Solvent Reduction Case Studies
Honda Power Equipment in Swepsonville manufactures power mowers. Honda worked with its paint suppliers to lower the toluene content in the paints by 16 percent at no additional cost to Honda.
This reduction in emissions helped lower the facilitys classification to a small facility from a synthetic minor facility. Honda plans to work with its supplier for a reformulated/substituted paint thinner to reduce methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) emissions.
PolyMask, a manufacturer of protective tapes for polished metals, electronics, furniture, etc., located in Conover, uses toluene to remove dried adhesives that stick to coating equipment during the manufacturing process.
To reduce the quantities of solvent waste generated from the cleaning process, an employee training and solvent management program was implemented. Employees are trained on waste identification and generation and the impacts of waste on the companys profits and jobs. As a result, toluene usage was reduced by 19 percent. In addition, working conditions and employee safety at the facility improved.
Hickory Springs, a flexible polyurethane foam manufacturer, has replaced the use of methylene chloride (MeCl) with acetone in both the foam pouring and the foam fabrication operations. MeCl was used as an auxiliary blowing agent in the pouring of lighter softer foams and as a solvent component in the glue used to manufacture foam cushions. Acetone is advantageous because of its low toxicity and negligible smog-producing properties. It also is non-carcinogenic and is not a bioaccumulator. By switching to acetone, the total amount of auxiliary blowing agent required to produce a given volume of foam is about 40 percent less than with MeCl. As a result, significant savings in purchasing costs have been realized and reporting requirements/costs for MeCl have been eliminated.
Ilco Unican Corp. produces more than 1.5 million blank keys each day. To remove the oily residue on the keys, a halogenated solvent was used as a degreaser. More than 200,000 pounds of solvent per year were eliminated by changing to an aqueous cleaning system designed to use hot water only. To facilitate this change, Ilco Unican replaced its stamping oil with one that could be removed with water. Payback for the new washer was approximately one year, and the project saved more than $110,000 per year.