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Solvent Alternatives Guide
Petroleum Distillates

Case Studies

Northwest SwissMatic Inc. investigated the use of aqueous cleaners as a substitute for the mineral spirits that had been used for parts cleaning. Although they were able to identify an alternative, ultimately they stayed with mineral spirits. Instead of spending capital on new cleaning equipment for one area of the factory, they invested in a vacuum distillation unit that could recycle solvent for the entire plant. Both the aqueous cleaning system and the vacuum distillation unit had paybacks of about 1.5 years. The aqueous unit would have reduced waste by 25%. The recycling unit for the entire plant reduced solvent waste by 50%.

DeWahl, Karl and Donna Peterson. 1992. Waste Reduction in Solvent Cleaning; Process Changes Versus Recycling. Pollution Prevention Review, Winter: 77-78.


Lockheed Fort Worth Company, Fort Worth, Texas (formerly General Dynamics Fort Worth Division) has substituted low vapor pressure solvent and aqueous cleaning for CFC-113 in all aspects of aircraft manufacturing. The low vapor pressure solvent, FMS-2004 or Dynamold DS-104, is a blend of propylene glycol methyl ether acetate, isoparaffins, and butyl acetate. The vapor pressure is 3.5 mm Hg and the flash point is 104 F. The solvent is effective on a variety of organic soils and is used for wipe cleaning the surfaces of aircraft components and assemblies. Used rags are bagged, drummed and used as a supplemental fuel source. Less critical cleaning of assembled components and complete aircraft is accomplished by a variety of aqueous spray methods. These methods were fully implemented in September, 1992 and have completely eliminated CFC emissions. The following reductions have also been realized: solvent use-70%; solvent cost-87%; VOC emissions-76%; and total air emissions-96%.

Evanoff, Stephen P./Environmental Resources Management, Case Study #4: Substitution of Low Vapor Pressure Organic Solvents and Aqueous Cleaners for CFC-113 Based Cleaning Solvents, EPA/ICOLP Eliminating CFC-113 and Methyl Chloroform in Aircraft Maintenance Procedures, EPA-430-B-93-006, October 1993, pp. 163-167.


Senco Products, Inc. manufactures air-powered fastening systems at its Cincinnati, Ohio plant. Mineral seal oil has been substituted for a TCA-based lubricant in making staples. In January, 1993 one half of the production units had been converted to mineral seal oil, reducing TCA use by 67%.

Kohler, Kurt, and Anthony Sasson, Case Studies: Multi-Industry Success Stories to Reduce TCA use in Ohio, Pollution Prevention Review, Autumn 1993, pp. 413-415.


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