Pollution Prevention Case Study

Northern Engraving Corporation

Improving Design and Operation of Roll Coating Equipment to Reduce Paint and Clean-Up Wastes

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Metal coating/3479
Type of Waste Flammable hydrocarbon solvent coatings and clean-up solvents
Strategy Equipment modification/replacement Process modification
Company Background Northern Engraving Corporation, La Crosse, manufactures automotive trim and assemblies and now employs over 2,000 people in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota.
Original Process Faceplates are decorated and formed prior to assembly. As part of this process, a primer and topcoat are applied to aluminum sheets. The primer and topcoat consist of solvent-based coatings. Several solvent blends are used to clean equipment during and after use.
Motivation The company's primary motivation was to reduce its costs of hazardous waste disposal and inefficient use of raw materials.
Pollution Prevention Process Northern Engraving modified its existing roll coater to increase its efficiency. One such modification was to decrease the size of the solvent pan, which is necessary to keep a roller clean during operation. Northern Engraving also worked with its suppliers to find ways to reduce roller swelling and thus reduce coating loss during operation. Realizing that the desired efficiency could not be achieved with existing equipment, the facility constructed its own, more efficient coater. In addition, schedules were adjusted to maximize raw material usage and reduce the number of clean-ups required. Coating operators were trained in proper operation of the new coater.
Material/Energy Balance Original Approach

Coating and clean-up solvent

2,130 gallons coating waste/year
1,875 gallons solvent waste/year

Fuel blending

Pollution Prevention Approach
Using same materials

1,400 gallons coating waste/year
700 gallons solvent waste/year

Fuel blending

Economics Capital Cost
Costs borne internally; $15,000 annual savings in raw material and waste disposal costs

Operating/Maintenance Cost
No significant changes

Payback Period

  • Less than 2 years
  • Cost reduction
  • Less handling of hazardous waste material
  • Helped with storage shortage
  • Reduce future liabilities
  • Reduce environmental emissions
Obstacles No major problems encountered.
Company Address Northern Engraving Corporation
915 Pine Street
La Crosse, WI 54601
Contact Person Alan D. Hesselberg
Pollution Prevention Resources Free, On-site Technical Assistance
University of Wisconsin Extension
Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center
Milwaukee area: 414/475-2845
Remainder of state: 608/262-0385

Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Hazardous Waste Minimization Program
608/264-8852, 608/267-9523 or 608/267-3763

DNR Logo

Bureau of Cooperative Environmental Assistance
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 7921
Madison, WI   53707

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