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HIGUCHI E-Coat Simplifies their Wastewater Solution

Problem: HIGUCHI Manufacturing Co, Ltd. operates an e-coat line in the manufacturing of car parts. The wash water contains metal hydroxides such as nickel and zinc, along with trace amounts of oil. San Antonio's wastewater treatment equipment utilized a holding tank, a series of reactor tanks, chemical addition, pH adjustment, lamella clarifier, sludge tank, and a plate-n-frame filter press.

The clarifier was undersized and eventually bypassed. A sludge thickening tank was implemented where the settled solids pumped to the filter press. In the event that the sludge tank level was too high, the wastewater would be pumped to the beginning of the process. The sludge would instantly fill up the chambers of the press plates, blind the filter cloths, and restrict flow rates; causing bottlenecks in production. The blow-down cycle used to extract moisture from the filter cake was cut short to keep production going. Frequent opening-and-closing of the press plates created wet solids and increased maintenance.

Solution: HIGUCHI's management visited a full service e-coat and powder coating company in Brownsville, TX where they saw an ALAR Auto-Vac® dewatering system. The Auto-Vac® is a self-cleaning rotary vacuum drum filter that separates water from the solids generating one-micron clean water; and producing dry, landfill ready solids.

HIGUCHI researched the ALAR technology online and verified that the Auto-Vac® was a good alternative to their failing press system. Assistant manager, Gisela De La Garza, contacted ALAR Engineering Corporation about replacing the filter press with an Auto-Vac® in San Antonio. Gisela also wanted ALAR to design a continuous flow chemical treatment and dewatering system for HIGUCHI's new e-coat facility in Acuna, Mexico.

HIGUCHI performed its due diligence on the equipment and determined the project was economically and environmentally viable. They invited ALAR to tour the San Antonio watewater treatment facility and ensure the Auto-Vac® was the best solution.


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