Benefits of the Regen System
Clinty Regen Ltd, or Regen as we are commonly known, has developed an award-winning process for simplifying the chemi-milling of aerospace skins and parts. We achieve this by using our Regen System to remove aluminium from the etchant solution at a rate matched to the amount being dissolved within the etchant bath. Removal of the aluminium in this way provides two major benefits. Firstly, the etchant liquor stays at a consistent level of aluminium saturation, thereby allowing the chemi-milling etch rates and quality to become much more predictable and reliable.
This in turn allows throughput to be substantially increased and wastage rates to be cut dramatically. Client experience indicates that the greater control offered by the Regen System can more than double throughput within existing chemi-milling production facilities. Secondly, the continual removal of aluminium as an inert hydrate by-product allows for the recycling of the caustic liquors and other chemicals used within the chemi-milling line. In essence, by recycling these chemicals within the chemi-milling line, the Regen System dramatically reduces the need for bath replenishment and the costly disposal of large volumes of etchant liquor.
The problems of traditional chemi-milling
In standard or traditional chemi-milling of airframes, large amounts of sodium hydroxide, triethanolamine and sodium sulphides are used in the etching process. These need to be regularly disposed of and replenished once dissolved aluminium reaches super saturation levels and the quality of the etch deteriorates and becomes unacceptable. It is at this point that traditional chemi-milling methods require that the spent etchant liquor be disposed of and the bath replenished with virgin chemicals.
This cycle is illustrated by the graph below:
One of the disadvantages of traditional chemi-milling is a huge variance within the etchant process as aluminium levels increase. This makes etch rates harder to predict and slows production and the efficiency of the etchant line. It will also be a costly practice in future because of increasingly stringent environmental directives. All these difficulties mean that traditional chemi-milling is becoming more challenging and costly to sustain and manage. The Regen System negates all of these difficulties and costs with minimal disruption or change to your production facilities, by simply 'plugging in' a tailor-made plant to your existing production facilities.
The Regen System of chemi-milling
The Regen System uses what is known as 'closed loop chemical scrubbing' with technology based on the Bayer Process, that has for decades been central to the production of aluminium worldwide. As the airframe alloy dissolves in the etchant bath liquor, excess aluminium and heavy metals are removed at a matched rate to continually rebalance the bath, keeping the bath chemistry consistent and at optimal levels. All the aluminium is removed as an inert hydroxide which can be recycled for use in other industrial applications, which is good for business and good for the environment. This means that the chemistry of the etching bath can be matched precisely and production becomes predictable, which greatly improves the control of etch rates. The entire chemi-milling process immediately becomes more predictable, consistent and leads to increased output and lower wastage in the production process.
This reliability of etch means that throughput within the chemi-milling line can be further increased via the use of our optional new SCADA control system. In essence the Regen System offers you more control, so there is less wastage and higher productivity. By plugging our system into your current process, you have the potential to double production efficiencies, whilst eliminating up to 80 percent of waste disposal and replenishment costs. All of this makes your chemi-milling process more efficient and more profitable. Our plants can be designed to your specific operational needs and are available in a turnkey package to design, build and install a facility.