Schlötter wins Innovation Award of Baden-Württemberg


Schlötter is among the winners of the Baden-Württemberg Innovation Award 2018. During the festive ceremony held in Stuttgart on November 28, Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, Minister for Economic Affairs in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg, presented the certificate and prize money to Schlötter.
Since 1985, the Innovation Award, which is named after the former Minister for Economic Affairs, Dr. Rudolf Eberle, is awarded to small and medium-sized enterprises  located in Baden-Württemberg for oustanding developments and applications of new technologies.

Schlötter applied for the Baden-Württemberg Innovation Award for the first time and was immediately successful with their alkaline zinc-nickel process, SLOTOLOY ZN “Generation VX”. With their VX technology, a resource-saving process for zinc-nickel plating, Schlötter managed to beat 94 competitors and was selected as one of the winners.

Uniting Ecology and Economy
Conventional zinc-nickel electrolytes are operated with insoluble nickel-plated steel anodes. “Generation VX” processes, however, are operated with newly developed manganese-containing anodes which were filed for patent in February 2017. Their great advantage:  Using MnO anodes helps to avoid an undesirable byproduct of  zinc-nickel deposition, namely the formation of cyanides at the anode. The VX technology is available for both rack (Zinc-Nickel SLOTOLOY ZN 80 VX) and barrel applications (Zinc-Nickel SLOTOLOY ZN 210 VX).

The new VX processes feature following benefits:

Efficient Use of Resources:
The overall consumption of chemicals is lower, due to a significantly reduced decomposition of organic additives and lower nickel concentrations required in the electrolyte. Operating the electrolyte requires less material which reduces costs. The overall energy consumption can be reduced up to 30% due to lower cooling efforts and by lowering the operating voltage.

Increased Productivity:
The current efficieny for plating barrel parts is increased by 5-10%, and for plating rack parts by 5-7%. At the same time, the deposition rate is higher by 5-20% through the higher current efficiency which increases the overall output of plating plants up to 30%.

Environment and Climate Protection:
Energy savings during the plating process, higher deposition rates and lower consumption of organic addivites do not only bring about productivity increases, but also help to reduce the amounts of cyanides and effluent generated per part and simplify effluent treatment.

Converting to the new technology is easy: users only have to exchange the anodes and the brightener. Capital expenditure is low: the new anodes roughly cost the same amount as regular nickel-plated steel anodes. With relatively simply measures, Schlötter succeeded in improving the sustainability of alkaline zinc-nickel plating, which also impressed the jurors of the Innovation Award.

Picture 2: (c) Tom Maurer, Stuttgart