Editorial Magazine 2015/3

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TECHNICAL VICTORY (FOR EXTRUDERS AND ANODIZERS),
BUT WHAT IS THE INDUSTRY RESPONSE? (AND RESPONSIBILITY)?

 

The challenge began in Budapest in 1990 at the old EURAS (European Anodizing Association) “Today’s architectural anodizing practice to satisfy our eyes is mostly based” said the Dutch expert Van Den Heuvel “On a satin etch in a so called never dump etch solution; in my opinion this is a middle-age practice and not in harmony with today’s meaning and knowledge of ecology: protection of environment and economy of energy and raw materials”.
“In 1990” he continued “it is a paradox that we have to etch away about 100-150 grams of costly refi ned aluminium per m2 just to create an architectural finish satisfying our customers eyes”.
This way of pretreatment means for the European and World production very astonishing figures. Just some indicative data.
World production of extrusions in 2014: 25 millions of tons
European production of extrusions: 3 million tons

• Estimated production of anodizing fi nish for architectural market (where heavy etch is used) about 100 million-m2
• Loss of aluminium in satin etch 15,000 tones
• Today’s economic value: about 22,500 millions euro (aluminium lost)
• Waste of electricity for refi ning approx.: 300 million Kwh
• Production of unnecessary waste solid sludge due to aluminium loss and dissolution: about 150,000 tons.

“What is the point of the story?” continued Mr. Van Den Heuvel “I think and hope that it is a task and a must for the entire aluminium transforming industry, rollers, extruders, anodizers and chemical suppliers to find preventive measures and solutions to minimize the need of metal loss and to create new industrial finishing processes for satisfying our customers and responding to today’s and tomorrow’s way of environmental protection and ecological thinking. We still put too much energy into fighting problems like sludge production and removal etc.
But we have to invest more energy in developing preventative measures and technologies”.

After only 3 years, in 1993, my technical team issued a patent and put in operation the first machines named Satmac in France and China for mechanical etching.
And now mechanical etching is widely known, but a new chemical technology has recently being developed: acid etch.
Acid Etch can replace completely the use of caustic soda and create a similar nice matt finish providing 80% - 90% of metal saving and a saving of 80% - 90% in the formation of sludge and related removal costs.
The technology is quite new, but only few factories mainly in US, Australia and Turkey are using it. Why?
I hope and wish the modern industries may open their “eyes” soonest and start to have great money savings and great ecological impact.

 

Walter Dalla Barba
Editor 

 

Acid etch has been presented at the recent 9th Aluminium Two Thousand Congress,
Ask Interall for full papers: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.