Cascade system for powder coating pretreatment

© Dinga, image #38898168, source:


Materials Water
Manufacture and repair of metal products, machinery and equipment
Investment cost:
High cost
High cost
Size of company:
Small (less than 50)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:

Getting the full (pre)treatment

  • Material efficiency report reveals where water and chemical savings can be made
  • Measures introduced lead to a 90 % reduction in annual water use and 72 % chemical savings 

In the German company Farbe + Design GmbH, individual metal pieces are chemically pretreated for powder coating. To improve efficiency, the company installed a cascade system to prepare the workpieces for coating, resulting in major water and chemical savings.

Management realised that its rinsing processes were highly inefficient: not only were pretreatment and pickling chemicals being wasted, but their release in process water resulted in the production of sludge in subsequent baths, impacting the quality of the end product.

The company participated in a programme launched by the German Material Efficiency Agency (Demea), which helped to fund a thorough PIUS-Check. The programme helped Farbe + Design develop a new process control and implement a cascade system using rinsing waters more efficiently. For this, the firm installed an additional fresh water feed which results in less chemicals in the rinsing water and, ultimately, simpler and less expensive waste-water treatment. At the same time, it improves the pretreatment which means less powder needed for the coating.

Key results

The measures led to a 90 % reduction in annual water use (1 600 m3) and 72 % chemical savings (10 tonnes). Investment in pipes, collection containers and pumps, which cost around € 10 000, resulted in combined annual cost savings of € 17 000. The new pretreatment system can pay for itself within half a year.

Effizienz-Agentur NRW, Effizientere Prozesswasserführung senkt Material und Chemikalienbedarf nachhaltig,…

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