The Delicate Job of Pickling

Expensive production facilities such as power plants, oil refineries and chemical plants have to be maintained. This means removing corrosion, scale and oxides from equipment in demanding environments.

Pickling is a surface treatment applied as a preliminary step in many manufacturing processes before subsequent treatments can take place. The pickling process, which often uses strong acids, is not without risk for surfaces, people and the environment.

That's why BONDERITE offers a complete range of pickling solutions and inhibitors that minimise these risks.

A More Detailed Look at Pickling and Inhibiting

Pickling is a surface treatment in which a corroded metal substrate is treated with a pickling solution, usually a liquid or gel. This can be done by immersion, spraying or circulation in place (CIP). Pickling products are often acidic and in some cases neutral. Their job is to remove oxides, corrosion, flash rust, weld discolouration and scale from metal surfaces by etching off these contaminants, so that they cannot have a negative influence on, for instance, paint adhesion.

After the water rinse, the active metal will either have to passivate (such as with aluminium or stainless steel) or be coated, in order to protect it from new corrosion. Although the etching step is necessary to remove all contaminants, it has to be controlled to prevent the base metal being attacked by the acid, which reduces strength. BONDERITE pickling solutions are equipped with suitable inhibitors that ensure the pickling process takes place in a controlled manner. Our inhibitors not only reduce metal loss, but also acid consumption and hydrogen development (shown by bubbles during pickling), which extends bath life.

Inhibitors reduce attacks and impede embrittlement caused by the absorption of hydrogen. BONDERITE inhibitors are also available as a single product additive and can be added to base pickling liquids such as sulfuric, hydrochloric and phosphoric acid. The use of Bonderite inhibitors has a negligible effect on pickling time and does not impede or reduce contaminant removal.

The Benefits of BONDERITE Pickling Products and Inhibitors

  • High pickling performance
  • Low toxicity
  • Free from alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs)
  • Superior health & safety ratings
  • Applicable on wide range of metal substrates
  • Controlled pickling
  • Improved finish and appearance

The BONDERITE Pickling & Inhibiting Portfolio

Pickling Products:

  • Acid pickling liquids for circulation, spray or immersion
  • Acid pickling liquids for a wide variety of substrates such as steel, iron, copper, aluminium, brass
  • Fast acting acid pickling liquids
  • Acid gel cleaners
  • Neutral pickling liquids
  • Solutions for batch and continuous strip pickling


  • Powder and liquid inhibitors
  • Inhibitors specifically for sulfuric, phosphoric or hydrochloric acid
  • Inhibitors for high temperature applications
  • Inhibitors for galvanised surfaces
  • Inhibitors for cleaning industrial plants
  • Inhibitors for power plant boilers and pipelines (descaling)
  • Inhibitors for general purposes
  • Inhibitors with minimised health & safety risks

Cleaning and Degreasing

BONDERITE: effective industrial & maintenance cleaning can optimise health & safety conditions.

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BONDERITE process control equipment - a full range of application equipment and digital process control systems.

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Laboratory Services

Continous support from project to production, state-of-the-art surface analysis and standard control procedures.

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Superior Functional Coating Technologies

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Pickling and Sustainability

As pickling is often carried out with strong acidic products, there are risks for operators and the environment. Our sulfuric and phosphoric-based pickling solutions can often replace highly corrosive hydrochloric pickling systems. Our neutral etch also reduces risks even further.

Our inhibitors reduce risks by lowering fumes, minimising metal loss and acid consumption and, thus, waste water volumes. We have achieved a dramatic reduction in effluents requiring waste and sludge disposal. And last but not least, our innovative solutions eliminate NOx emissions and nitrate in the waste water.