Technical & Safety Data
Log in or sign up to access technical data, safety data, applicator approvals and troubleshooting guides.
Q. I am an acid zinc plater and I was just notified that we will no longer be able to order Potassium Chloride for our process for at least the next several months and possibly through the end of the year. We only have enough supply for the next four weeks and I can’t find any alternate sources. What is going on and what do I do?
A. Acid Zinc plating shops throughout the country are scrambling to react to the recent news of a major disruption in the North American supply chain for Potassium Chloride due to the closing of two mines. Due to brine inflow conditions at the Mosaic Esterhazy KI and K2 mines in Canada, mining has been shut down at these two critical KCI mine sites and the alternate mine site will not be able to supplement KCI production until 2022. There are very few other commercial sources of KCl available.
Even though raw material shortages are becoming the norm today, this particular disruption in the supply chain leaves a bigger gap that threatens many industries and has no clear resolution in sight. An option for Acid Zinc platers in this situation is to consider the process they are using to see if there may be operational alternatives regarding the conductivity salts. As longtime world leaders in Zinc plating, Columbia Chemical’s COLSID AP and APD are bright zinc plating processes that were developed with a proprietary system that can transition to operate on alternate conductivity salts.
Several high-volume plating shops have long reported success using the COLSID process with conductivity salts that match their specific application or operational preferences. They appreciate the flexibility of the process that allows for adjusted concentrations in order to optimize performance in the high current density areas. Many of the processes which are used in the marketplace today contain less advanced technology and only operate on potassium chloride or a mix and cannot transition to operate with alternate conductivity salts. To add to the problem, some plating shops are now purchasing a lower grade potassium chloride containing fillers that cause quality issues in the bath.