Chemical Processing Metals at Exotech
In 2012, after Exotech purchased its second building, adjacent to main its facility, Exotech engineers started plans for an expanded metal cleaning and processing chemical line.
The ability to clean, process and recycle rare and exotic metals, such as Tantalum scrap, Niobium scrap, Hafnium scrap, Germanium Scrap and Indium scrap has always been a mainstay of the value added at Exotech. By upgrading the scrap we process and recycle, Exotech can pay the highest prices for Tantalum scrap and other exotic scrap metals.
Chemical Processing Allowed Us to Expand Our Company
It also allows Exotech to sell purified scrap metal to sensitive industries like aerospace, electronics and medical. In most cases our recycled exotic metals compete in the market with primary exotic metals as a substitute for alloy additions in alloy melts. Processing to upgrade the scrap exotic metals we purchase gives Exotech the advantage to be the most competitive buyer of secondary Tantalum, Niobium, Hafnium, and the other exotic metals.
In addition to purchasing and cleaning exotic and rare scrap metals, Exotech also purchases Tantalum residues, Niobium residues, Indium residues, and Germanium residues. We have developed chemical and thermal processes to upgrade these exotic metal residues. Adding these processes allows Exotech to increase the value of the residues we buy, in many cases creating positive value for material that might have otherwise gone to waste treatment. Bringing Tantalum, Niobium and other exotic metal residues to the market makes Exotech an outstanding buyer.
Exotech engineers worked with outside designers, engineers and manufacturers of chemical processing lines to build a state of the art facility to increase the capacity of our existing chemical processing line.
It was designed to be fully compliant with the most current environmental regulations for air, water, and soil.
The new $800,000 processing line was completed in 2014, with new and improved modifications completed in 2017.
This processing line is fully enclosed within a curbed area where a PVC membrane has been encased under the cement to prevent any possible incursions into the ground. The chemical operations are carried out in a negative pressure atmosphere so that all fumes from the process tanks are exhausted into air ducts that lead into a large air purification scrubber. The air purification scrubber was designed to be at 150% of theoretical need. This is to allow for increased demand as the business grows.
Metals are moved via baskets and racks through the various processing tanks by two automatic crane systems. Travelers with each lot clearly direct the operator as to the tanks to be used and the residence time in each solution. Rinse waters are collected into a trough system. The troughs lead to a neutralization system where dissolved metals are precipitated and collected by filtration. The neutralized water is piped to an evaporator where it is evaporated to one tenth its volume and then shipped to an approved facility for disposal.
Concurrent with the construction of the new processing line, Exotech built two new laboratories to support this operation. One is a wet chemical laboratory for analysis of process solutions. The other is an instrument lab with ICP and LECO units to analyze trace metals in our solutions and products.
Since starting the new processing line, we have increased our throughput by 8 times as compared to the old operation’s output. Product quality and consistency has increased dramatically. Dissolved metals from etching are recovered rather than becoming hazardous waste.
Exotech’s motto: Exotech strives to help create and maintain a greener planet by addressing material sustainability through recycling.