SOLVENT ELIMINATION AT LOCKHEED MARTIN AERONAUTICAL SYSTEMS


SUMMARY

Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems located in Marietta, Georgia replaced solvent parts washers with aqueous parts washers to eliminate the safety concerns, reporting requirements, and costs associated with solvent use.

BACKGROUND

Lockheed Martin manufactures military aircraft. The company's equipment maintenance shops were using a variety of hazardous solvents to clean parts. The parts were cleaned by hand with soaking, brushing, and/or scraping. Parts were wiped dry with rags or allowed to air dry. Parts are normally repaired and/or reinstalled in equipment after cleaning. The company needed the level of cleanliness they were getting with the solvents but wanted to reduce employee exposure, flammability hazards, and regulatory reporting requirements. Lockheed also wanted to eliminate the cradle to grave liability associated with hazardous substances.

PROCESS MODIFICATIONS

The company identified 23 maintenance areas where a total of 938 gallons per year of solvents were being used to clean parts. A search for a non-hazardous replacement for solvent cleaners found a parts washer that uses an aqueous cleaner to clean parts, and enzymes to eat the oil and grease that are removed.  

The SmartWasherTM manufactured by ChemFreeTM uses a water-based cleaner to remove grease and oil from parts. Enzymes are released into the cleaning fluid from a disposable filter that traps particulates down to 10 microns in size. The enzymes turn the grease and oil into nontoxic substances through a process called bioremediation. This process keeps the system fluid clean and eliminates the need for disposal or treatment. The filter normally requires changing once per month at a cost of $9.69 per filter. Lockheed Martin, after a three-month trial, purchased 23 units for the subject areas.

RESULTS

It is estimated that the SmartWasherTM units will save the company $61,678/yr with a 2 1/2 month payback of the capital expenditure. Below are P2AD's estimated savings calculations. 

 

PAYBACK = ($28,375 - $15,000) / ($84,376/yr - $20,023/yr) = $13,375 / $64,353/yr = .2078 yrs X 12 mo/yr

= 2.49 months