Proactive Pretreatment Prevents Rust, Risk, and Rework

Agriculture, construction and heavy equipment (ACE) parts need to thrive in harsh weather environments. If proper precautions are not taken, corrosion will set in quickly. This will reduce the life span of the coating. Therefore, it is crucial for ACE companies to have robust strategies for chemical pretreatment.

The number of stages and types of chemicals may vary from project to project, but all ACE parts rely on pretreatment to promote adhesion and fight corrosion. There are no shortcuts: you cannot guarantee a smooth finish without excellent pretreatment.   

Most pretreatment systems re-use chemicals. Engineers should keep an eye on concentration, pH, temperature and spray nozzle pressure. Employees should also monitor rinse stages (city water, DI or RO) for total dissolved solids (TDS). 

Temperature is another key factor to balance. If setpoint is too hot, the solution might boil. If setpoint is too cold, parts might not be cleaned. It is best to maintain consistent temperature in the sweet spot. You can use downtime between shifts to check nozzles, replacing any that are plugged, broken or misaligned.

The timing of maintenance is as crucial as the maintenance itself. Try to follow regular intervals. Common practice is once at the start of a shift and once hallway through the shift. The length of intervals depends on how many parts are going through the system.

Please remember to track and use data: concentrations, temperatures, pH and time of fresh chemical additions. If your records show persistent problems, it could be time to re-evaluate the process. Please talk to your chemical pretreatment supplier. They should stop by monthly to perform audits, review data and offer system improvements.

Day-to-day maintenance will only work for so long. From time to time, the line will need to be shut down: empty your tanks and add fresh chemicals to each stage. The frequency of your dump, clean and re-charge will depend on the number of parts in your line. Please coordinate this activity with your chemical pretreatment supplier. 

In conclusion, please be proactive with your pretreatment maintenance. When it comes to cleaning and coating ACE parts, it is better to be safe than sorry.

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