Michigan Plater Tackles Emissions With New Equipment

Elm Plating's coating line uses closed pollution control equipment To solve air issues.


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A partnership between the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and Elm Plating Company in Jackson, Michigan, has paid off big for the shop.

Elm Plating is a family owned company operating in Jackson since 1951. As a metal finishing business, it applies protective coatings to fasteners, stampings and other metal compounds. In 2015, Air Quality Division (AQD) staff became aware of a new plant and initiated a compliance inspection. Following this regulatory evaluation, it was determined that due to the significant level of emissions released by the coating process, additional steps would be necessary in order to get this plant into full compliance with state and federal air pollution rules.

In the months following the inspection, Elm Plating and EGLE worked together to find the best route to compliance. For EGLE, this involved working with Elm Plating for the issuance of a permit that outlined the required operational procedures for its coating processes. Subsequently, as a company that had already embraced technology by using robotics in their old production line, Elm Plating responded with a new, fully automated, state-of-the-art coating line developed by corrosion experts at Dörken MKS with equipment designed by Sidasa Engineering. The equipment is comprised of six robots within an entirely enclosed, climate-controlled paint area, and all emissions are routed to a treatment unit that reduces volatile air emissions by 97%.

“This new production line at Elm Plating represents the largest and most technically advanced dip spin coating production line in the world,” says Sam Bitonit, vice president of the company’s organic coating division. Overall, Bitonit says the equipment is more environmentally friendly, uses less water and process chemicals, is safer to operate, and allows for a higher efficiency output.

A more recent inspection of this plant was conducted in late 2018 by Stephanie Weems of the AQD staff. At that time, EGLE staff was able to see the extent to which Elm Plating was complying with requirements and how they went above and beyond expectations. A tour of the new coating line included a demonstration explaining how well the new controls work to prevent chemicals from entering the outside air.

After learning of the new line’s history, Weems attributed this local success story to the highly trained staff of EGLE, the dedication and investment of Elm Plating, and the essential cooperation between regulators and industry.