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Pollution Prevention and Control Technologies for Plating Operations

Section 4 - Chemical Solution Maintenance


4.6.7 Operational and Maintenance Experience

The following summarizes the respondent's O&M experiences and provides operating labor information.

  • The average number of labor hours for ion transfer usage was: 148 hrs/yr. The skill category most commonly needed for operating this technology is a plater or common labor. The following is a breakdown of the responses for skill requirements:
         Environmental Engineer:        0
         Process/Chemical Engineer:     0
         Chemist:                       0
         Consultant:                    0
         Plumber/Pipe Fitter:           0
         Electrician:                   0  
         Vendor:                        0
         Senior-Level Plater:           4
         Junior Level Plater:           3
         Wastewater Treatment Operator: 1
         Trained Technician:            2
         Common Labor:                  3
         Other:                         0
  • In general, the commercial ion transfer equipment used for chromium bath maintenance requires little maintenance, has a relatively small downtime and a relatively long equipment life.
  • The porous pot technology is free of complex mechanical operational and maintenance problems due to its simple design and lack of moving parts. For the in-tank units, the following O&M items were identified by survey respondents:
  • Liquid and sludge must be removed from the pots periodically (range of frequency was 1 day to 1 week) (ref. PS 006, PS 062, PS 194, PS 074, PS 080, PS 118).
  • Unit must be dismantled and cleaned every week (PS 021).
  • The ceramic pots are fragile and/or must be periodically replaced due to breakage (PS 006, PS 062).
  • The unit must be removed from the tank during idle plating times and/or it is difficult to move from tank to tank (PS 062, PS 118).
  • Requires frequent observation to assure proper operation (PS 006).
  • Use of technology causes catalysts to become unbalanced (PS 006).
  • Unit consumes plating tank space (PS 062).
  • Only one of the respondents to the Users Survey used a multiple-porous pot unit. This respondent reported pot breakage to be an O&M problem. Similar experience is found in the literature (ref. 372).
  • Users of the polyfluorocarbon membrane units for bath maintenance and chromium recovery reported that equipment replacement was frequently necessary and expensive (PS 194, PS 134).

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