1998-02-23

Using Life Cycle Management to Evaluate Chrome Free Sealing Wash 980102

Life cycle benefits of a chrome-free sealing wash were evaluated. Material consumption, disposal costs, water pretreatment, waste water treatment and product performance were used to compare a chrome-free product to traditional washes. Acquisition costs and vehicle weight impacts were also considered. The direction of domestic and international regulatory initiatives will play a significant part in the application of this study=s findings. The paper discusses the factors and decision process that led to the trial of chrome free rinse in a vehicle assembly plant and the results of this test.
Durability testing was performed with current and evolving primer systems. Equivalent durability was shown with multiple supplier/multiple primer process combinations.
The study indicated that chrome-free sealing wash would yield a small cost savings and a minor reduction in weight with equal performance to the current chrome containing process. The current and projected regulatory pressure to eliminate chrome releases is evolving into end of vehicle life initiatives to eliminate the use of chromium or chromium compounds anywhere in products and processes. In light of this, preservation of manufacturing and design flexibility could soon be a key issue as state, federal and international regulations move industry towards the elimination of chrome from products and processes.

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