Principal investigator: Jeremiah Mbindyo

University: Millersville University of Pennsylvania

Industry partner: K&L Plating Company, Inc.

In this collaboration, Millersville University of Pennsylvania will partner with K&L Plating Inc. (K&L) to incorporate acid recycling into the company’s manufacturing process. K&L faces a major cost issue with the exhaustion of acid baths used in electroplating due to high levels of dissolved metal. Process modification will be developed to chemically precipitate and filter such metals using a commercially available product. K&L will carry out the bath modification, precipitate filtration, sampling, and performance monitoring. Millersville University will analyze levels of metals in the acid baths as they are modified. The proposed process customization and optimization is critical as a non-performing bath can be very costly due to the inability to meet customer deadlines.

Millersville University and K&L are located within 6 miles of each other in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The project team will consist of the primary investigator, a senior K&L representative, and three Millersville University students. One student will work at the manufacturing site while the other two students will analyze samples for metals using atomic absorption spectrophotometry. We predict the work will reduce acid replenishment, waste storage, and hauling and disposal fees, resulting in huge cost savings. We also anticipate environmental, safety, and productivity benefits resulting from this investigation. Additionally, Millersville University students will have a unique and rare opportunity to solve a real-world industry problem through this collaboration.