Development of resource-efficient water management and plant concepts for electrocoating lines: application of pulsed electric field technology for bacterial decontamination of industrial water and electrodeposition paints


Focus of the DiWaL project is the development of a resource efficient water management and plant concept for the pretreatment of surfaces and the electrochemical paint process (EC) by using the pulsed electric field treatment (PEF) technology.


The objective is to prevent microbial contamination of various process fluids. The idea is to achieve an improved water loop closure with reduced fresh water consumption which contributes to the protection of water resources and to the decrease of wastewater production. Furthermore, the release of biocides into the wastewater is avoided and thus a contribution to water protection is achieved. Due to purely physical mechanism (only damage of microbial cell membrane) the development of resistance to the pulse electric field treatment (PEF), unlike biozides, is not expected. Efficient control of the microbiological load ensures optimum coating quality, avoids rework, uses less paint, increases resource efficiency and reduces operating costs.

Focus of the work:

The core of the concept is a sterilization process based on pulse electric field treatment (PEF). This will be elevated on a new technical level in the project by introducing maintenance-free and user-friendly, semi-conductor switched pulse generators. The PEF facility will be integrated into a new water management and plant concept for pretreatment and dip-coating/painting. Relevant stakeholders are involved at an early stage. Usage requirements and application barriers are analyzed taking into account the aspects of market – user – technique – environment. This will be incorporated into the concept development and the technical development work. Furthermore, an innovation and sustainability analysis is carried out in order to determine the economic and ecological key parameters for the project work and to optimize the water management and plant concept with regard to resource efficiency.

The project focuses primarily on surface treatment for the automotive industry (cathodic/electrochemical paint – EC). Furthermore, the application for general industry (painting of other industrial goods by anodic dip-painting - …) is investigated by considering technical, economic and ecological conditions and requirements.


12/2019: Results and perspectives for practice

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