July 10, 2018

Soluciones Industriales en Recubiertos is a plating shop in Guadalajara, Mexico and a loyal customer of Columbia Chemical de Mexico. For years they were plating 20-foot tubes in Decorative Nickel and Hexavalent Chrome for use by a company that sells closet rods. Despite the complexity of plating a piece of that length in Hex Chrome, Soluciones Industriales worked to continually provide high quality and speed for their customer.

As time went on, they were struggling with production. The process was extremely slow because they could only put a single length of tube on a rack or they would end up with high current density burning and white washing. As a result, rejects were up and the customer was unhappy with the slow production. In addition, Soluciones Industriales was receiving pressure from their local wastewater treatment and the cost of treating the waste to remove the hexavalent chrome was becoming cost prohibitive. They needed a way to eliminate burning and whitewash, speed production and improve waste treatment.

They had heard numerous people talk about Columbia Chemical’s TRICOL Décor process and they were intrigued by the idea that this plating process could offer the same plating speed and thickness of hexavalent chrome without the burning and whitewash. They began the initial talks with Columbia Chemical de Mexico’s account specialist Adrian de la Torre and traveled to Columbia’s Corporate Headquarters in Brunswick, Ohio to visit local plating shops and participate in a TriCOL Décor training seminar. The following month they made the decision to switch.

Director of Technical Services Matt Schario led the conversion along with CC de Mexico’s Operations Manager Raymundo Gonzalez and additional members of the team. Columbia Chemical’s support was present each step of the way: securing all the equipment, removing the liner and the existing exhaust and scrubbers, leaching the tank, installing the new liner and anodes, ductwork, heater and chiller, hooking up the air lines and ion exchange. They made up the solution, ran the initial lab tests and then began scaling up from 1 tube at a time (the previous production max when plating with hex chrome) all the way up to 14 tubes at a time.  Full production was off and running and the new trivalent plating process had been streamlined from eleven steps down to eight.

The switch from plating with hexavalent chrome to plating with Columbia Chemical’s TriCOL Trivalent Chromium Plating process has been a complete game changer for Soluciones Industriales en Recubiertos. “TriCOL helped us to improve production efficiency, reduce rejects and keeps us as a clean plating company” Sergio Navarro, Production Manager commented. Thanks to the ease and speed of the process, Soluciones Industriales has substantially increased their throughput from 3 pieces in 3 minutes to 14 pieces in 3 minutes, dropped their rejects down to less than 1% and greatly improved their environmental impact while reducing their waste water treatment costs and management. Their end customer is more than satisfied than ever and now, as a result of these increased efficiencies, they have freed up additional capacity and are expanding into the automotive market.