"Our oil and gas customers required corrosion protected parts and just-in-time delivery," Mr. Dobias stated. "These are large, down-hole steel components that are often stored outdoors before installation so they are subject to corrosion. In our area, outside finishers are several hours away. Turnaround time was a real problem. Also, their finishing tank sizes were limited for our larger parts. We needed large capacity and ferrous metal corrosion protection. We knew about Birchwood Technologies and asked for their metal finishing input. Birchwood Technologies chemists performed several no obligation, no cost test finishes on our sample parts in their lab. They recommended their zinc phosphate process and showed us how their MicroLok MZN and Dri-Touch Plus IRP3 process combination would answer our needs, so we went with a new system."
The MicroLok® MZN process is a fine-grained zinc phosphating solution for iron and steel components. These materials make up the majority of A.R. Machining's present work. Applied at 120°-160° F, the finish complies with MIL-DTL-16232G, Type Z Classes 1, 2 and 3. This was an important advantage for A. R. Machining because the company is expanding its work in the military industry. When sealed with a rust preventive, the MicroLok MZN finish has excellent corrosion resistance and also provides anti-galling protection and break-in lubricity to critical working surfaces--important advantages in certain military applications.
Birchwood Technologies proved to A. R. Machine that the MicroLok and Dri-Touch Plus IRP3 process is ideal for these kinds of work. That included not only oil field equipment, but also any steel components that require robust corrosion protection, anti-galling properties and break-in lubricity without a significant dimensional change.
For the needed extra corrosion protection, A. R. Machine utilizes Birchwood Technologies' Dri-Touch® Plus IRP3. As a heavy-duty protective coating, it produces a robust film that is suitable for use on parts for limited outside storage, into warehouses and for certain battlefield conditions. The product is an effective water displacer, with a self-healing, soft waxy film with noticeably thick consistency and high moisture resistance. "The combination process really improves the appearance of finished goods," reported Mr. Dobias, "with parts coming out a nice, uniform dark gray or black depending on the material."
The Birchwood Technologies system consists of seven 220-gallon capacity tanks with a 48 x 30 x 35 footprint. An overhead crane is positioned above the system to handle large individual parts and baskets of smaller parts. The tank line setup is equipped with an adjacent Ion Exchange system. This Ion Exchange technology purifies and recycles the system's rinse waters resulting in a "closed-loop" zero-discharge installation. Water is conserved and no discharge is made into the sewer system. Making the Ion Exchange process integral to the finishing line was an added important consideration in A. R. Machining's decision to go with the system.
"System startup with training from Birchwood Technologies went quickly and smoothly," reported Mr. Dobias. "No additional workers were required to operate the system, and tank cleaning, changing solutions and preparation for new part finishing takes less than a half day."