Norlex Chemicals’ complete green chemical program for paint detackification improved performance and reduced total cost of operation for a major surface treatment company in Sweden.

Summary

Client: Ytab, Industrial and automotive painting.

Painting: Manual and automatic applications on different types of plastics, aluminium and other metal components.

Paints: Primers, basecoats and clearcoats / water based, solvent based and 2 components.

Systems: 3 heavy duty paint wet scrubber cabins with one single flotation system.

Solution: Full range of green chemical detackification program, Replacing the existing dosing system, Training of operators.

Results: Stable operation, improved painting quality, maximum removal efficiency, reduced paint sludge, reduced cleaning, substitution of biocide.

Background

Norlex Chemicals automotive team was contacted by Ytab, a Swedish company specialized in painting and surface treatment, with a strong focus on plastic and composites. The majority of Ytabs customers are found in the global automotive industry including manufacturers of passenger cars, heavy vehicles, and sub-suppliers. They also provide painting services to other industries. The company had issues with the performance of its wet-scrubber system and the removal of paint overspray solids.

Challenges

After an on-site audit conducted by the Norlex technical specialists, the issues have been identified. Non-customized chemical treatment including the use of hazardous chemicals such as biocides in combination with a simple dosing and automation system. The result was unstable performance regarding foam control, recycled water quality, removal efficiency, paint sludge volumes and cleaning efforts. For the client this meant significant problems with low painting quality and increased downtime, maintenance, and cleaning.

Solution

After conducting a chemical screening in the laboratory, Norlex proposed a complete green solution including upgrading the dosing system with individual chemical pumps for detackifiers, flocculant, defoamer, pH adjustment and micro-biocontrol for each paint booth, to be able to dose chemicals proportional to the need.

Norlex green paint detackification program was based on the latest generation bio-polymer detackification, mineral oil free flocculant and deformer and biocide free micro-bio control.

Norlex has also implemented technical training for operators, plan for troubleshooting / technical support and continuous improvement including documentation and control measurements to reach performance and cost management goals.

Results

  • Removal efficiency increased by > 50%
  • Paint sludge volumes reduced by > 30%
  • Cleaning and maintenance efforts reduced by >25%
  • Painting quality as first time through (FTT) increased due to stable paint booth process parameters (air balance)
  • Improved micro-bio and odour control without using biocides
  • Substitution of hazardous chemicals such as biocides
  • Stable and proportional chemical treatment
  • Reduction of chemical consumption as result of Norlex continuous improvement plan
  • Replacing the diluted bio polymer based detackifier, resulting in significant reduction of detackifier usage (75%)
  • Replacing ready to use flock with water-based concentrate, resulting in significant reduction of flocculant usage (90%)

Conclusion

Norlex Chemicals has significantly improved the mechanical, operational, and chemical aspects of the overspray removal system. The improved paint quality, removal efficiency and staff safety, training and maintenance, have all contributed to superior performance and a significantly reduced total cost of operation.

With the continuous improvement plan Norlex Chemicals continues to work with the client to maintain the value created and to seek further opportunities to improve performance and efficiency.

Pictures below showing system after the implementation of Norlex Chemicals complete green solution and before.

Dosing system
After implementation
Advanced, automated and customized dosing system
Before implementation
Simple dosing system
Recycled water quality (flotation unit return)
After implementation
Very good and paint solids free
Before implementation
Poor with high amount paint solids
Removal efficiency (flotation unit sludge removal)
After implementation
Good flotation with good sludge removal
Before implementation
Poor flotation with average sludge removal
Paint sludge
After implementation

Excellent sludge quality with dryness > 55%

Before implementation

Average sludge quality with dryness < 35%

Foam Control
After implementation
Excellent foam control
Before implementation
Poor foam control
Micro Bio-control
After implementation

Low SRB (anaerobic bacteria)
Low TCC (aerobic bacteria) < 103
Non-hazardous chemical

Before implementation

High SRB (anaerobic bacteria)
High TCC (aerobic bacteria) < 105
Hazardous chemical (biocide)