Q. We’re considering conversion of our washer from iron phosphate to a new zirconium product. We’ve been told it will save energy and reduce maintenance with no loss of performance. Is that true? What things do we need to look for as far as the washer is concerned to make sure we can run this new product? B.A.
A. In general, the transitional metal products that include zirconium oxide do save energy and reduce maintenance. They do not need heat, and they do not generate significant sludge. You should be aware of several issues. You must have stainless steel tanks, pumps and tunnel. These products require very clean substrates, so make sure you have excellent cleaning with oil removal or solids removal if you have a lot of oil or grit. Rinsing is critical, because alkalinity will cause major problems in the treatment tank. Two rinses are better than one. These are the critical issues.
Talk to your chemical supplier and do some testing. I think you will find it is a real benefit.