Zero-Discharge Lumiclad

March 01, 2011

Birchwood Casey's LUMICLAD electroless black oxide process for aluminum is now available in a new Zero-Discharge configuration that eliminates the need for a drain connection. The LUMICLAD system utilizes Ion Exchange technology to purify and recycle the rinse waters, resulting in a "closed-loop" zero-discharge installation.

The technology is available for all size systems, including 40-gallon, 100-gallon and larger capacity custom tank systems. The LUMICLAD process, from Birchwood Casey, is the innovative alternative to black anodizing for aluminum components. This 30-minute process produces a durable, satin black finish that is 60 millionths thick (1.5┬Ám), with a smooth, clean surface that is electrically conductive and tightly adherent to the aluminum substrate.

"Ion Exchange equipped LUMICLAD systems work well in those installations where it is impossible, or impractical, to send process rinse waters to the drain," reports Mark Ruhland, vice president of Birchwood Casey. "In facilities with septic systems, or in plant locations inconvenient to city drain connections, the Ion Exchange system allows the process line to operate as a self-contained system. By recycling the rinse waters, the need for a drain connection and discharge permit is eliminated."

The Ion Exchange system removes all particulates and dissolved ions from the rinse waters, generating de-ionized water that is re-used over and over. The user gets ultra clean rinse tanks, no discharge to the drain, and near zero water consumption. The LUMICLAD process is a simple in-house alternative to the complex and costly black anodizing process. Utilizing a simple immersion tank procedure, with no electrolytic racking, the LUMICLAD system is safe to install in any area of the plant. The new Ion Exchange feature allows the process to be installed anywhere, without a sewer connection. The LUMICLAD system serves as a great alternative to black anodizing.

The in-house process streamlines part movement, provides better control of finished part inventory, and enhances ISO accountability. Most important, it gives the user a "same-day turnaround" capability to satisfy key customers and fill rush orders — without raising finished inventory levels. The LUMICLAD finish can be applied to all aluminum alloys, with no reduction in hole diameters or change in critical dimensions. Its inherent lubricity makes it the ideal choice for assemblies requiring break-in lubricity or galling resistance, such as piston/cylinder assemblies, sliding contacts, etc. The finish is electrically conductive and facilitates chassis ground connections.

The Zero Discharge LUMICLAD systems are available in any size, at modest cost, depending on work size and volume. Operators learn the procedure very easily, with on-site factory training provided by Birchwood Casey.

Related Glossary Terms

  • alloys


    Substances having metallic properties and being composed of two or more chemical elements of which at least one is a metal.

  • aluminum alloys

    aluminum alloys

    Aluminum containing specified quantities of alloying elements added to obtain the necessary mechanical and physical properties. Aluminum alloys are divided into two categories: wrought compositions and casting compositions. Some compositions may contain up to 10 alloying elements, but only one or two are the main alloying elements, such as copper, manganese, silicon, magnesium, zinc or tin.

  • black oxide

    black oxide

    Black finish on a metal produced by immersing it in hot oxidizing salts or salt solutions.

  • galling


    Condition whereby excessive friction between high spots results in localized welding with subsequent spalling and further roughening of the rubbing surface(s) of one or both of two mating parts.

  • lubricity


    Measure of the relative efficiency with which a cutting fluid or lubricant reduces friction between surfaces.