Now that China is part
of the global manufacturing scene, it is facing problems that the Western
world has had to address for many years. The influx of industrial
enterprises, both from national and foreign companies, is replacing the
landscape that was previously devoted to farming. The urbanization and
industrialization of China
has brought not only economic growth and prosperity, but also the problems of
any modern nation, including pollution from untreated household and industrial
As China gears up for
the 2008 Olympics, the government is even more aware of how it wants to present
its nation to the world - and is specifically asking manufacturers to curb
pollution from their plants or suffer the consequences of a shutdown. Further, Beijing is expected to
invest 12.46 billion yuan (US$1.59 billion) between 2006 and 2010 to control
the worsening water pollution. The proposal is designed to ensure a cleaner
water supply for the city and its 16 million residents.
Polluted Lake Water
One such area in China experiencing the effects of pollution is Tai Lake,
the third largest freshwater lake in China. According to a report from
the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai, Tai Lake
supplies more than 33 million people with water for drinking and farming needs,
and serves as a means of flood control and aquaculture. In addition to
providing shipping routes and economically supporting the area with fisheries,
the lake aids in waste disposal, thus uncontrolled and untreated wastes from
manufacturing facilities, fertilizer plants, and households are seriously
compromising the ecosystem of Tai
Lake. To date,
approximately 2,000 chemical manufacturing companies have been notified by the
government to shut down operations.
For manufacturers in
the region who use zinc phosphates and other solvent-based chemicals in their
finishing processes, an even larger problem is looming: the Chinese government
will no longer grant operating permits to companies using environmentally
compromising technology. These companies are faced with the dilemma of either
ceasing their manufacturing operations in China or finding an alternative to
the zinc phosphate finishing process.
Corrosion Control Coatings, a high-performance, aqueous-based coating developed
by LORD Corp., does not require zinc phosphates as a component in the finishing
process and therefore can help manufacturers meet pollution-control
regulations. The LORD MetalJacket system is environmentally friendly, as it
contains no hazardous components, generates minimal hazardous waste and sludge,
and uses no toxic acids or heavy metals. Air and wastewater emissions are
A Non-Solvent Solution
According to Todd
Wallis, Global Market manager for the MetalJacket product line, the finishing
process is a crucial part of manufacturing, particularly for automotive
components and subassemblies.
Although air and water
pollution are both of concern in the Tai
Lake region, it is the
pollution from the cleaning and phosphatizing processes that are directly
impacting the water in the area. Heavy metals, such as zinc, lead, chrome and
cadmium, impact wastewater or effluent streams and are controlled by either a
wastewater treatment system, hauling off the wastewater or conversion to other
technologies. However, there are often not direct offsets to these inorganic
“As part of the
manufacturing process, zinc phosphate has two main functions: it provides
corrosion protection to the manufactured parts, and acts as an interface
between the substrate and the primer,” Wallis explained. “The environmental
problems occur during the finishing process, where oils, greases, dirt and
other contaminates, such as zinc phosphate, become part of the wastewater.”
Meeting China's Codes
With the MetalJacket
process, a manufacturer can achieve corrosion protection and even improve the
part’s functional performance without using zinc phosphate. This is especially
important for manufacturers in China
who must meet newly legislated environmental regulations in order to continue
or even begin a manufacturing operation.
“For a manufacturer in China
who is looking to build a new plant or refurbish an existing facility, it would
be advantageous to install the MetalJacket system,” Wallis said. “Not only does
our MetalJacket process result in less environmental impact, it also is more
cost effective, provides higher productivity and produces a better performing
As an example, Wallis
related the experience LORD Corp. had with a major tier-one supplier in China.
This company was adding capacity and building a new plant, including the
addition of a spray line for a chrome-containing product. By integrating the
MetalJacket system, the company was able to eliminate both the zinc phosphate
line and the chrome-containing product. This significantly reduced the new
line’s environmental impact and allowed the company to obtain the needed
operating permits - a win for everyone involved.
Along with its
environmental friendliness, the LORD MetalJacket system has other advantages,
including the elimination of process steps and the ability to continue using
established part designs.
Wallis explained how a
LORD MetalJacket finishing operation can be automated to supply consistent
quality with lower labor costs. “The MetalJacket system is an automated
process,” said Wallis. “Manufactured parts are loaded on one end, the coating
is applied in a uniform film thickness, and the products are off-loaded at the
automated system allows the manufacturer to run a high-productivity,
high-quality, consistent coating process day-after-day, resulting in less
processing time and reduced costs.
A Business Necessity
operating in China,
the question is not whether they should or should not look for alternatives to
environmentally damaging chemicals, they must look for a technology that
has less impact on the environment.
“We want manufacturers
to know there is a new technology they can implement,” said Wallis.
“MetalJacket can help manufacturers to meet environmental compliance while
delivering a higher performance coating at a lower overall cost, and most
important, will allow them to continue to operate their businesses.”
About LORD Corp.
With headquarters in Cary, NC, and sales in excess of
$700-MM, LORD Corp. is a privately held company that designs, manufactures, and
markets devices and systems to manage mechanical motion and control noise and
vibration; formulates, produces, and sells general-purpose and specialty
adhesives and coatings; and develops products and systems using magnetically
responsive technologies. With manufacturing in nine countries and offices in
more than 15 major business centers, LORD employs more than 2,400 worldwide.
For more information, visit www.lord.com.