Air-Cooled Rectifier_Surface Finishing_Seacole_Plymouth_Minnesota

Rectifier Cooling: 3 Ways to Protect One of a Surface Finishing Facility’s Largest Investments

Air-Cooled Rectifier_Surface Finishing_Seacole_Plymouth_Minnesota

Source: American Plating Power

A rectifier is one of the largest investments any surface finishing company will make. One key factor that can extend the life of a surface finishing rectifier is the method used to cool it. Seacole’s team of surface finishing experts can help you decide which cooling method is appropriate for your process to help you protect your investment.

  1. Forced-Air Cooling

Air-cooled rectifiers are ideal for processes with minimal risk of corrosion. They require facilities that are well-ventilated or that can accommodate a room that has clean, well-ventilated, conditioned air. Excellent ventilation ensures any fumes or harmful particles present in the air do not enter the rectifier. Conditioned air maintains an ideal temperature for cooling the rectifier.

In forced-air cooled systems, fans force air through the rectifier to cool the power components housed inside. These fans require routine maintenance, as do air inlet filters and heat sinks. With weekly or monthly inspections and a clean air supply, forced-air rectifiers can provide efficient cooling for years.

  1. Closed-Loop Water Cooling

Water-cooled rectifiers are closed systems, making them ideal for harsh environments where corrosion may occur. In a closed-loop water cooling system, external water is piped into the rectifier’s internal water-to-water heat exchanger. This keeps the water temperature in the exchanger at approximately 40 degrees Fahrenheit so it can adequately cool the power supply without creating condensation within the system.

Closed-loop cooling systems require minimal maintenance as long as the temperature of the water is kept at optimal levels. Most closed-loop systems require visual inspection of water lines to check for leaks that could cause downtime or damage the rectifier.

  1. Oil Cooling

Though a larger up-front investment, oil-cooled rectifiers are extremely reliable and require nearly no maintenance. They are ideal for harsh environments, making them an excellent choice for processes that include electroplating or corrosive chemistries. The power components of oil-cooled rectifiers are submerged in non-conductive oil that’s cooled by heat-dispersing fins. The entire system is closed off, so it’s not vulnerable from particles and fumes in the surrounding air.

Minimal maintenance for oil-cooled systems includes changing the oil and maintaining optimal oil levels within the rectifier. Some components may also need to be replaced periodically. But with minimal routine maintenance, an oil-cooled rectifier can stay up and running for years.

It Pays to Protect Your Investment

Understanding the cooling requirements of your rectifier helps protect your investment. Proper maintenance and cooling extends the life of the rectifier and can lead to less downtime for your process line. Cooling can also reduce expenses related to corrosion and dirt within your rectifier, extending its life further.

To learn more about your rectifier cooling options, contact the surface finishing experts at Seacole today.

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Nasf Storage Tank

Selecting the Right Tanks for Your Surface Finishing Process

Nasf Storage Tank

Source: NASF

Tanks are used in nearly every step of the surface finishing process, from plating and rinsing to storage. Every step places unique demands on your tanks. Selecting the right tanks contributes to the long-term success of your entire process. Seacole is here to help you decide which tanks are right for your surface finishing line.

Chemical, Temperature, and Electrical Insulation Considerations for Surface Finishing Tanks

Every step in your surface finishing process requires different chemistries, temperature tolerances, and even insulation against electrical currents. Some tanks are ideal for acidic processes, while others should only be used for alkaline chemistries. Additionally, if the chemicals in your process are highly corrosive, choosing a tank with high chemical resistance is imperative.

Often, surface finishing processes involve chemical reactions that produce heat. Other processes, such as electroplating, require tanks to withstand electrical currents. Consider both the temperature of your process and the need for electrical insulation when selecting tanks for your surface finishing process.

Plastic Surface Finishing Tanks

Most plastic tanks are excellent insulators for temperature and electrical currents, making them ideal for high-temperature processes or electroplating. The most common materials for plastic surface finishing tanks are polypropylene, PVC, polyethylene, and Kynar®:

  • Polypropylene: The most common tank material for metal finishing, due to its low cost, chemical resistance, and appearance. Use for rinse water or with acidic or alkaline materials. Do not use for nitric or chrome processes.
  • PVC: Most common tank for chrome processes. Has a shorter lifespan.
  • Polyethylene: Ideal for molded, round storage tanks.
  • Kynar®: A greater investment but offers excellent chemical resistance. Ideal for high temperatures. Do not use for high alkaline materials.

Steel Surface Finishing Tanks

There are several different types of steel tanks for surface finishing. All steel tanks must be lined for electrical insulation if used in plating. The most common types of steel tanks are mild steel and stainless:

  • Mild steel: Low-cost, but suitable only for alkaline chemistries. Most mild steel tanks are coated with epoxy on the outside for durability.
  • 304 stainless steel: An affordable option for stainless steel and ideal for most chemistries except fluorides and chromic acid. Must be lined for electrical insulation if used as a plating tank.
  • 316 stainless steel: Often used for applications involving high-temperature pure water. Like 304 stainless steel, 316 stainless shouldn’t be used with fluorides or chromic acid. Must be lined for electrical insulation if used as a plating tank.

Lined Surface Finishing Tanks

Lined tanks are tanks lined with PVC, Kynar®, or Teflon®. In some lined tanks, the liner is bonded to the tank walls. Other times, a bag or rigid liner is retrofitted into an existing tank to insulate it against electric current or fix a leak. PVC is the most common liner material for plating tanks, though it is not ideal for temperatures over 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Kynar® and Teflon® are ideal for high temperatures and processes involving chrome and fluorides.

Don’t Overlook Ventilation

Another key, yet often overlooked, consideration in choosing the right tank for your surface finishing process is ventilation. To keep employees safe and your surface finishing line productive and efficient, you must properly ventilate your process tanks. The design of your process’s ventilation hood, ductwork, and scrubbers must ensure that hazardous fumes are safely scrubbed and ventilated out of your facility.

Choosing the right tanks for your surface finishing process can be complicated, so rely on the expertise of the Seacole surface finishing team to help you identify the best tanks for every step in your process. Contact the Seacole team today.

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