Detack Solution for an Automotive OEM

Description of Issue: Automotive OEM customer was using an Aluminum starch-based detackifier chemistry in their paint spray booth operations. After changing paint suppliers, they began to experience a significant drop in overall system performance. Water clarity dropped, suspended solids increased and deposits on both the flood sheets and in the under booths increased. In addition, the system began to experience excessive foaming, which interfered with both booth balance and sludge collection. Paint quality was negatively impacted and cleaning costs rose, all while using detackifier chemicals at an increased rate. The incumbent supplier was unable to correct the system problems in a satisfactory manner with their existing chemistry. Chemico was asked to look for alternate chemistry to correct the issues.

Proposed Solution: Run extensive lab trials to determine if alternate chemistry could help resolve the issues. Also, audit the system to look for operational or mechanical issues that could be contributing to the lack of performance.  Compile findings to propose a solution that incorporated the Chemical, mechanical and operational requirements of the system.


Improve water clarity and reduce foam

Minimize capital expenditure if mechanical modifications were required

Minimize impact or improve downstream processes (Waste treatment)

Reduce deposits in the booths and the sludge tank

Improve booth balance and sludge collection

Reduce disposal costs by increasing resultant sludge solids


Chemico worked with internal and third-party labs to evaluate multiple detackifier and support chemical formulations.

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Testing was performed on the actual booth water and paints in use in the facility to tailor a solution specific to the needs of the plant

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Chemico process experts performed a complete audit of the spray booth process to identify trouble areas and potential solutions.

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Locations and Equipment

Chemical feed locations and equipment were examined to confirm the correct feed rates and injection points were being used to treat the system.

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Historical performance data was analyzed to baseline the system and fully quantify results.

Results: After a thorough investigation of the data and system, it was determined that alternate detackifier and defoamer chemistries would be more effective on the new paints. Our polyamine based detackifier (Chemico 9333) and water extended defoamer (Chemico 2196) were introduced to the system.  The flocculant was also changed to a higher Mol% (cationic) material, better suited to collecting the paint and reducing recirculated solids. The Chemico implementation team worked closely with the plant to locate and install additional feed location to best optimize the new chemistry. During the launch, Chemico provided increased technical support and coverage to address any issues and verify improved performance.

Paint solids in the recirculated booth water dropped from an average of 150 to 200 ppm, down to less than 50ppm on a consistent basis.

The revised flocculant formulation also reduced flood sheet deposits and increased the dewatering ability of the paint sludge.  35% to over 55% as shipped in the waste roll-off bins.

Defoamer consumption decreased significantly as a result of better removal of surfactants from the WB paints and cleaning materials.

Providing a positive impact on the ability to achieve and maintain booth balance.

The Chemico 9333 is also able to operate at a much higher conductivity; thereby, reducing the need for blowdown and reducing water consumption.

Reduced suspended solids directly contributed to a cleaner system with lower bio counts and reduced biocide usage.  This also significantly reduced odor complaints.

Pit cleanouts were extended to annually from 2X yearly, saving approximately $50,000.00 in labor and disposal.

Annual CPU cost of the system was reduced by more than 15% (over $32,000 per year)

Diversity Is Our Strength

Diversity and inclusion are cornerstones of the Group's business. The company employs more than 300 persons of color, including women. Chemico Group has spent more than $26 million with minority business enterprises (MBEs) since 2014 - an average of over 5 percent annually. Hundreds of hours each year are dedicated to mentor African American men and women.

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