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Pre-treatment of metal surfaces

INPRA LATINA spoke with two representatives of a company specialized in pretreatment solutions for metal surfaces, who presented the main trends in this segment.


The pretreatment of metal surfaces has been generating new technological alternatives that allow processes, from chemical development, to be much more efficient and friendly to the environment, two key words in today's industry. 

To talk about the evolution of this segment and new developments, we will learn about the experience of the company Bycsa, a company that has as its main headquarters the city of Medellín, Colombia, and that for several years has been working on new processes and moves away from the traditional ones. 

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We speak with Omar Andrés Ospina, technical director and Anuar Sabogal, commercial director of the Powder & Coatings line. 

INPRA LATINA: What is the basis of a pre-treatment of metal surfaces prior to painting?
Omar Andrés Ospina:
 It is based on two fundamental characteristics: the first is that it creates an anticorrosive surface that protects the metal, that is fundamental. Second, that it generates an anchor surface so that the paint generates mechanical properties of adhesion that are not proper if they were made directly on the substrate. 

INPRA: What kind of new technologies exist on the market for surface pretreatment?
Bycsa has had two important development aspects and has advanced further towards the issue of organic phosphating and towards the issue of nanotechnologies. On the one hand, organic phosphating has excellent virtues of coating elasticity and thermal benefits of water consumption; with this we go from working five stages of the traditional process to one stage. 

In nanotechnologies both environmental and process benefits are generated, which are also in reduction of stages, we have four stages with the new one compared to the six stages of traditional processes.

INPRA: How long have you been working on these new processes?
We have been developing and working at the laboratory level for four years now, and this has been gaining more strength for about a year; we are trying to implement all that technology at an industrial level, we already have customers in Medellín and Ecuador and it is a very innovative technology with very important technical and environmental benefits.

- In organic phosphating it is a process that saves water, because it is an organic phase that does not consume any water resources; on the other hand, it does not generate sludge, like current phosphating technologies that generate sludge with nitrites that are very polluting. 

- In nanotechnology, the effluent is exempted from two components that are even regulated by the environmental standard 0631, which greatly regulates the phosphorus and nitrogen content. Nanotechnology uses other types of components such as zirconium and titanium that are very specific formulations and that avoid regulated effluents.

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INPRA: In what kind of industries are these processes most recommended?
They are oriented towards industries of refrigerators, auto parts, white line, where they handle coll roll or HR type sheets, galvanizer type, they are processes that are multimetal.

INPRA: How do you introduce developments to the market?
Bycsa's philosophy is to start from the technical and take it to the commercial field. There is the Bycsa school where we give talk to customers, we take them to the flat and teach them the applications, we also have a marketing department that generates that type of promotions and news of new developments.

Our plant is located in Barbosa (municipality of Antioquia near Medellín), we have an office in San Lucas, Medellín; and we have a distribution system of several offices such as  Manizales, Bogotá, Barranquilla; and in Ecuador in Guayaquil and Quito. We have approximately 18 technical advisors who do both the commercial and the technical part, with a profession of chemists, and the idea is to do a job that allows us to implement technically with customers.

INPRA: With regard to the environmental issue, what is the contribution made by these new technologies?
The fact of being able to eliminate stages generates significant savings, and in parallel to these two technologies, we created a treatment plant development unit, which aims to take advantage of the 48-year-old chemical knowledge of all its formulations to help customers implement treatment plants. We help them not only to improve the root problem in the process, but also in the effluent as such, we have units that generate coagulation processes flocculation, filtration and leaves the water in optimal conditions, either to be reused in the process, or if the client wants to make an effluent that meets the environmental requirement that the ministry currently has.

INPRA: What is the formulation process that the client must follow?
When you are going to do a pre-treatment project, we define with the client what their saline chamber resistance is, and based on that we do a whole engineering of stages, then we do the sizing of the equipment, we do preliminary tests that we take them to a saline chamber equipment that complies with the ASTM b117 standard and from there we scale; then we do an economic study of how much that pretreatment costs per square meter. What Bycsa sells are integral processes, costs, accompaniment of the implementation process, and we do technical postservice where we provide services of simulation of saline chamber, impact test, adhesion test, and permanently we have technicians who are visiting the plants.

INPRA: What kind of technologies in application equipment exist for this segment of the sector?
The technologies that are handled for this type of process are corona powder coating application technologies. This technology also allows to open the spectrum a little to different types of paints, such as epoxy, polyester, epoxypolyester and polyurethanes, which allows the client to have alternatives in equipment that allows him to adapt his process to the specific need. 

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Bycsa has been working for 18 years with the company Gema, from Switzerland, of application of paints, and we handle the technological advances in terms of weight of guns, ergonomics, performance of paints; it also manages the efficient application process, reducing color change times, managing construction engineering and cabin design, and all this will contribute to complementing the chemical area the client finds better options in terms of cost reduction, maintenance and standardization of quality and state-of-the-art technologies.

INPRA: Customer training?
In this sense, we have been working for about six years to try to change the mentality of the industrialist, in the face of updating processes, and in this sense it has been very important the approach that Bycsa gives to the market in integrating the client in order to generate changes that lead them to handle these new technologies, It is also necessary that the client can take the pretreatment technology and that of the application to points of total process alignment, which allows them to obtain benefits from the economic, quality and projection point of view of their companies.

INPRA: In what aspects should customer knowledge be strengthened?
Bycsa manages a support engineering department, where we train paint operators and applicators to minimize paint consumption, which is an issue where the industry has quite high losses. Through color change technology, dust recovery, operator awareness for the application, we are moving forward and obtaining results over time.

INPRA: Current knowledge of the client?
There is a long way to go, large appliance companies invest in development, research and technology, and all those aspects, but in the medium and small company there is a lot to work on, without this implying for them large investments and that compromise their assets; on the contrary, this will allow them to project their companies, be more profitable, more efficient and endure over time.

Duván Chaverra Agudelo
Author: Duván Chaverra Agudelo
Jefe Editorial en Latin Press, Inc,.
Comunicador Social y Periodista con experiencia de más de 16 años en medios de comunicación. Apasionado por la tecnología y por esta industria. [email protected]

One thought on “Pre-treatment of metal surfaces”

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  1. Ernesto rico
    Friday, 22 October 2021 18:00
    Buenas tardes.. necesito número de teléfono de distribuidor en Bogotá... gracias

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