Metal specialist optimises pre-treatment to cut costs and waste

© azbota, image #180563602, source:


Energy Waste Materials Water Substances
Manufacture and repair of metal products, machinery and equipment
Investment cost:
High cost
Cost savings:
Fewer additives, lower natural gas consumption, lower costs related to waste management, lower water consumption
Payback time:
Mainly due to savings in additive and natural gas consumption, and waste management
High cost
Size of company:
Medium (less than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:

Turning a need into a genuine opportunity

  • Metal specialist rethinks its whole paint pre-treatment line  
  • Massive time and cost savings, cleaner processes and a more streamlined process are the results

TECNICHAPA develops and manufactures metallic components and cubicles for distribution network for Velatia companies.

With plans to enlarge its furnace, used for drying pieces before painting, the company needed more space. Tecnichapa took this opportunity to optimise pieces in its whole pre-treatment line, which includes a degreasing, phosphating and 'passivating' processes.

The redesign involved several changes:

  • Installing a larger natural gas furnace (no need for additional furnace which saves on gas consumption in hot phosphating, in particular)
  • Incorporating a surfactant dosing system and skimmer to collect scum generated in degreasing (reduces pollution load swept into the washing bucket)
  • Widening the collector ramp for the degreasing drips which also deals with the pollution load and ion exchange treatment
  • Replacing the phosphating and 'passivating' process with non-contaminating pre-treatment
  • Reducing water treatment plant operations
  • Eliminating acid chemical cleaning in the degreasing installation (carried out every five years)

Key benefits

  • Reduction of hazardous waste generated during pre-treatment (from 18 000 kg to 2 000 kg annually)
    • 91.5 % (7 900 kg) reduction in degreasing, phosphating and 'passivating' hazardous waste generation
    • Duplication of the ion exchange resin life cycle, from 1 650 kg generated every 18 months to every three years
    • Elimination of 6 300 kg waste generated by water treatment
    • Elimination of 15 000 kg of acid waste generated in the degreasing installation
    • Reduction of chemical product packaging
  • Reduction of environmental risks related to polluted water treatment
  • Savings related to fewer additives needed
  • Cost reduction due to lower natural gas consumption
  • Cost reduction of the hazardous waste collection, storage and processing, as well as external costs related to waste management
  • Less time dedicated to cleaning and maintenance
  • Reduced water consumption in rinsing

Ihobe (2018). First results report from the studies of hazardous waste minimization in the Basque Country,


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