Air treatment in electroplating

Electroplating is a process of a thin metal coating formation on a prepared metal surface through the use of electric current. The process involves cleaning and pretreatment of a metal surface with strong acids and surface-stripping agents, like caustic soda and chlorinated hydrocarbons. The process also involves other harmful and toxic substances, e.g. cyanides. Consequently, the vapors that are a result of electroplating often contain elevated levels of volatile organic and metal compounds; moreover, the mix of cyanide and acidic wastewaters produces hydrogen cyanide gas, which is lethal. Electroplating air emissions often contain high levels of trichloroethylene and trichloroethane.

Air treatment in electroplating

Proper air treatment and pollution control are essential to avoid dangerous chemical reactions that may occur and to prevent air and water pollution. The air treatment procedures serve two main objectives:

  1. Protect the working environment;
  2. Reduce harmful gas emissions into the atmosphere.

The first objective is relatively easy to complete and requires less sophisticated solutions. Exhaust hoods and good ventilation systems are enough to dispose of the harmful gases and vapors, protect the working environment and prevent the generation of lethal gases. However, the exhaust streams must be treated to reduce the amount of volatile organic compounds in them.

The second objective requires the use of air scrubbers. They provide high treatment quality and effectively scrub polluted air. Wet air scrubbers are more appropriate for electroplating since exhaust gases may contain acid mists.

Due to environmental guidelines, the treatment quality of polluted air must be 90% or higher. This efficiency is acquired through the use of wet air scrubbers, most of which have a high air treatment quality that is generally over 90%.

Scroiler™ — a new type of wet air scrubber — is already used during electroplating processes. Several Scroiler™s are already installed over the electroplating baths to absorb Chromium compounds and NaOH vapors. The treatment quality is higher than 99.9% both on Chromium compounds and NaOH vapors.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about Scroiler™ please contact us at info@optromix.com.

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