-treatment process in 2018. The various stages of the process were reconfigured to accommodate the new chemical. The existing washer was modified – the previous iron phosphatizing stage was converted to a rinse stage and a counter-flow rinse process was implemented to reduce water use. The zirconium does not require heating, so Curries was able to shut down its gas heater.

Result

Natural gas reduction of 3,100 MWh has been achieved with savings of USD 52,400 (SEK 511,000) per year and reduced carbon footprint of 630 tons, the equivalent of enough energy to power 100 homes for one year. Water reduction of over 16 million liters has been achieved with cost savings of USD 28,000 (SEK 273,000) a year. Chemical costs have been reduced by USD 86,400 (SEK 842,000) per year. Additional savings have been realized due to reduced work required to maintain tank cleanliness.