18, Oct 2023
DFPCL’s PICKBRITE range of products helping enhance the performance of pickling process in stainless steel production

The use of stainless steel is widespread not just in our households, but also extends to industrial use, transportation, construction and the like. While stainless steel production is rather common, its many challenges are hardly highlighted. During the process of manufacturing stainless steel, oxides are formed on the surface of stainless steel, particularly at the time of hot processing and annealing.


As a consequence of this, there is inadequate corrosion resistance. The preferred solution to tackle this is to treat the stainlesssteel surface with chemicals such as strong acids, also known as pickling. Most often, mixtures of nitric acid and hydrofluoric acid are used to remove the thin layer of metal/oxide scale from the surface of stainless steel. In some instances, potassium permanganate, sodium hydroxide, and other chemicals are needed based on the grade of the metal.


While there is no dearth of pickling solutions available today, Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals Corporation Limited (DFPCL)’s PICKBRITE range of products stands out as an effective pickling solution that is used in the pickling process of stainlesssteel alloys. This specialised solution is uniquely formulated and designed to reduce hydrofluoric acid consumption in the stainless steel pickling process. This, in, turn reduces the effluent generation and load on the effluent treatment plant (ETP).


The success of the PICKBRITE range of products lies in its ability to accept the complexity of the pickling process, which is based on the requirement of the end-product and the unique process followed by the steel manufacturers. It is important to note that the pickling solution cannot be standardised; hence, PICKBRITE is a customised solution is unique to every manufacturer and is formulated after careful inspection of the manufacturing process. Furthermore, the customised solution also optimises the process parameters and ensures higher operational efficiency without any significant process changes.


Proven success


DFPCL’s PICKBRITE pickling solution doesn’t just improve the surface quality of stainless steel, but also enhances the efficacy of the process. That’s not all – it also reduces the overall cost of the treatment and extends the life of the pickling bath solution.


This can be corroborated further with the help of certain significant examples.


A leading manufacturer of stainlesssteel products having integrated manufacturing facilities, starting from a melting shop to finished stainless steel products in different forms like wires, wire rods, welding wires, flanges, fasteners and bright bars supplies their finished products to automotive, defence, mining and many more industries.


It was facing several challenges during the pickling process – from handling of hazardous chemicals like hydrofluoric acid and nitric acid to additional burden on the wastewater treatment plant, and excess pickling acid sludge generation. Moreover, their process was experiencing lesser pickling bath life and higher chemical consumption per ton of stainless steel.


It was observed that the trials performed with DFPCL’s PICKBRITE solution was a proven success in pickling efficacy, chemical consumption, quality of finished metal, pickling throughputs, effluent generation and more.


Observed benefits


Increase in throughput from bath


Reduction in HF acid consumption


Reduction in HNO3 consumption


Reduction in Lime consumption


Reduction in effluent generation


Reduction in sludge generation



Apart from the above-mentioned benefits, DFPCL’s PICKBRITE solution reduced the bath preparation time and increased the bath throughput.  Sludge removal from the pickling bath tank was much faster, while sludge handling was reduced. Furthermore, freshwater consumption for bath preparation and lime solution preparation also reduced by 33%.


Lastly, this solution helped with a 5-10% increase in monthly pickling capacity and also offered better safety by reducing the consumption and handling of highly hazardous hydrofluoric acid and nitric acid. That’s not all — it also helped with additional cost saving, since time was saved in bath preparation that helped with higher production. There was also some cost saving observed due to power consumption and reduced manpower. Additionally with optimised pickling by PICKBRITE, it has potential to retain higher weight of the finished products as well. 


Similarly, benefits have been observed at few other stainless steel product manufacturers as well.

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