Ultimate Guide to Purchasing Hydrofluoric Acid

Ultimate Guide to Purchasing Hydrofluoric Acid (HF)

It is used in glass etching, metal manufacturing, quartz purification and Teflon coatings. It is colorless and could be mistaken for any number of compounds. But Hydrofluoric Acid, known more commonly as HF to avoid confusion with Hydrochloric Acid, is a compound that, until recently, was not very widely known outside of the chemical and manufacturing world. In the past few years Hydrofluoric Acid has garnered more attention in Hollywood thanks to its use in AMC’s hit show Breaking Bad. But America’s blue collar workers have long known Hydrofluoric Acid for its dozens of industrial applications. Those in the market to purchase HF have their work cut out for them, as not all suppliers offer the same level of quality and service. That is where this article comes into the picture. It will serve as a comprehensive guide for those who are looking to purchase Hydrofluoric Acid.

What Is It Anyways?

According to the American Chemistry Council, Hydrofluoric Acid is a highly reactive mixture of hydrogen and fluoride that is often used in industrial production. There is an abundance of material available pertaining to the handling of the substance due to its hazardous properties, but when properly stored and used, it has numerous applications that are invaluable. Suppliers of Hydrofluoric Acid stretch around the globe, but the bulk of that which is used in the U.S. comes from either North America or China.

Why This Article Is For You

You don’t have all day to sort through website after website, and you certainly can’t risk long wait times for your shipment, or worse, not getting a shipment at all. We’ve taken the guesswork out of ordering Hydrofluoric Acid. Stick to this list when ordering and you will save yourself many headaches.

1. Ensure quality control with these three gold standards.

It can be said that the three most important considerations when purchasing HF are quality, quality, and quality. Let’s face it, when it comes to ordering Hydrofluoric Acid, most of what you need to be concerned about is how the product is packaged, handled and transported. Keep it simple—check if your supplier meets these three gold standards of quality control.

  • First, be sure that it is being purchased from a reputable company. How long has the business been around? Companies that have a local reputation have a huge incentive to keep their standards high. They want repeat customers, and you can use that to your advantage when ordering. Much of this is a common sense thing—shop where you don’t feel like you are risking your supply. You want to work with a company that has the wherewithal to deliver what you need when you need it.

  • Second, confirm that the country of origin is specified. The United States has some of the most stringent manufacturing laws in the world, and buying from the U.S. also has the added benefit of supporting local companies.

  • Third, make sure that the Hydrofluoric Acid meets the standards of U.S. manufacturing. The CGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Processes) operates under the FDA and is a great resource when researching the companies that you buy from. There are also other organizations in the private sector like the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) that evaluate manufacturing processes.

2. Be sure the company’s supply can keep up with your demand.

If you have ever been responsible for managing inventory, you know the necessity of having the right product at the right time. You know how frustrating it is to run out of product because your supplier dropped the ball. Mistakes like that can cost you money, or worse, it can cost you your job. You need to be sure that your supplier will satisfy your customers and protect your company’s reputation. Follow these tips to make sure that where you start will lead you to the best Hydrofluoric Acid provider.

  • Deal domestically. I can’t tell you how much frustration is added to the ordering process when you buy from overseas. Many people turn to companies overseas because the cost can be lower. And cost is a huge consideration, for sure. But often there is fine print that we don’t consider when placing these orders. This fine print can come in unexpected freight charges, import taxes and even things like lower quality control (as mentioned above). But there is also a larger consideration than just the financial cost alone. Time can also cost you money and when ordering HF from overseas your delivery can be up to 8 weeks after you order! Domestic companies can deliver your product within four days of ordering.

  • Order with plenty of time for your shipment to arrive before you run out of product. This may seem elementary, but it would probably surprise you how many people wait until the last minute and run out of supplies. Keep in mind that the ordering process takes time. Even the if the supplier was right down the road, there would still be routine quality control checks, packaging and processing time for every order. This is true of any product, but more so for Hydrofluoric Acid. Many manufacturers will fill orders as they are received and may not have the quantity you are ordering on hand.

  • Know your demand. Similar to the ordering process, you need to know when you are getting low on Hydrofluoric Acid. Anyone who has been responsible for inventory levels knows how easy it is to trust a computer with the count of a product. But it never hurts to give it the old physical count every so often to be sure. Once you get into a pattern of ordering, you can get to know how much you are going through every month and will be able to resupply accordingly.

3. Confirm that the company is using safe manufacturing and delivery methods.

Let’s get really practical and honest for a minute. There is a reason why Hydrofluoric Acid has the reputation it does in pop culture. HF does have the capabilities to eat through many materials. Its composition is unique and the warnings that manufacturers place on the labels are not for the squeamish. The point, however is not to avoid using it altogether, but rather to find people that know how to handle it. There is something to be said about working with a company that says with confidence that they can handle those jobs that no one else wants to take. How do you know what to look for? These three questions will help.

  • Is this company affiliated with any organizations that work to monitor safe transportation and manufacturing standards? This can often take the form of a certification, such as the one given out by the NACD (National Association of Chemical Distributors).

  • Is the pricing too good to be true? If pricing is way below the average, it's a good indicator that corners are being cut.

  • Is there any unsettling quality about how you feel about the company? I know this is an ambiguous one, but trust your gut feeling. If a company’s practices or policies look risky or problematic, steer clear.

4. Find out if the company is environmentally ethical.

We get it. You are very concerned about your bottom line. The pull on the wallet is very strong, and can often feel like it is the only important factor at stake. But it's just not cool to destroy the planet for the sake of saving a few bucks. Even if you are not the most environmentally conscious person out there, you know there’s a problem if you see companies dumping toxic waste into your water supply. There are a few things you can do to ensure that the company you are purchasing Hydrofluoric Acid from isn't being grossly irresponsible with the planet.

  • Look for certifications and affiliations with earth conscious organizations like SOCMA (The Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates) or the NSF (The Public Health and Safety Organization). There may be some overlap with manufacturer's certifications as well.

  • Perform a Google search. With the rise of the internet, past environmental violations and crimes are almost impossible to erase. Some organizations like the EPA even publish lists of notable restrictions and fines leveled on companies who have a history of violations.

  • Look especially for those companies that have spearheaded environmentally conscious efforts in the industry. This could be in the form of donations to organizations, but could also include publishing literature or hosting benefits.

5. Check your facilities in preparation for your shipment.

Once you have numbers 1-4 checked off, you need to be sure that your facility is ready for the shipment. Storing and transporting Hydrofluoric Acid comes with its own set of recommendations from the suppliers. Do these three things sooner than later so you are ready to click that order button.

  • Be prepared for storing HF. The primary concern here is that the storage needs to be a closed system so the substance does not evaporate. Remember that evaporation of Hydrofluoric Acid is hazardous. With a closed storage system, it will likely lead to a vapor-liquid equilibrium, similar to refrigerants. If you have any doubts about whether or not your facility is ready for storing HF, check with your supplier or the manufacturer.

  • Check your equipment. Reordering is a great time to check that your safety equipment is in good working order. Check the labels for the expiration dates of any respirators as well as the condition of the sealing mechanisms.

  • Be aware of how HF is to be stored. Keep in mind that HF differs from many other types of substances. Due to its corrosive nature, it cannot be stored in glass or metal containers and must remain in the packaging that it is shipped in until it is ready for use.

This is not an exhaustive list and note that, because safety is a primary concern with HF, you should carefully read and follow the standard procedures that can be found both online and around HF acid and its equipment.

Since 1959, Brainerd Chemical has been a trusted source for packaging and producing high quality chemicals. Call us at (800) 551-5128 to place your order today!