Galvanizing 105

Robert M. Woods      

SO how do we clean parts if we don’t want to use (or only use) mechanical cleaning, or anything but spot-treat with solvent cleaners?


Using dip tanks with either sodium hydroxide (aka caustic or an alkaline degreaser) or phosphoric or other acid (acid degreaser) are the two most common cleaning solutions for North American galvanizers.  We’ll talk a bit about alkaline degreasing here, and acid degreasing next time.

Alkaline/Caustic Degreasing

Caustic is used interchangeably with sodium hydroxide, the primary component in these types of cleaners.  The high pH (highly alkaline) solution can react with many oils and greases, particularly natural oils, and since it typically is heated to 135 F or more, the bath is more generally active.


Caustic is typically kept at about 10% concentration, by adding fresh caustic solution (50%) or the pellet-form solid.  The strong alkaline nature of this bath does make it more hazardous chemically than most of the other tanks in a galvanizer, and with the heat needed to make it effective the hazard does increase.

By itself, the caustic bath is not great at lifting or dispersing the crud from the steel; it needs some form of “boost” to make it most effective.  Soprin’s SB Clean additive both boosts this cleaning power, and also allows the tank to be made safer---110 F instead of 130 plus, and even better, it works best at 3% concentration!  (To find out more about this product, please contact me or your Zaclon Marketing Manager.)

With the boosted caustic, the tank will clean a wide range of soils, making for more efficient processing before the galvanizing kettle.  Boosted or not, it does require a rinse tank—carryover from any caustic can damage or even disable the effectiveness of a pickle tank by neutralizing the acid.

Most Recent

Galvanizing 108

By Robert Woods
May 07, 2021 Category: Galvanizing

BLOG 8-Robert M. Woods RINSING after DEGREASING So, now the soils are removed for the surface of the work---but there may still be a layer of chemical sticking to it. IF this is coming out of a caustic bath, a direct movement into an acid pickling tank, the layer can actually neutralize some of the acid, wasting it. IF this is coming from an acidic cleaner such as Hydronet, there is no neutralization; but any Hydronet remaining on the surface is also wasted. To remedy these issues, most operations will have a rinse tank after the degreasing tank, either caustic or acid-type. For the acid-type, the rinse can be used to make up for any drag-out or evaporation of the degreasing tankany dragged out degreaser is put back into the degreasing tank. For the caustic-type, the same make up occurs; and the rinse will prevent much of the neutralization of the following acid tank. Control of a rinse tank then makes economic and process sensesaving the more expensive chemicals and keeping subsequent

Zaclon is Born

By Jim Krimmel
April 27, 2021 Category: History

Zaclon is Born! Inspired by the concept of operating DuPonts Cleveland Plant as a standalone small business, the MTP (Management Training Process) team turned its attention to determining what that really meant and how far DuPont would go to implement the concept. The team determined that three key elements which could led to success were: Hiring their own sales force. Incentivizing all employees through a profit sharing and bonus plan. Shedding DuPont corporate overhead costs related to numerous corporate mandates and objectives. Armed with these needs, Joe Turgeon (Product Manager), Stu Schenk (Cleveland Plant Manager), and Jim Krimmel (Cleveland Operations Manager) traveled to Wilmington Delaware to convince DuPont management of these needs and to present the resulting economic projections for the Cleveland plant. The team met with limited success. Sales Force - The MTP team felt strongly that the sales effort being put forth by the DuPont marketing division was too diluted and

Galvanizing 107

By Robert Woods
April 21, 2021 Category: Galvanizing

BLOG 7-Robert M. Woods Last blog was discussing a pure acid degreasing approach, using Phosphoric-acid based product such as Hydronet Base, Ricarica, and S. There is another approach that can be used in some cases, with additives directly into the pickling acid tanks. Hydronet D is the name of our product that can be added directly into Hydrochloric acid tanks at the typical concentrations and temperatures used by North American galvanizers. Acidic Degreasing in the pickle tank Without help, Hydrochloric and Sulfuric acids are not very effective at removing dirt. Hydrochloric acid in particular is poor at lifting greases, oils, chalk, and most other soils. Sulfuric is a little better, but more because it is heated AND attacks scale and rust by blowing off the top layers of rust IF it can penetrate the cracks in the scale. Generally, degreasing with an additive in the pickle tanks is not as effective as a stand-alone tank with SB Clean-Caustic or Hydronet Base or S; however, for

Zaclon is a manufacturer of specialty chemicals with wide applications and world-wide sales. We are based in Cleveland, OH. Learn More →


Contact Us →

All Rights Reserved Zaclon LLC ©