Editorial Magazine 2013/3

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 BIG PROGRESS FOR ECOLOGY AND COST REDUCTION

 

The last edition of Aluminium Two Thousand 8th World Congress sent to the aluminium world a clear message for the future of our indus-try: ecology and cost reduction should become a priority for the modern extrusion and anodizing plants .
The challenge began in Budapest in 1990 at the annual EURAS (former name of ESTAL, the European Aluminium Surface Treatment association) during the conclusion of an important meeting about ecology in anodizing and extrusion.
In the meeting, one of the board members, stated that “Today’s ar-chitectural anodizing practice to satisfy our eyes is mostly based on a satin etch in a, so called, never-dump etch solution. In my opinion this is a middle age practice and it is not in harmony with today’s meaning and knowledge of ecology, environment protection and energy and raw material economy. In 1990 – he continued – it is a paradox that we have to etch away about 100/150 g of costly refined aluminium per m2
(5% of the weight of a profile or any alu-minium part!!!) just to create an architectural finish that can satisfy
our customers’ eyes.”
Loss of aluminium in satin etch before anodizing. What is the point of the story?
I think, and I hope that you do too, that it is a task and a must for the entire aluminium transforming industry, rollers and extruders, anodiz-ers and chemical suppliers, to find preventive measures and solu-tions to minimize the need of metal loss and to create new industrial finishing processes that can satisfy our customers and that respond to today’s and to tomorrow’s needs for environmental protection and ecological thinking.
We still put too much energy in solving problems like sludge removal and transportation.
We have to invest more energy in developing preventive measures and technologies.
Now the solutions are possible and the options are more than one.
As regards anodizing the proposed solutions are: Mechanical etching with the innovative “wonder matt” system (see
Alunews) Acid etch, by means of a low metal removal acid solution (see Alunews) Now, good news about extrusion process.
In the extrusion industry great steps ahead have been made to-wards the reduction of large amounts of spent etch solution as a
consequence of primitive systems of die cleaning without recovery of caustic soda.
Nowadays it is possible to recover about 85% of spent caustic soda after use in die cleaning (see Alunews).
R&D has made big progresses in the direction of sludge and waste reduction in anodizing and extrusion: now it is interest and duty of the industries to apply them to their plants.