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Beyond Commodity Pricing

:: Wednesday, February 5, 2020 :: Posted By Frank Wawrzos

Why Choose Refined Borates Over Raw Mineral Borates

What is the primary consideration in any raw materials purchase in manufacturing? Price. 

Price is a driving force behind any material purchase decision. But what happens when you buy a low-priced material that actually ends up costing more in the long run? 

That’s a serious question when you’re purchasing manufacturing constituents such as borates. Because borates are mineral resources, a common assumption is that all borate products are the same, regardless of their source. 

However, the quality of borate products can vary dramatically depending upon the source and whether the borates are refined or still in a raw, mineral state. The wrong choice can result in costs that go far beyond the initial price of the material.

What is the difference between raw borate minerals and refined borates?

A raw mineral borate product is often simply a beneficiated ore. For borates, that typically means a product that has been dug out of the ground and cleaned at a very basic level. 

A refined borate has been recrystalized through a multi-step process that removes impurities and produces an end product that delivers a consistent level of borates and consistent performance for the applications that use it.

The quality of borate products is measured using a variety of factors including:
  • Purity: For many industrial applications, it’s essential that borates are free of contaminants (eg, lead and arsenic) that can affect formulations or the safety of the end product.
  • Consistency of boron content: Boron concentration in a product can be measured with a high degree of accuracy by methods such as titration. Borate products should be consistent across batches and over time. 
  • Solubility: The boron in your raw materials should be not just consistent, but also available to the process or application. A highly soluble borate product ensures even distribution throughout your formulation for the most effective use of boron.
  • Handling/usability: Borate products intended for liquid formulations should be fine, free of caking and compression, and easy to add to mixtures. Products intended for dry mixes should have consistent granule size for even flow in handling and to prevent segregation in the resulting mixture.
A product that meets these criteria helps ensure that the level or rate of release of boron in your product or process is going to be consistent and dependable.

Meeting these measures also means that a refined product is highly economical because you’ll be able to predict precisely how much of the borate product you’ll need. With that predictability, you can ensure your formulation is correct and consistent—and reduce waste in your process and in purchasing. 

High-quality borates provide high-value results

In industrial and manufacturing applications, high-quality refined borates provide assurance that you’ll have the correct amount of boron in your formulation. You’ll have confidence that your borate inputs will meet the demands of your process, and you’ll be able to reduce variances in your processes and product quality.

That consistency provides a return on investment that is measured far beyond the price of the input material itself.
  • For applications such as glassmaking and detergents, it means consumers can count on the quality of your products and trust your brand. 
  • For industrial applications such as wood protection and fire retardancy, it means ensuring your products meet mandated safety and durability standards.
  • For highly regulated industries such as pharmaceutical manufacturing, it means compliance with the strictest regulatory requirements.

What’s the cost of putting price first?

Across industries, the quality of borates has far-reaching effects in applications and products. Choosing a lesser-quality input for critical processes can have lasting implications—and significant costs that go far beyond the commodity price.

To take the guesswork out of the borate purchasing equation, rely on a partner like U.S. Borax. With our decades of experience and research, we’ll help ensure you get the right product for your application. Our professional technical support experts are ready to assist you with your questions.

 

Resources

U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 500 customers with more than 1,700 delivery locations globally. We supply 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.  Learn more about Rio Tinto.

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