SOLVENT MANAGEMENT IN PRACTICE: INDUSTRY EXAMPLES

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1 GG124 GUIDE ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY BEST PRACTICE PROGRAMME Be Solvent Wise SOLVENT MANAGEMENT IN PRACTICE: INDUSTRY EXAMPLES GOOD PRACTICE: Proven technology and techniques for profitable environmental improvement

2 SOLVENT MANAGEMENT IN PRACTICE: INDUSTRY EXAMPLES This Good Practice Guide was produced by the Environmental Technology Best Practice Programme Prepared with assistance from: ECOTEC Research and Consulting Ltd Crown copyright. First printed September This material may be freely reproduced in its original form except for sale or advertising purposes. Printed on paper containing 75% post-consumer waste.

3 SUMMARY Industrial solvents are a major source of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions in the UK and are therefore subject to strict regulatory controls. The benefits of reducing solvent consumption include: reduced solvent purchase and disposal costs; reduced solvent emissions to atmosphere; less occupational exposure to solvents; need to buy expensive abatement equipment reduced or eliminated. This Good Practice Guide comprises 19 Industry s. Each one demonstrates the cost savings and other benefits to companies of implementing a programme to manage and reduce their use of organic solvents and solvent-containing materials, eg coatings and inks. The Industry s cover a variety of industrial sectors so that as many companies as possible can draw parallels with their own processes and size of operation. They show that successful solvent management is not limited by the company size, the complexity of its processes or the number of solvents used. The solvent reduction measures described are grouped under four headings, ie: process use; cleaning and degreasing; recovery and re-use; housekeeping and training. Many of the measures described are no-cost or low-cost, producing a short or immediate payback. These reduction measures are described in more detail in other publications available free of charge through the Environmental Helpline on

4 CONTENTS Section Page 1 Introduction The benefits of reducing solvent consumption The purpose of this Guide Solvent reduction measures 1 2 Industry s 5 1 Improved application and recovery equipment reduces operating 7 costs at truck cab manufacturer 2 Screen printer s long-term improvement programme produces 9 significant cost savings 3 Analysis of solvent use leads to targeted improvements at 12 adhesive manufacturer 4 Powder coatings reduce VOC emissions and increase product range 14 5 Converting to solvent-free process reduces costs at tablet 17 coating plant 6 Making the most of solvent recovery in the speciality chemicals sector 19 7 Continuous Improvement Team drives down degreasing costs 21 8 Supply chain pressures lead to solvent reductions at engineering 24 company 9 State-of-the-art spraying equipment reduces costs at furniture 27 manufacturer 10 Solvent review helps foil coater identify solvent reduction measures Independent bodyshop achieves significant cost savings 32 through improved solvent management 12 Car trim manufacturer cuts solvent use by switching to 35 water-based adhesives 13 Enclosed degreaser significantly reduces trichloroethylene 37 consumption at small engineering company 14 Supplier helps textile printer halve solvent use Shoe manufacturer reduces solvent use by 96% in four years Change to IBCs reduces adhesive waste Improved ink management produces significant cost savings for 46 packaging printer 18 New HVLP spray guns cut solvent use Electronics company simplifies processes and reduces solvent 52 consumption 3 Conclusion 54

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6 1 INTRODUCTION Organic solvents are used widely by UK industry for a range of processes. However, many industrial solvents and solvent-based coatings are expensive to buy and emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which have the potential to harm the environment. Environmental legislation therefore places strict controls on VOC emissions from industry. Under Part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the more polluting processes are regulated under Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) and the less harmful processes under Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC). section THE BENEFITS OF REDUCING SOLVENT CONSUMPTION Reducing solvent consumption has many potential benefits for UK businesses, including: increased profits through reduced raw material and waste disposal costs; removing the need for expensive abatement equipment; reducing solvent use below the authorisation threshold for IPC/LAPC; a better working environment for employees; improved relationships with customers and local residents; reduced insurance premiums due to lower solvent stocks. 1.2 THE PURPOSE OF THIS GUIDE This Good Practice Guide describes how 19 UK companies have achieved cost savings and other benefits by taking action to reduce their use of solvents and solvent-based materials, eg coatings and inks, through improved solvent management. Many of the measures implemented have been no-cost or low-cost, with an immediate or short payback period. The Industry s in this Guide cover a wide range of applications in a variety of industries and sectors. All of the companies are small or medium-sized, either in absolute terms or for their sector. Many have fewer than 100 employees and some fewer than 20 - or supply a specialised market, eg chemicals and electronics. Table 1 gives details of the category of reduction measure adopted and the estimated net annual saving for each company. Within the Guide, each Industry is coded according to the category of reduction measure(s) adopted. Don t just look at the examples from your industry or sector. Many of the ideas are transferable and may trigger off ideas to help your company Be Solvent Wise. 1.3 SOLVENT REDUCTION MEASURES Within this Guide, solvent reduction measures are classified under four headings: process use; cleaning and degreasing; recovery and re-use; housekeeping and training. 1

7 These reduction measures are described in more detail in other publications from the Environmental Technology Best Practice Programme (see Table 2). Although these publications have been grouped under four main headings, some of them contain information relevant to more than one reduction measure. For example, Good Practice Guide (GG36) Reducing Costs in Vehicle Refinishing is mainly concerned with measures to reduce paint and solvent consumption (ie process use), but includes information on good housekeeping measures and solvent recovery. section 1 All the publications listed in Table 2 are available free of charge through the Environmental Helpline on The Environmental Helpline can also: provide further advice about the techniques described in this Guide; tell you about relevant environmental and other regulations that could affect your operations; arrange for a specialist to visit your company if you employ fewer than 250 people. 2

8 Company Industry/sector Number Reduction measure Net annual of staff savings ( ) Process Cleaning Recovery Housekeeping use and degreasing and re-use and training 1 ABT Products Ltd Metal finishing/engineering Bovince Limited Screen printing Caswell and Company Ltd Adhesives Derby Stove Enamelling Metal finishing/engineering Eli Lilly and Company Limited Pharmaceuticals Fine Organics Speciality chemicals Flight Refuelling Ltd Metal finishing/engineering Jenks and Cattell Engineering Limited Metal finishing/engineering Johnson & Johnson Furniture Furniture Peerless Foils Ltd Foil coating S&A Auto Services Vehicle refinishing SAI Lignotock Adhesives Servex Ltd Metal finishing/engineering Standfast Screen printing The Florida Group Ltd Footwear Ultramark Adhesive Products Adhesive products West of Scotland Packaging Packaging/printing Yeovil Motor Company (Volvo) Vehicle refinishing ZETEX plc Electronics Table 1 Summary of Industry s section 1 3

9 section 1 Reduction measure Process use: General Specific industry or process Cleaning and degreasing Recovery and re-use Housekeeping and training Publications Cost-effective Solvent Management Good Practice Guide (GG13) Cost-effective Reduction of Fugitive Solvent Emissions Good Practice Guide (GG71) Reduce Costs by Tracking Solvents Good Practice Guide (GG114) Stepping Ahead with Solvent Management Good Practice Case Study (GC31) Profiting from Computer-based Solvent Management Good Practice Case Study (GC108) Reducing Costs in Vehicle Refinishing Good Practice Guide (GG36) Cost-effective Paint and Powder Coating: Coating Materials Good Practice Guide (GG52) Cost-effective Paint and Powder Coating: Application Technology Good Practice Guide (GG53) Practical Measures to Save Money in Screen Printing Good Practice Guide (GG60) Paint and Powder Coating Use in the Metal Finishing Industry Environmental Performance Guide (EG72) Paint and Solvent Use in Vehicle Refinishing Environmental Performance Guide (EG73) Solvent Use for Vapour Cleaning in the Metal Finishing Industry Environmental Performance Guide (EG74) Encore, Environmental Coating Recommendations Software (IT90) Emission-free Mixing Creates a Stir Good Practice Case Study (GC34) Vehicle Refinisher Saves Money by Reducing Paint and Solvent Use Good Practice Case Study (GC77) Simple Measures Reduce Isopropyl Use Good Practice Case Study (GC85) UV Inks Save Screen Printer Time and Money Good Practice Case Study (GC88) Efficient, Emission-free Mixing Future Practice Profile (FP9) Reducing Costs and Wastes in Industrial Coating Operations Future Practice Profile (FP76) Vapour Degreasing Good Practice Guide (GG15) Cost-effective Paint and Powder Coating: Surface Preparation Good Practice Guide (GG51) Solvent Capture for Recovery and Re-use from Solvent-laden Gas Streams Good Practice Guide (GG12) Solvent Capture and Recovery in Practice: Industry s Good Practice Guide (GG100) Good Housekeeping Measures for Solvents Good Practice Guide (GG28) Cost-effective Paint and Powder Coating: Materials Management Good Practice Guide (GG50) Table 2 Relevant Environmental Technology Best Practice Programme publications 4

10 2 INDUSTRY EXAMPLES Industry 1 Improved application and recovery equipment reduces operating costs at truck cab manufacturer (ABT Products Ltd) Industry 2 Screen printer s long-term improvement programme produces significant cost savings (Bovince Limited) section 2 Industry 3 Analysis of solvent use leads to targeted improvements at adhesive manufacturer (Caswell and Company Ltd) Industry 4 Powder coatings reduce VOC emissions and increase product range (Derby Stove Enamelling) Industry 5 Converting to solvent-free process reduces costs at tablet coating plant (Eli Lilly and Company Limited) Industry 6 Making the most of solvent recovery in the speciality chemicals sector (Fine Organics) Industry 7 Continuous improvement team drives down degreasing costs (Flight Refuelling Ltd) Industry 8 Supply chain pressures lead to solvent reductions at engineering company (Jenks and Cattell Engineering Limited) Industry 9 State-of-the-art spraying equipment reduces costs at furniture manufacturer (Johnson & Johnson Furniture) Industry 10 Solvent review helps foil coater identify solvent reduction measures (Peerless Foils Ltd) Industry 11 Independent bodyshop achieves significant cost savings through improved solvent management (S&A Auto Services) 5

11 12 Car trim manufacturer cuts solvent use by switching to water-based adhesives (SAI Lignotock) Industry 13 Enclosed degreaser significantly reduces trichloroethylene consumption at small engineering company (Servex Ltd) section 2 Industry 14 Supplier helps textile printer halve solvent use (Standfast) Industry 15 Shoe manufacturer reduces solvent use by 96% in four years (The Florida Group Ltd) Industry 16 Change to IBCs reduces adhesive waste (Ultramark Adhesive Products) Industry 17 Improved ink management produces significant cost savings for packaging printer (West of Scotland Packaging) Industry 18 New HVLP spray guns cut solvent use (Yeovil Motor Company (Volvo)) Industry 19 Electronics company simplifies processes and reduces solvent consumption (ZETEX plc) 6

12 IMPROVED APPLICATION AND EQUIPMENT REDUCES OPERATING COSTS AT TRUCK CAB MANUFACTURER In 1994, ABT Products Ltd started a solvent reduction programme to reduce both its operating costs and its environmental impact. The business has expanded rapidly in recent years with a corresponding increase in its use of solvent-based paints. The solvent reduction programme has enabled the Company to avoid an increase in the use of related solvents. Solvent use per unit of production has, in fact, fallen. Net cost savings of /year Solvent waste reduced by 75% Payback period on the combined measures of about nine months Authorised under Local Air Pollution Control Background ABT Products Ltd manufactures cabs for the fork-lift truck and materials handling industries. The Company has around 80 employees and an annual turnover of 5 million. In 1996, the Company used approximately 12.5 tonnes of solvents, including litres of solvent-based paints, litres of thinners and 500 litres of cleaning solvents. ABT Products is authorised by its local authority under Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC). Solvent Reduction Programme In 1994, the management team at ABT realised that better solvent management would significantly reduce operating costs and improve the Company s environmental performance. A solvent reduction programme was therefore implemented. With the assistance of a finishing consultant, the Company was soon able to identify and implement various solvent reduction measures. These included new equipment and improved working practices. ABT began by switching from traditional spray guns to electrostatic spray guns fed by double diaphragm pumps in both its spraying booths. The new guns and associated equipment cost 4 600/booth. Overspray has been reduced significantly and paint consumption has consequently fallen by approximately 33%. The new guns also provide improved viscosity control and have therefore reduced the need for expensive paint thinners. Industry 1 7

13 1 Since a variety of paints are used, each gun has to be cleaned thoroughly before each colour change. As a result, significant quantities of cleaning solvent are required. As part of its solvent reduction programme, ABT decided, in early 1996, to buy a small solvent recovery unit costing This unit enabled the Company to process litres/day of cleaning solvent for re-use. ABT soon realised that even higher cost savings were possible with a larger unit and, hence, traded in the smaller unit in part-exchange for a larger model costing This larger unit allows the Company to process litres/day of dirty solvent, generating litres/day of usable cleaning solvent. New electrostatic spray gun in use 8 Cost Savings and Other Benefits Switching to more efficient electrostatic spray guns has allowed ABT to achieve savings of approximately 5 000/year through reduced consumption of paint and thinners. The payback period on this equipment is therefore 22 months. Solvent recovery means that cleaning solvent purchases have fallen by an impressive 85% since 1994, to only 500 litres/year. The associated cost savings amount to around 5 300/year, giving a payback period of less than eight months in terms of raw material costs alone. Solvent recovery has also significantly reduced waste disposal costs. Solvent waste has fallen from one 200-litre drum a week to approximately one drum every four weeks. This reduction saves ABT a further 6 500/year. The combined saving in solvent purchase and disposal costs of /year gives a payback period of less than four months. Overall, the solvent reduction programme has so far saved ABT approximately /year, giving a combined payback period of about nine months. These savings have been achieved despite increased output. The various solvent reduction measures have reduced solvent use per unit of production. Savings have been particularly impressive - nearly /year since with only a few small investments. The solvent recovery unit has been a particularly sound purchase as it paid for itself in a matter of months. Mr R Gates, Finance Director, ABT Products Ltd

14 SCREEN PRINTER S LONG-TERM IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME PRODUCES SIGNIFICANT COST SAVINGS Bovince Limited s environmental policy includes a strong commitment to reduce solvent consumption in its screen printing process. Solvent reduction measures are set out in a five-year plan. So far, achievements have mainly involved reductions in the amount of screen cleaning materials purchased. Solvent consumption has fallen by approximately litres/year from this measure alone. Press-ready ink systems were recently introduced for some products, but the benefits have not yet been quantified. Bovince is investigating further ways of improving its ink management and working to ensure solvent good housekeeping. Net cost savings of over /year Improved workplace environment Payback period of 5.5 years Authorised under Local Air Pollution Control Background Bovince Limited specialises in printing large format advertising posters and advertising panels for buses and bus shelters. It also carries out some point-of-sale display work. The Company has 60 employees and an annual turnover of approximately 2.5 million. In 1995, Bovince became one of the first screen printing companies in the UK to achieve BS 7750 accreditation. The Company subsequently achieved accreditation to ISO and certification to the EC s Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). Since much of its work is used outdoors, changing to water-based inks has not proved feasible. The Company therefore uses approximately litres/year of solvent-based inks. It also uses approximately litres/year of virgin solvents for thinning inks and litres/year of screen cleaning chemicals. The Company is authorised under Local Air Pollution Control. Industry 2 9

15 2 Solvent Reduction Programme Solvent reduction work at Bovince began in 1991 when the Company took part in trials with a major ink manufacturer to investigate the feasibility of using water-based inks for outdoor advertising material. Although this initial project was not completely successful, solvent reduction efforts have continued. Understanding ink and solvent use - and associated VOC emissions - has been an integral part of the overall corporate solvent reduction strategy. Careful consideration of possible improvement options has allowed Bovince to target its reduction measures. Progress in implementing these measures, which are set out in a five-year solvent control programme, is reviewed formally at management meetings. One of the first major projects undertaken as part of the solvent control programme was the purchase of an automatic screen-wash unit, costing This unit, which uses cleaning solvents more efficiently than the previous manual washing process, has been gradually brought up to full capacity since early In addition, the machine incorporates a distillation unit that allows screen-wash chemicals to be re-used in the manual screen-wash area. As a result, one solvent-based product has been eliminated from the manual screen-wash process. The recent introduction of press-ready ink systems for products - in which inks do not require onsite mixing - is expected to reduce Bovince s solvent consumption still further. The cost savings and other benefits are expected to be significant - not least in terms of improved workplace air quality. Automatic screen-wash unit 10

16 2 Bovince still buys and mixes considerable amounts of ink. Regular meetings are now held between the works manager, the print manager and the ink mixer to discuss more effective ways of using inks in store and residues left after a job. The Company is currently considering investing in a computerised ink formulator to improve product quality and reduce the quantity of ink residues left after each job. Bovince plans to extend its solvent management work and further reduce solvent use and VOC emissions through improved good housekeeping. Large stickers have already been placed on ink and solvent containers to remind staff of good housekeeping requirements. The Company is also developing a simple lid resealing device to reduce solvent evaporation. Bovince provides employees with general environmental training - including solvent management - as part of its environmental management system. This training is conducted both formally and informally through the Company newsletter and dialogue between operators and managers. Cost Savings and Other Benefits The automatic screen-wash unit, with incorporated distillation unit, has allowed Bovince to achieve significant cost savings. On the basis of solvent consumption during the first six months of 1997, Bovince estimated that use of cleaning solvents in 1997 was litres less than in This is despite a 5% increase in the number of frames being washed. The associated net cost saving is about /year. The quantity of solvent-based cleaners purchased by Bovince has fallen by litres/year, giving net cost savings of 6 150/year. In terms of reduced raw material costs alone, the payback period is 5.5 years. There have, however, been other benefits, including productivity and health and safety benefits. As the screen-wash unit is fully enclosed, VOC emissions have fallen significantly thus improving working conditions for employees. The quantity of waste solvent requiring disposal is also very closely monitored and effluent discharges have been reduced. Our long-standing commitment to the environment has included a concerted effort to reduce solvent use in our process. We have been pleased with our achievements to date, both in environmental performance and cost savings terms. We intend to give solvent minimisation our continued dedication. Mr D Hall, Environmental and Quality Manager, Bovince Limited 11

17 3 ANALYSIS OF SOLVENT USE LEADS TO TARGETED IMPROVEMENTS AT ADHESIVE MANUFACTURER Caswell and Company Ltd began a solvent management programme in 1992 with the aims of achieving cost savings, improving health and safety in the factory, and avoiding having to invest in expensive abatement equipment. The Company s solvent management strategy involves evaluating the reasons for solvent losses and then eliminating these losses through plant improvement and employee training. Through its proactive solvent management approach, Caswell and Company Ltd has already reduced solvent losses by 500 litres/week. Net cost savings of 6 000/year Improved workplace environment Authorised under Local Air Pollution Control Background Caswell and Company Ltd manufactures a wide range of adhesives for a variety of industrial applications. The Company has 33 employees and an annual turnover of approximately 3 million. The Company s annual solvent consumption is approximately 1 million litres. It uses a range of solvents including aromatic hydrocarbons, aliphatic hydrocarbons, ketones, esters, alcohols and chlorinated hydrocarbons. The Company s processes are authorised under Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC). Solvent Reduction Programme Caswell and Company Ltd initiated a solvent management programme to make more efficient use of its solvents and to reduce VOC emissions, particularly from the adhesive mixing process. Reducing solvent consumption would also enable the Company to achieve compliance with LAPC requirements without having to buy expensive abatement equipment. As the initial step in their solvent management programme, Caswell and Company Ltd conducted a site survey and produced an inventory of solvent use. VOC emissions monitoring was also carried out. Using a simple mass balance approach,* the Company was able to quantify solvent losses during mixing and hence identify the processes most in need of improvement. 12 * See Good Practice Guide (GG114) Reduce Costs by Tracking Solvents, available free of charge through the Environmental Helpline on

18 3 Several mixing vessel lids were modified and seals improved at a cost of approximately Solvent filler pipes were also added to minimise vapour losses during filling. Caswell and Company Ltd has also installed condensers on mixing vessel vent pipes for solvent recovery. As a result of these measures, the Company has achieved significant reductions in solvent consumption and plant operating costs. To complement the plant improvements, Caswell and Company Ltd recently introduced an employee training programme. During training, the production team is made aware of how and why solvent losses occur and the implications of these losses. Employees have also received training in good housekeeping practices and been encouraged to suggest ways of reducing solvent losses further. Useful suggestions are passed on to other employees, thus improving working practices throughout the Company. Cost Savings and Other Benefits A mixing vessel Plant modifications have reduced solvent losses by approximately 250 litres/week and produced net cost savings of 3 000/year. These measures have the additional benefits of improving air quality in the workplace and helping the Company improve its health and safety record. The payback period on this measure was four months. Fitting condensers on mixing vessel pipes has produced a further saving of 250 litres/week of solvent. This represents an additional cost saving of 3 000/year. Using auditing and monitoring to establish exactly where our emissions problems lay has allowed us to target our actions to reduce emissions and achieve cost savings quickly. Mr P Godfrey, Technical Director, Caswell and Company Ltd 13

19 4 POWDER COATINGS REDUCE VOC EMISSIONS AND INCREASE PRODUCT RANGE Through the increased use of powder coatings and water-based paints, Derby Stove Enamelling (DSE) has significantly reduced both production costs and VOC emissions. The Company has reduced annual solvent use by 20% to around three tonnes, well below the five-tonne registration threshold for Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC). DSE expects to reduce VOC emissions by a further one tonne/year by moving to a low-voc degreasing agent. Net cost savings of over /year Improved factory air quality Payback periods for the various measures range from immediate to six months Authorisation under Local Air Pollution Control avoided Background The main business of Derby Stove Enamelling (DSE) is the coating of steel and aluminium products. The Company employs nine people, who work on a 24-hour continuous shift basis. Since 1985, DSE has used both powder coatings and conventional solvent-based paints. While below the LAPC solvent-use threshold in 1995, production volumes were increasing and the Company was concerned that it would soon require authorisation for its processes. Solvent Reduction Programme Faced with the possibility of having to install expensive abatement equipment, the Company decided to move completely to compliant coatings, ie coatings that contain no more than a stated maximum content of organic solvent.* Following discussions with its coating suppliers and customers, DSE opted to extend its use of powder coatings. Some of DSE s clients specify powder paints for their durability and for specific properties (eg fire retardency) and finishes (eg ripple finishes) that are difficult to achieve with other types of coating. Some powder coatings are more expensive than solvent-based paints. However, powder coatings have a high solids content and can be applied efficiently - and with less coating waste - using electrostatic spray guns. The fast drying times of the new powder coatings, eg minute bakes compared with 30 minutes for solvent-based paints, has enabled more products to be processed during each shift for the same energy consumption. 14 * As specified in Secretary of State s Process Guidance Note PG6/23 (97) Coating of Metal and Plastic.

20 4 Partly in response to customer pressure, DSE has replaced some solvent-based paints with two-pack water-based paints, eg for spraying railway industry products. The low VOC content of these paints has helped to reduce solvent use further. DSE has also experimented with water-based degreasing agents for cleaning metal surfaces. While these proved inadequate, the Company still hopes to move to a low-voc degreasing agent, ie 10 g VOC/litre compared with 850 g VOC/litre. This is expected to reduce VOC emissions by a further one tonne/year at no extra cost. Cost Savings and Other Benefits Powder coatings being applied Since DSE started making more extensive use of powder coatings, unit costs have fallen from 2.50/m 2 coated for solvent-based paints to 1.50/m 2 for powder coatings. Although overall production volumes have increased by 39%, savings of over /year have been achieved. Owing to stricter controls on special waste disposal, the coating supplier no longer takes back the waste paint. DSE s waste paint disposal costs have therefore increased by 1 000/year. The net cost savings from switching to powder coatings are therefore in excess of /year. The move to two-pack water-based paints for certain applications has slightly increased unit costs from 2.50 to 2.90/m 2, which has been offset by reduced energy costs. The old solvent-based paints needed to bake for 30 minutes at 120 C, while the new water-based paints need to bake for 40 minutes at only 60 C. 15

21 4 VOC emissions have decreased significantly since April - September 1996, when they peaked due to exceptionally high production volumes (see Fig 1). DSE has been able to demonstrate to its local authority that its solvent use has fallen significantly. At less than three tonnes/year, solvent use is now well below the five-tonne registration threshold for LAPC and DSE is therefore avoiding the 650/year registration fees. However, six-monthly records are still submitted to the local authority as evidence of compliance. Use of compliant coatings with a much lower solvent content has also improved working conditions for employees. The increased use of powder coatings has reduced our solvent consumption to well below the LAPC threshold. It has also created a better working atmosphere for our staff and increased our product range, which in turn has widened our client base. Mr B Smith, Partner, Derby Stove Enamelling Fig 1 Six-monthly solvent use at DSE from April 1994 to September

22 CONVERTING TO SOLVENT-FREE PROCESS REDUCES COSTS AT TABLET COATING PLANT Acetone is used by Eli Lilly and Company Limited, a pharmaceuticals manufacturer, as the solvent for one of its tablet coatings. As part of its programme of continuous environmental improvement, the Company wants to reduce its VOC emissions. End-of-pipe abatement equipment would have been very expensive and so Eli Lilly decided to modify the production process to allow use of an aqueous-based coating. Since the Company has already adopted this approach for all its other coated products, the site will be virtually VOC free. Net cost savings of around /year Use of acetone to be eliminated Regulated under Integrated Pollution Control Background Eli Lilly and Company Limited manufactures pharmaceutical tablets at its site in Basingstoke. The Company employs nearly 500 people and supplies its products to over 80 countries around the world. The Basingstoke plant is regulated by the Environment Agency under Integrated Pollution Control (IPC). One of the older production processes at the site still uses acetone as the solvent for one of its tablet coatings. Corporate pressure to continually improve environmental performance, plus regulatory pressure to reduce VOC emissions, meant that action had to be taken. Solvent Reduction Programme The business planning process at the Basingstoke site includes a review of environmental performance. This review concludes with recommendations for environmental improvements for the coming business year. In 1995, two possible options for reducing VOC emissions were considered. The first option was to install VOC abatement equipment such as solvent recovery or thermal oxidation. The high capital cost of such equipment, eg , and the high energy costs of operating the equipment ruled out this option. The alternative was to form a small technical services project team to develop a way of converting the process from solvent-based to aqueous-based. This was the favoured option because it tackled the root cause of the problem and repeated the switch to aqueous coatings adopted for other products. Industry 5 17

23 5 By converting to a water-based process, the technical services project team would almost eliminate organic solvents from the site. Only small quantities would still be needed in the site s laboratories. This approach had not been attempted earlier because: the development time was expected to be lengthy; re-registration of a medicinal product can be time-consuming; the product was an older one with a potentially limited lifetime. In the event, it took about three years to develop and refine the water-based coating process. Aqueous-based coating process Cost Savings and Other Benefits Despite the long development time, the benefits are impressive. Production costs for this particular tablet will be reduced by 50%, giving cost savings of around /year. Product throughput is also improved with the new water-based coating. Manufacture of the tablets takes up less machine time, creating more production capacity. This in turn means that fewer machines are needed and expenditure on plant maintenance and renewal is reduced. The change to a water-based coating process means that the site will no longer discharge around 20 tonnes/year of acetone to atmosphere, and the high capital and operating costs of abatement equipment will be avoided. Elimination of the need to store and use a flammable substance will also produce health and safety benefits, including improved air quality in the workplace. The opportunity to clean up the environment coupled with a significant reduction in operating costs has made this a really enjoyable project. It s not often we get into a win-win situation, but we did this time. Mr W G Hooper, Team Leader of Environmental, Health and Safety, Eli Lilly and Company Limited 18

24 MAKING THE MOST OF SOLVENT IN THE SPECIALITY CHEMICALS SECTOR In 1995, Fine Organics initiated a comprehensive VOC reduction programme. Monitoring solvent emissions from individual processes allowed the project team to target the highest emitting processes. The team, lead by a senior manager, then sought opportunities to reduce VOC emissions from priority processes. One process, which emits dichloromethane, has now been fitted with new, improved condensers. Solvent consumption has been reduced by around 52 tonnes/year. Despite the fact that the process operates for only 6-8 months/year, the payback period for the project is only 26 months. Net cost savings of /year Reduced VOC emissions Payback period of just over two years Regulated under Integrated Pollution Control Background Fine Organics manufactures a wide range of fine chemicals for the speciality polymer industry, agrochemical intermediates and the pharmaceutical industry. The Company has 370 employees. Around tonnes of chlorinated and non-chlorinated organic solvents are used each year at the Company s Teesside site. In line with Company policy, and in accordance with the authorisations under Integrated Pollution Control (IPC), Fine Organics had already installed equipment to eliminate some VOC emissions, but in 1995, it decided to initiate a comprehensive release minimisation programme. Solvent Reduction Programme As VOC reduction formed an important element of the overall release minimisation programme, a senior manager was given the role of project Champion. Data on VOC emissions collected from around the plant as part of the IPC registration process were used to identify the processes with the highest losses. A priority action plan was then prepared and each process investigated by the project team with the aim of identifying opportunities to reduce VOC emissions. Industry 6 19

25 6 One process, which emitted dichloromethane (DCM), was an immediate target for action. Opportunities to improve solvent recovery were identified and it was decided to install new condensation equipment, costing In the past, such solvent recovery systems had been difficult to justify as there are constraints on the re-use of potentially contaminated solvents in the tightly regulated fine chemicals industry. However, this process used only one solvent, and already used solvent recovered from the existing condensation systems. It was therefore relatively easy to prepare an acceptable financial case for the necessary capital expenditure. From start to completion the project took six months. Cost Savings and Other Benefits Installation of new condensation equipment Since the new condensers were installed, solvent consumption has fallen by an impressive two tonnes/week in the weeks when the process is in operation. Significant cost savings of 2 800/week have been achieved, as additional operating costs are negligible. Annual consumption of dichloromethane at Fine Organics has been reduced by about 52 tonnes/year, giving total net savings of /year. If the process had operated continuously, the payback period for the project would have been nearly 13 months. However, because the dichloromethane mixture is processed for only half of the time, the payback period is just over two years. This exercise was carried out as part of a larger improvement programme. This particular example has shown that it is possible to achieve environmental and cost benefits at the same time. Dr G Richardson, Head - Quality, Safety and Environment, Fine Organics 20

26 CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT TEAM DRIVES DOWN COSTS Flight Refuelling Ltd has built upon previous solvent reduction measures by implementing a five-year continuous environmental improvement initiative. One solventreducing measure identified by the Continuous Improvement Team is the replacement of two inefficient opentop vapour degreasers with new double-door closed degreasers, and the decommissioning of another old degreaser. In addition to significant cost savings, the health and safety risks to operators of the degreasing system have decreased. A major anticipated increase in production has also been taken into account. Industry 7 Net cost savings of over /year Improved workplace environment Payback period of 20 months Authorised under Local Air Pollution Control Background Flight Refuelling Ltd manufactures fuel systems and performs light engineering work for the aerospace industry. The Company employs approximately 850 people and has an annual turnover of about 70 million. Trichloroethylene accounts for 90% of the litres of solvent used by Flight Refuelling annually. Acetone, toluene, methylethylketone (MEK) and isopropyl alcohol are also used. The Company is authorised under LAPC and is thus required to minimise its VOC emissions. Solvent Reduction Programme When the current chief chemist joined the Company in April 1995, some solvent reduction measures had already been implemented. These included the installation of a solvent distillation unit and the introduction of high volume low pressure (HVLP) spray guns. Although these measures had achieved significant benefits, the chief chemist realised that a formal solvent reduction programme would produce further improvements. To maintain the momentum of the solvent reduction programme, the chief chemist set up a small Continuous Improvement Team. The members of the team represented a broad spectrum of personnel, including an accountant and a quality assurance officer. The team s role was to 21

27 7 implement, measure and report on waste minimisation activities within the Company. In addition, the team shared ideas with the South Wessex Waste Minimisation Club and the Environmental Forum for Dorset Industries. The financial director and manufacturing director were kept informed of the team s progress, supporting the initiatives as necessary and reporting to the Company s board. To gain backing from the board, the team was required to develop a pecking order. This involved tackling the highvalue return, low-effort projects first, and then considering projects requiring significant capital expenditure. In 1996, risk assessments were carried out on solvent-using processes in the metal finishing and surface treatment department. These assessments were followed up by SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat) analyses. One of the low-cost solvent reduction opportunities identified by the Continuous Improvement Team involved the vapour degreasing system. The team calculated that the anticipated increase in production would increase trichloroethylene consumption and hence increase degreasing costs by 50% to /year. The Company therefore performed a mass balance analysis on all the vapour degreasers and measured how long they were left idle. This review showed that: three of the open-top vapour degreasers were inefficient and needed replacing; one of these open-top degreasers was idle, on average, for 80% of the time; all future degreasing requirements could be met with one fewer degreaser. The Company therefore decided to decommission one of the degreasers and replace the two remaining old open-top machines with two new double-door closed degreasers. Although each new machine cost , they use 75% less solvent than the previous degreasers. The remaining open-top degreasers have been improved by installing piped, gravity-fed solvent top-up systems. This avoids manual refilling and hence spillage. Coating a refuelling tank 22

28 7 implement, measure and report on waste minimisation activities within the Company. In addition, the team shared ideas with the South Wessex Waste Minimisation Club and the Environmental Forum for Dorset Industries. The financial director and manufacturing director were kept informed of the team s progress, supporting the initiatives as necessary and reporting to the Company s board. To gain backing from the board, the team was required to develop a pecking order. This involved tackling the highvalue return, low-effort projects first, and then considering projects requiring significant capital expenditure. In 1996, risk assessments were carried out on solvent-using processes in the metal finishing and surface treatment department. These assessments were followed up by SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat) analyses. One of the low-cost solvent reduction opportunities identified by the Continuous Improvement Team involved the vapour degreasing system. The team calculated that the anticipated increase in production would increase trichloroethylene consumption and hence increase degreasing costs by 50% to /year. The Company therefore performed a mass balance analysis on all the vapour degreasers and measured how long they were left idle. This review showed that: three of the open-top vapour degreasers were inefficient and needed replacing; one of these open-top degreasers was idle, on average, for 80% of the time; all future degreasing requirements could be met with one fewer degreaser. The Company therefore decided to decommission one of the degreasers and replace the two remaining old open-top machines with two new double-door closed degreasers. Although each new machine cost , they use 75% less solvent than the previous degreasers. The remaining open-top degreasers have been improved by installing piped, gravity-fed solvent top-up systems. This avoids manual refilling and hence spillage. Coating a refuelling tank 22

29 Cost Savings and Other Benefits Based on solvent use and energy consumption, the estimated operating cost of each new degreaser is 2 000/year. This is significantly less than the estimated /year for operating each of the old open-top degreasers. Flight Refuelling also saved the cost of operating the decommissioned degreaser ( 3 600/year). Annual savings from installing two new degreasers are estimated at /year. At current production rates, the machines will pay for themselves in 20 months. Additional unquantifiable benefits include the reduced health and safety risks associated with enclosed degreasers. Total net savings from all the solvent reducing initiatives implemented as a result of the Continuous Improvement Programme are over /year. To date, the total net savings from the Continuous Improvement Programme are in excess of The programme is still in its infancy, but is expanding rapidly. Dr B Allcock, Chief Chemist, Flight Refuelling Ltd Industry 7 23

30 8 SUPPLY CHAIN PRESSURES LEAD TO SOLVENT REDUCTIONS AT ENGINEERING COMPANY Jenks and Cattell Engineering Limited has been encouraged by its main customers to improve its environmental performance. The Company is also keen to reduce its operating costs. Following an initial environmental review in 1993, the Company switched from 1,1,1-trichloroethane to trichloroethylene and installed a new, more efficient degreaser. These changes produced a 48% reduction in solvent consumption, together with significant cost savings. These savings have encouraged the Company to develop a formal environmental management system (EMS) and work towards accreditation to ISO The ultimate aim is to eliminate organic solvents from the site completely. Net cost savings of over 8 000/year Increased throughput Payback period of less than 14 months Background Jenks and Cattell Engineering Limited manufactures pressings and welded assemblies for the automotive industry. The Company employs 200 people and has an annual turnover of 13 million. The Company currently uses 3.85 tonnes/year of trichloroethylene for degreasing. It does not require authorisation under Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC) as it does not operate any prescribed process (eg coating) under the Environmental Protection Act Solvent Reduction Programme In 1993, Jenks and Cattell realised that if it wished to maintain its standing with its main customers, it would need to provide evidence of improving environmental performance. The Company therefore decided to review its operations with the aid of Groundwork Black Country. An environmental review identified the need to eliminate the use of 1,1,1-trichloroethane* and replace the Company s old and inefficient degreasing tank. In 1995, Jenks and Cattell decided to work towards eliminating organic solvents from the site altogether. 24 * Production of this ozone-depleting substance was banned from 1996 under the Montreal Protocol.

31 8 As an interim solution, a new, more efficient degreaser was installed that uses trichloroethylene. This machine, which cost 9 000, has a higher freeboard and more effective extraction and temperature controls. It also has a roll cover that is closed when the machine is not in use. The combined effect of these features has been to almost halve solvent consumption. Managers were impressed with this significant reduction in solvent use and were keen to make further environmental improvements. At the same time, several leading car manufacturers began asking component suppliers to demonstrate environmental quality standards. Jenks and Cattell used Groundwork Black Country to help them in this task and ultimately achieve accreditation to a formal environmental management standard. As a first step, the Company reviewed its operations to establish the main environmental impacts of these operations and the level of compliance with relevant legal requirements. During this review, the Company found that its solvent management could be significantly improved. With the exception of purchase and accounts records, there were no records of solvent use and no one had overall responsibility for the control of solvent use. An action plan was drawn up to rectify this situation. It involved: giving responsibility for solvent management to one individual; setting up recordkeeping procedures to identify solvent losses to atmosphere; identifying opportunities to reduce solvent use. The works manager was appointed solvent manager ; and operating procedures that reflect the new approach to solvent use have been written. These procedures: encourage good housekeeping; allow for regular monitoring and reporting; promote continuous environmental improvement. The new degreaser being loaded 25

32 8 As part of the Company s commitment to continuous environmental improvement, a strategic review of degreasing operations was undertaken. The aim of this review, which took into account customer requirements and changes to environmental legislation, was to phase out solvent degreasing altogether. The Company is currently seeking an appropriate non-solvent, automated degreasing system. Meanwhile, additional improvements to degreasing operations have been made. These include the use of larger, lighter baskets that keep parts separate and reduce solvent drag-out. All processes are now monitored carefully and records are kept of solvent inputs and outputs. In this way, Jenks and Cattell hopes to identify further areas for improvement. Improvement targets will then be set within the framework of the Company s EMS. The Company aims eventually to seek accreditation to ISO Cost Savings and Other Benefits Installation of a more efficient degreaser enabled the Company to cut solvent consumption from 600 litres/month to 312 litres/month. This reduction presents an annual saving of over 8 000, giving a payback period of less than 14 months. The larger capacity of the machine has also enabled greater throughput to be achieved. Despite an increase in throughput of more than 100%, solvent use in 1997 was only marginally greater than in Fig 2 Reduction in solvent use By setting up an EMS, and committing ourselves to achieving ISO 14001, we have realised that there are large potential savings and efficiency gains to be made in all purchasing and engineering decisions. Mr C Evans, Manufacturing Director, Jenks and Cattell Engineering Limited 26

33 STATE-OF-THE-ART SPRAYING EQUIPMENT REDUCES COSTS AT FURNITURE MANUFACTURER Since Johnson & Johnson Furniture began its solvent reduction programme in 1991, it has achieved a litres/year reduction in coating and solvent consumption. This impressive result have been obtained through the purchase of new spraying equipment and by waste minimisation. The Company s longterm aim is to eliminate solvents completely from the production process through the adoption of water-based coatings. Net cost savings of around 3 100/year Improved workplace air quality Payback period on combined measures of about two years Authorised under Local Air Pollution Control Industry 9 Background Johnson & Johnson Furniture manufactures a wide range of wooden kitchen furniture products. The Company has 140 employees, of whom 90 are involved directly in production. Annual turnover is approximately 7 million. The Company uses about 40 tonnes/year of virgin solvents and solvent-containing paints and lacquers that are used as coatings on the wooden furniture. Johnson & Johnson is authorised under Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC). Solvent Reduction Programme Johnson & Johnson s solvent reduction programme was developed in response to three main drivers. These were: economic pressures and the need to reduce operating costs; regulatory pressure and the possibility of having to install expensive abatement equipment; the demands of the Company s environmental policy. Having considered various options, the Company began to implement a variety of solvent reduction measures. These combined changes to production technologies with the introduction of good housekeeping practices. The first solvent reduction measure involved replacing conventional paint spraying equipment with more efficient high volume low pressure (HVLP) spray guns. This change, which cost approximately 27

34 , has led to a significant reduction in overspray. There was initially some resistance to the new guns from the sprayers - they were not comfortable with the low pressures of the HVLP equipment and found it difficult to achieve an even finish. However, appropriate training soon overcame this problem. Johnson & Johnson also purchased hotspray equipment at a cost of approximately This equipment allows higher viscosity coatings to be sprayed and has reduced the need to add solvents to the coating to achieve even coverage. Wherever possible, the factory recycles waste. For example, waste solvent is used to clean equipment in the centralised gun and cup cleaning station, which was installed as part of the solvent reduction programme. Johnson & Johnson is continuing to seek suitable water-based coatings or compliant coatings with a lower organic content. Eventually, it is hoped that this will lead to the elimination of solvent-based products from the manufacturing process and to compliance without the need for abatement. Cost Savings and Other Benefits Using a new HVLP spray gun The reduced overspray and greater efficiency of the new HVLP spray guns have resulted in a 15% reduction, ie litres/year in the consumption of paints and coatings. This reduction has saved Johnson & Johnson approximately 2 060/year, giving a payback period on the new equipment of less than a year. Solvent consumption has been reduced by a further litres/year using the new hot-spray equipment. This reduction represents a saving of approximately 750/year, giving a payback period of 4.5 years. An indirect benefit has been the reduced exposure to solvents of employees preparing the coatings for spraying. The combined payback period on the new spray guns and spraying equipment is just under two years. Recycling waste solvent to the centralised gun and cup cleaning station has reduced solvent purchases by 400 litres/year and achieved cost savings of approximately 300/year. The new spraying equipment has significantly reduced our consumption of coatings and thinners. We expect the real reductions to come when suitable water-based coatings are available. We then hope to be able to eliminate solvents from the production process completely. Mr P Roberts, Factory Manager, Johnson & Johnson Furniture 28

35 SOLVENT REVIEW HELPS FOIL COATER IDENTIFY SOLVENT REDUCTION MEASURES Peerless Foils Ltd has made significant efforts to reduce solvent consumption. Gaining accreditation to BS 7750 acted as a catalyst to improve its environmental performance by reducing solvent use. A review of the use of solvents in the production process by the Company s Environmental Steering Group identified several areas for improvement. These included good housekeeping practices, enclosure of the printing machines, and the installation of a distillation unit for solvent recovery and re-use. These measures have resulted in a reduction in toluene consumption of over 5%. One long-term objective is to reduce consumption by a further 20% by introducing water-based inks. Industry 10 Net cost savings of nearly /year Improved workplace air quality Payback period on the measures adopted range from immediate to 3.6 years Authorised under Local Air Pollution Control Background Peerless Foils manufactures hot stamping foils, which are used in the printing of boxes and household goods. The Company employs 66 people and has an annual turnover of 8 million. In the foil coating process, organic solvents are combined with resins and pigments to form a coating that is put onto a polyester film. After drying, the film becomes thermosensitive and ready for use. Around 870 tonnes/year of solvents are used at the site. This amount includes 550 tonnes of toluene. Peerless Foils is authorised under Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC). Solvent Reduction Programme Peerless Foils began to investigate solvent reduction measures in late 1995 after achieving accreditation to the UK environmental management standard, BS 7750.* A key requirement of any formal environmental management standard is a commitment to a programme of continuous environmental improvement. * Now superseded by ISO

36 10 A solvent reduction action plan was drawn up by the Company s Environmental Steering Group. This group, which was chaired by the general manager, included the environmental officer and the quality manager. The team began by carrying out a review of the production process to identify the type and amount of material used at every stage. A further objective of this review was to determine whether alternative practices and materials could be used without affecting product quality. During the review, the team noticed poor working practices, particularly with regard to solvent housekeeping. To help improve employee awareness, the team demonstrated how significant the losses can be from an unlidded container of solvent. To do this, they left an opened 90-litre (20-gallon) barrel of toluene on a floorscale and weighed it every hour. This exercise was then repeated on warm and humid days to show how atmospheric changes affect evaporation. Employees were therefore made more aware of potential losses to the workplace and their associated cost to the Company. The Company s solvent reduction programme is now taken far more seriously by all concerned and working practices are much improved. In 1995, Peerless also decided to buy a distillation unit at a cost of A proportion of wash solvents are now recovered and re-used in the manufacturing process. The Environmental Steering Group is currently investigating the use of water-based inks. While this project is still at an early stage, Peerless is confident that it will ultimately reduce solvent consumption by 20-25%. Changing the drum on the distillation unit 30

37 Cost Savings and Other Benefits As a result of good housekeeping and other no-cost changes implemented following the review, toluene consumption per unit of production has fallen by about 5%. This represents a saving of approximately 35 tonnes/year, worth 8 000/year for no capital outlay. Payback period on these measures was therefore immediate. In addition, the coating machines have been enclosed - at a cost of 5 000/machine - to avoid uncaptured emissions. Enclosure has also led to quality improvements and reduced waste. The distillation unit has enabled solvent waste to be reduced by 10%, ie around litres/year. This has reduced disposal costs by 820/year, plus a similar reduction in avoided solvent purchases. The payback period of this project is 3.6 years. Peerless may still be required to install VOC abatement equipment to meet LAPC requirements. However, the cost savings achieved through solvent reduction measures will help to offset the high operating costs of this equipment. The Company plans to drastically reduce its dependence on organic solvents in the future. The initial improvements were obtained easily and are available to any manufacturer as a first quick fix. Further improvements will require management commitment and employee involvement. Mr B Hughes, General Manager, Peerless Foils Ltd Industry 10 31

38 11 INDEPENDENT BODYSHOP ACHIEVES SIGNIFICANT COST SAVINGS THROUGH IMPROVED SOLVENT MANAGEMENT The solvent reduction programme at S&A Auto Services has allowed the Company to keep its solvent consumption below the one-tonne threshold for vehicle refinishing businesses under Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC). This is despite an increase in the volume of work of at least 30% since October A series of low-cost and simple measures have reduced solvent consumption by 125 litres/month, while, in addition, paint consumption per unit of production has fallen by 30%. Net cost savings of over 2 150/year Improved working conditions Payback period on the measures employed range from immediate to one year Authorisation under Local Air Pollution Control avoided Background S&A Auto Services is an independent accident repair business that uses organic solvents as thinners for paints and for degreasing. It employs nine people and has an annual turnover of In October 1996, the Company relocated to new premises and decided that this provided a perfect opportunity to implement better working practices. One of the main objectives of the improvement programme was to keep solvent use below the one-tonne LAPC threshold, as the authorisation process takes both management time and money ( application fee, plus 650 annual fee). The bodyshop currently uses 0.89 tonnes/year of solvent. Solvent Reduction Programme Working closely with its paint and degreasing chemical distributor, Hex Holdings, the Company decided to target each solvent-containing material systematically. From regular reviews, solvent use per unit of production was already known. Material data sheets provided by the distributor gave details of the weight of solvent in each product and allowed identification of those products with the highest VOC concentrations. 32

39 11 The obvious first step was to improve the control of panel degreasing. Previously, employees poured solvent freely from a five-litre can onto rags, resulting in spillage and unnecessarily high solvent use. One employee now spends about 1.5 hours/week decanting degreaser into spray bottles. These are then used to spray solvent onto rags as required. The cost of the spray bottles was just 20, but the reduction in solvent use and subsequent cost savings have been dramatic. The second measure involved the purchase of a spray gun cleaning machine to reduce gunwash consumption. This machine, which cost 800, uses both clean and dirty solvent to clean the spray gun. First, dirty solvents are passed through the gun to remove most of the residual paint. The gun is then rinsed with clean solvent. In addition, solvent is also contained more effectively than with the old machine, thus reducing solvent losses and VOC emissions. The third measure was the installation of a computerised paint management system. This system allows mixing ratios to be recalculated if too much paint is added, thus eliminating waste batches. It can also mix smaller amounts as the built-in scales are much more accurate than those on the previous mixing machine. Leasing costs are 250/month. Bodyshop employees were initially sceptical about the benefits of adopting different working practices. By explaining the objectives of the solvent reduction programme carefully, involving employees fully, and linking achieved reductions to bonus pay, the programme has been successfully implemented. The computerised paint management system 33

40 11 Cost Savings and Other Benefits Use of plastic spray bottles to apply degreaser to rags has reduced solvent use significantly and saved 1 370/year (see Table 3). Payback period from this measure was almost immediate. This solvent reduction measure has also improved health and safety conditions in the bodyshop, with less fumes and reduced risk of fire. This has, in turn, resulted in lower absenteeism and improved employee retention. Degreasing solutions Panel wipe Heavy-duty degreaser Cost of five-litre can Pre-project use 6 litres/week 3.5 litres/week Current use 2.5 litres/week 1.25 litres/week Solvent reduction 58% 64% Weekly cost saving Annual cost saving* * Assuming bodyshop works for 48 weeks/year Table 3 Reductions in degreasing costs Installation of the new spray gun cleaning machine has resulted in a reduction in purchases of cleaning solvent from 125 litres/month to 25 litres/month, a saving of 66/month ( 800/year). The payback period for the machine is therefore around 12 months. In addition, the machine cleans the guns more effectively, saving rework on subsequent paint jobs. Overall, these low-cost measures have reduced solvent consumption by around 125 litres/month, representing a saving of over 2 150/year. Use of the computerised paint management system has significantly reduced paint consumption per unit of production. Although monthly paint purchases over the period October 1996 to July 1997 increased by 40% to 1 690/month, the amount of paint used per unit of production fell by 30%. Other benefits of the new system include a cleaner mixing room, less paint waste and reduced waste disposal costs. As a result of these improvements in its environmental performance, S&A Auto Services has obtained new business from insurance company approvals. Our Company ethic is use less of everything without compromise to quality. If you stop and think, all these measures add money to your bottom line. The important bonus is that it makes the workplace safer and pleasanter for your employees - without them you don t have a business! Mr P Smith, Proprietor, S&A Auto Services 34

41 CAR TRIM MANUFACTURER CUTS SOLVENT USE BY SWITCHING TO WATER-BASED ADHESIVES To achieve Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC) upgrade targets agreed with its local authority, SAI Lignotock implemented a systematic solvent reduction programme. The Company changed from conventional solventbased adhesives to water-based and high solids adhesives. Between 1992 and 1995 it used computer-controlled adhesive applicators. The Company is now using approximately 100 tonnes/year less solvent than in 1992/93, saving in reduced adhesive costs. As a result of the changes, special waste disposal costs have been reduced by more than 8 000/year. In addition, the workplace environment has improved and less protective clothing is now worn by employees. Industry 12 Cost savings of around /year LAPC upgrade targets achieved Payback periods for various measures ranging from immediate to one year Authorised under Local Air Pollution Control Background SAI Lignotock, part of the French SAI Automotive Group, manufactures a wide variety of trims and panels for the automotive sector, bonding substrates to plastic and making use of various production processes. The Company employs 210 people and has an annual turnover of 15 million. Until 1993, use of solvent-based adhesives resulted in the use of 181 tonnes/year of solvent. The Company is authorised under Local Air Pollution Control. Solvent Reduction Programme In 1993, as part of its LAPC upgrade plan, SAI Lignotock agreed two solvent reduction targets with its local authority. These were a 25% reduction by 1995/96 and a further 25% reduction by 1997/98. To achieve these targets, the Company s manufacturing and technical manager aimed to begin using water-based adhesives by The Company was aware that if it proved impossible to switch to water-based adhesives, VOC abatement equipment would have to be installed at considerable cost. Working closely with several adhesives suppliers, the manufacturing and technical manager evaluated the use of various products. These included both low-solvent adhesives and water-based 35

42 12 adhesives. The manager also investigated the use of automated adhesive applicators to improve the efficiency of adhesive application. While the water-based adhesives appeared to bond well, the trim did not pass rigorous automotive industry tests. SAI Lignotock therefore decided to keep using solvent-based adhesives as an interim measure, but to reduce their level of use. This was achieved by installing two computer numerical control (CNC) machines, at a combined cost of These controlled the level and placement of adhesive on each trim precisely, with the result that adhesive use per trim fell from 10 g to just 1 g, while still allowing all industry requirements to be met. These machines are currently in storage and will be used where future production runs allow. In 1995, the Company began using an adhesive with a higher solids content, ie 16.6% instead of 12.6%. This reduced VOC emissions still further. The big step was taken in 1996, however, when a water-based adhesive with a high solids content demonstrated sufficiently high standards of performance during automotive industry tests. This encouraged the Company to select this product for the vacuum-lamination process, where it has been used successfully for 18 months. Water-based adhesives are now being used on other products. Production methods that avoid the use of adhesives entirely have also been introduced. One such method involves bonding prelaminated woodstock sheet (polypropylene and wood flour) to PVC coverings. The use of hot melts is also being considered as a further step towards complete elimination of VOC emissions from the production process. Cost Savings and Other Benefits The CNC machines reduced adhesive demand by 90%, saving a total of during the three years they were in use and giving a payback period of only one year for the cost of the two machines. The other methods combined have resulted in a reduction in solvent consumption of 100 tonnes/year compared with the 1992/93 level, while adhesive purchases have been reduced by 24%, saving /year. Special waste disposal costs have decreased by at least 8 000/year. Given that water-based adhesives can be used with the existing equipment and procedures, and hence without the need to invest in new plant, the payback is immediate. In addition, workplace air quality has improved, while expenditure on health and safety equipment has also fallen. Through its solvent reduction programme, SAI Lignotock has easily met its LAPC upgrade targets. 1 LAPC target set in 1995 and revised Fig 3 Solvent consumption at SAI Lignotock Owing to the lack of a suitable product, the uptake of waterbased adhesives was only possible after extensive collaboration between SAI Lignotock and adhesive manufacturers. Environmental issues are increasingly important to ourselves and our customers. By increasing the use of water-based adhesives and moving to hot melts, we are working towards zero solvent emissions by

43 ENCLOSED DEGREASER SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCES TRICHLOROETHYLENE CONSUMPTION AT SMALL ENGINEERING COMPANY Industry 13 Mr T Mundy, Manufacturing and Technical Manager, SAI Lignotock Servex Ltd sought to reduce its trichloroethylene consumption to maintain solvent use at the site below the authorisation threshold for Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC). The Company had already installed an aqueous, soak-cleaner system for chrome products and has now replaced its old open-top trichloroethylene degreaser with a second-hand, enclosed degreaser. Further measures are planned to reduce trichloroethylene consumption further. Net cost savings of about 2 380/year Improved workplace air quality Payback period of around 2.5 years Authorisation under Local Air Pollution Control avoided Background Servex Ltd is a metal finishing and engineering company that carries out subcontract work for larger companies. The Company has 27 employees and an annual turnover of The Company uses about litres/year (around 4.7 tonnes) of trichloroethylene. This is just below the threshold for authorisation under LAPC. However, as Servex plans to expand its operations, further reductions in solvent use are considered a priority. Solvent Reduction Programme Servex had already started to switch from using organic solvents by investing in an aqueous cleaning system for its chrome product electroplating line. However, solvent consumption has remained a major issue for the Company and, in particular, the electroplating manager. Managers are therefore aware of the need to keep track of solvent use and to monitor VOC emissions. For example, all trichloroethylene has to be booked out of stores and, when the degreasing tank is topped up with trichloroethylene, the quantity is marked on a calendar. The number of items put through the degreaser is also recorded to allow solvent consumption to be related to production levels. To 37

44 13 ensure health and safety exposure limits are met, regular monitoring of solvent emissions above the degreaser is carried out using a meter. Although this simple VOC meter cost 400, monitoring can be performed in-house. When the data from the solvent tracking and monitoring work were examined, Servex s managers became aware of how much solvent was being lost from the open-top degreaser and the impact it was having on workplace air quality. Initially, they considered making major modifications to the existing machine. However, the estimated cost of was considered to be too high. After considering several options, Servex decided to install a smaller, second-hand degreasing unit fitted with a motorised closed-lid system. This unit cost To reduce emissions further, the machine was sited in a draught-free area in the factory. Servex is now planning further improvements to ensure it stays below the five-tonne threshold for authorisation under LAPC. Firstly, the Company intends to install a chiller system to improve condensation of solvent vapour. Secondly, Servex intends to move the trichloroethylene storage tank to within 20 metres of the degreaser. It will then be possible to pipe solvent directly into the degreaser so as to avoid manual handling which can result in spillage. Servex hopes to implement these measures in the near future. Cost Savings and Other Benefits Loading the enclosed degreaser As a result of replacing the degreasing unit, solvent consumption has fallen by 162 litres/month. This is equivalent to approximately 2.6 tonnes/year of trichloroethylene. At a cost of 915/tonne for trichloroethylene, this represents a cost saving of 2 380/year. Assuming that the operating costs for the new degreaser are the same as for the old one, the payback period for the replacement degreaser is about 2.5 years. Switching from an open-top to an enclosed degreaser has also significantly reduced employee exposure to trichloroethylene vapour. We had already made an effort to reduce solvent consumption by the use of aqueous cleaning systems, but further improvements were necessary to remain below the authorisation threshold for LAPC. After a careful analysis of our operations, we realised that a few simple changes could have a dramatic effect on our solvent use. We now wish we had modified the process years ago! Mr I Anderson, Electroplating Manager, Servex Ltd 38

45 SUPPLIER HELPS TEXTILE PRINTER HALVE SOLVENT USE In 1992, Standfast implemented a solvent reduction programme to achieve compliance with both environmental legislation and Courtaulds Textiles Group s environmental policy. A review of solvent use and an emissions monitoring programme led to a solvent reduction team working closely with Standfast s suppliers to identify suitable non-solvent or lowsolvent alternatives. This has resulted in complete removal of solvents from some parts of the manufacturing process and has significantly reduced solvent use in others. Between 1992 and 1996, overall solvent use fell by 30 tonnes/year for no capital outlay. Net cost savings of /year Improved working conditions Immediate payback Authorised under Local Air Pollution Control Background Standfast, a member of the Courtaulds Textiles Group of companies, prints and dyes a wide range of fabrics for the home furnishings market. The Company has 280 employees and an annual turnover of approximately 15 million. The Company currently uses approximately 22 tonnes/year of dipropylene glycol, glycol blends and alcohols. The site is authorised under Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC). Solvent Reduction Programme The solvent reduction programme at Standfast was initiated partly in response to the Group s environmental policy and partly due to increased regulatory pressures. The Company realised that it would make progress only by involving everyone concerned. A team was therefore established, led by the purchasing manager and key technical managers. As a first step in the solvent reduction programme, the team carried out a site review. Solvent emissions were monitored, following the environmental monitoring guidelines developed by Courtaulds Textiles. The team used the inventory of solvent use and the record of solvent emissions to develop a targeted action plan. As part of the action plan, Standfast conducted a technical review of alternatives to its current solvent-based products. This review involved extensive discussions with suppliers with the aim of replacing products containing high levels of solvent with low- or non-solvent alternatives wherever Industry 14 39

46 14 possible. The solvent content of products had already begun to be used as a criterion of supplier suitability. The first result from the technical review involved a change in the dessicant used to improve moisture gain in the steam fixation stage of the printing process. On the basis of advice from its supplier, Standfast switched from using glycerine BP as a dessicant to dipropylene glycol. Dipropylene glycol is less volatile, and less is required. Changes were also made to the pigment system used in the Monitoring textile feed into the presses printing of fabrics. Products containing a high level of solvent were replaced with a water-based alternative, making this stage of the printing process completely solvent-free. Further reductions in solvent use have been achieved through substitution of dyestuffs and inks containing high levels of solvent with alternatives with a low or zero solvent content. Standfast is continuing its solvent reduction programme, with plans for a further 10% reduction in solvent use during the next year. Cost Savings and Other Benefits By 1996, Standfast had reduced the quantity of solvent used in the steam fixation part of the printing process by 12 tonnes/year. This represents a cost saving of approximately /year. Payback period on this measure was immediate as no capital expenditure was involved. Use of a water-based product instead of solvent-based products in the pigment system reduced overall annual solvent consumption by 6.6 tonnes. Although no direct cost savings were achieved, this change eliminated the need to fit abatement equipment to the six printing machines. This avoided total capital costs of around Since 1992, the solvent reduction programme has allowed Standfast to reduce its solvent use by 30 tonnes/year. No capital expenditure was required, giving an immediate payback. An indirect benefit is the improved air quality in the factory and the reduced need to store organic solvents on site. By involving our suppliers in our solvent reduction strategy, we have been able to significantly reduce our solvent use. This has saved us money and avoided the need for expensive abatement equipment. Mr J Buckland, Technical Director, Standfast 40

47 SHOE MANUFACTURER REDUCES SOLVENT USE BY 96% IN FOUR YEARS In 1993, The Florida Group Ltd began a systematic solvent reduction programme with the aim of anticipating future environmental legislation and reducing solvent use to below the authorisation threshold for Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC). The associated decrease in the health and safety risk to employees was a further driver. After only four years, the Company has reduced solvent use by 96%. This impressive reduction has been achieved mainly through substituting water-based products for solventbased products. Where necessary, help has been sought from the Company s suppliers. The complete elimination of solvents from the production process remains a long-term aim. Industry 15 Cost savings of around 8 000/year Immediate payback Authorisation under LAPC no longer required Background The Florida Group Ltd manufactures pairs of women s shoes every week under a variety of brand names. The Company has 330 employees and an annual turnover of approximately 14 million. In 1993, the Company carried out a site review of solvent use and emissions as required for authorisation under Local Air Pollution Control. At that time, the Company was using about 6.5 tonnes/year of solvent in adhesives, cleaners and finishes, and was therefore over the five-tonne authorisation threshold. Solvent Reduction Programme Through involvement with various shoe industry committees, the Technical Director was aware that emission limits were likely to become increasingly strict. It was realised that small reductions in solvent use might not be sufficient to avoid future regulation. The board of directors therefore decided that the Company should aim to replace solvent-based products with water-based ones wherever possible. The ultimate aim was the elimination of organic solvents. The associated health and safety benefits of reducing solvent use were another factor. 41

48 15 Two members of the management team were given responsibility for overseeing the solvent reduction programme. To encourage acceptance of the new practices, operators were included in discussions with suppliers; and a training programme was initiated to ensure that everyone understood the reasons for, and benefits of, the changes. The first production area targeted for a switch from solvent-based to water-based adhesives was the closing rooms - where the shoe uppers are prepared. A variety of suitable products were already available, and direct substitution was possible in many cases. Where problems arose, the Company worked directly with its suppliers to overcome them. Solvent-based brush and bench cleaners were also replaced with water-based equivalents. The use of solvents in the Company s closing rooms has now been banned for two years. The second target area was the making room, where the soles are attached to the uppers. Here the Company worked closely with its adhesive supplier to develop a water-based product with a bond strength appropriate for footwear. After extensive testing, a satisfactory formulation was confirmed in 1996 and an immediate changeover made. This change was accompanied by an associated switch to water-based cleaning products. The final step in the solvent reduction programme was to tackle solvent use in the finishing room. This has proved the most difficult area, but currently around 70% of the finishing products are water-based. Problems have been encountered with the remaining 30% as the water-based products available are unable to provide a satisfactory top brightness to some types of leather. Following successful laboratory trials, the Company is carrying out production trials on a new product. If the results are acceptable, then this product will reduce further the quantity of solventbased product in the finishing room. The Company s aim remains the complete elimination of solvents in the production process. 42 Gluing the sole of a shoe

49 Cost Savings and Other Benefits In the closing rooms, the switch from solvent-based to water-based products has resulted in cost savings of around 3 000/year. In the making room, the savings from eliminating solvents were even higher at around 5 000/year. As a result of its systematic solvent reduction programme, the Company now uses only 250 kg/year of solvent. All of this solvent is used in the finishing room. Negligible capital outlay has been required to achieve cost savings of around 8 000/year, giving an immediate payback. In addition, the Company is therefore no longer required to be authorised under LAPC and has hence saved the annual 650 fee. Industry 15 Fig 4 Reduction in solvent use Substituting water-based for solvent-based products has not been as difficult as we initially envisaged. Taking one product at a time and working with our suppliers when appropriate, we were able to make quite rapid progress. It s very satisfying to know that in only four years we have become fully compliant and significantly reduced our operating costs. Mr P Bucknall, Technical Director, The Florida Group Ltd 43

50 16 CHANGE TO IBCs REDUCES ADHESIVE WASTE In 1996, Ultramark Adhesive Products decided to investigate the annual cost to the Company of the adhesive residues sent for disposal in the supply drums. This investigation showed that these residues were a significant loss of raw material. The Company therefore talked to its adhesive supplier to find ways of reducing this waste. A simple change to the use of refillable, onetonne intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) has reduced adhesive consumption by 4.8 tonnes/year for no capital outlay. Cost savings of approximately /year No empty drums requiring disposal Immediate payback Authorised under Local Air Pollution Control Background Ultramark Adhesive Products manufactures a wide range of self-adhesive films for label and sign applications. The Company has 60 employees and an annual turnover of 14 million. The Company uses approximately 250 tonnes/year of solvent-based adhesives. It is authorised under Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC). Solvent Reduction Programme The nature of its product range commits Ultramark to the long-term use of solvent-based adhesives. Most of the VOC emissions from the production process occur during drying, and a thermal oxidation unit costing around has been installed to achieve compliance with LAPC emission limits. However, Ultramark is keen to reduce its solvent consumption as a cost-saving measure. The first area targeted by Ultramark was adhesive supply. The Company realised that adhesive residues in the 180 kg supply drums could represent a significant cost, and decided to quantify this waste. Several unopened supply drums were weighed and the average weight calculated. Over the course of several weeks, all used drums were weighed after emptying. Since the full product weight, minus drum, was known, it was then possible to calculate the average weight of the residue adhesive. Although each empty drum contained only a small quantity of adhesive, the losses added up to around 4.8 tonnes/year. Ultramark s purchasing manager therefore contacted the adhesive supplier to discuss possible changes to the method of adhesive supply and pumping. After careful evaluation 44

51 16 of Ultramark s needs, it was decided that a switch to returnable, refillable, one-tonne intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) would be the most cost-effective solution. IBCs can be attached directly to the factory s adhesive pumping system. This reduces adhesive handling and thus the potential for VOC emissions and spillage. IBCs also empty more completely when pumped out, leaving a far smaller quantity of adhesive residue. Intermediate bulk container connected to factory adhesive pumping system Cost Savings and Other Benefits This simple change from drums to IBCs has saved Ultramark approximately 8 000/year through reduced adhesive purchase costs alone. In addition, Ultramark no longer has to dispose of contaminated adhesive supply drums as the supplier removes the empty containers. This has led to further savings of approximately 2 000/year in reduced waste disposal costs. Overall, Ultramark has achieved cost savings of around /year for no capital outlay, giving an immediate payback. Adhesive supply in bulk rather than drums has also improved employee working conditions. Cost savings rather than solvent reduction per se were the main motivation behind this change. We are naturally pleased, however, that the new system has allowed us to manage our solvent use better, as well as save us money. Mr P Hulley, Technical Manager, Ultramark Adhesive Products 45

52 17 IMPROVED INK MANAGEMENT PRODUCES SIGNIFICANT COST SAVINGS FOR PACKAGING PRINTER In 1997, West of Scotland Packaging began a solvent management programme with the aim of increasing efficiency and meeting regulatory requirements. A review of solvent use at the site was followed by investigations into potential solvent management measures. The first major project involved improved ink management, with the introduction of a computerised ink mixing system. In its first year of operation the system has significantly reduced VOC emissions and ink waste. Further solvent reduction measures have been identified and will be implemented shortly. Cost savings of approximately /year Reduced VOC emissions and ink waste Payback period of about 4.5 years on material saving alone Authorised under Local Air Pollution Control Background West of Scotland Packaging manufactures a range of printed, flexible packaging products, including polythene bags and printed polypropylene. The Company has 45 employees and an annual turnover of million. The Company, which uses approximately 220 tonnes/year of industrial methylated spirits and ethyl acetate, is authorised under Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC). Solvent Reduction Programme To meet LAPC requirements, West of Scotland Packaging needed to reduce its VOC emissions. As it would be difficult for the Company to move immediately to low-solvent inks, the decision was taken to install abatement equipment. This was going to be expensive, but the Company realised that the capital and operating costs of the abatement equipment could be offset through improving the efficiency of ink use. A solvent reduction programme was therefore implemented. The first stage of the solvent reduction programme involved carrying out a site review to gain a better understanding of solvent use and sources of waste. The review also established a baseline against which progress could be assessed. VOC monitoring was also carried out to determine the level of captured emissions from the presses and elsewhere. 46

53 17 Using the information obtained from the review, potential solvent reduction measures were identified and the most cost-effective were investigated. The small size of the Company means that measures have to be prioritised and introduced as resources permit. All employees are involved in the ongoing solvent reduction programme, with management providing education, training and motivation. For example, solvent good practice has been discussed with all the print teams to ensure that good housekeeping and the correct safety procedures are being followed. With the help of its ink supplier, West of Scotland Packaging has improved the control of ink use at every stage of the printing process. A computer-controlled ink dispensing and mixing system has been installed by the ink manager, which has significantly reduced solvent evaporation and ink waste. Individual employees previously had to mix bespoke inks before starting a job, often overestimating the quantities required. Inks are now made to order while the job is on the press. This new practice has minimised the quantity of press-returned ink after job completion, and has reduced the need to store inks for subsequent print runs. The Company is now planning to buy bulk storage tanks for its two main solvents. It also intends to buy a piping network to allow solvents and inks to be pumped around the site from the storage tanks direct to the presses. These two measures will reduce solvent handling and hence reduce VOC emissions and the risk of accidental spillage. The significant savings already achieved by these measures have inspired the Company to examine its solvent management further. A trainee environmental manager is being appointed to establish a systematic solvent management system, using a mass balance approach,* to identify further areas for improvement. An air-handling consultancy has also been used to advise on enclosing the presses and air recirculation. This would reduce exhaust flow rates and increase the VOC concentration in the exhaust gases, thus reducing the cost of operating the abatement equipment. The new computerised ink mixing system * See Good Practice Guide (GG114) Reduce Costs by Tracking Solvents, available free of charge through the Environmental Helpline on

54 17 Cost Savings and Other Benefits The total cost of the ink management system was around , but this included a new building to house the system. On the basis of actual savings made since February 1997, overall cost savings from improved ink management are estimated to be about /year. Construction costs pushed the payback period to over 4.5 years. However, this figure does not take account of the reduced cost of operating the VOC abatement system or productivity gains. The planned solvent storage and distribution system is expected to reduce solvent consumption by a further 5%, giving savings of approximately 8 000/year. The capital cost of this project will be around , giving a payback period of 3.75 years. However, there will be additional indirect benefits associated with safer working conditions and improved efficiency. While the cost of our new VOC abatement system is high compared with our turnover, the blow has been softened by our solvent reduction work. With the help of our ink supplier, we have been able to make impressive savings in the first year. We intend to make further savings through taking a more systematic approach to solvent management in the future. Mr T Hodgkinson, General Manager, West of Scotland Packaging 48

55 NEW HVLP SPRAY GUNS CUT SOLVENT USE The bodyshop manager at Yeovil Motor Company (Volvo) worked with consultants to develop an action plan and improve solvent working practices. Inefficient working practices in the bodyshop were identified through a survey, while the Company s new quality management system was used to obtain accurate data on material purchases and use. Good housekeeping practices have now been implemented and equipment has been modernised, with the aim of reducing solvent use. Solvent consumption has fallen by 15% while paint use has fallen by 66%, despite a 20% increase in the volume of work. Estimated cost savings of over /year Reduced solvent fumes in the bodyshop Payback period of less than two weeks Industry 18 Background The bodyshop at Yeovil Motor Company (Volvo) carries out a wide range of damage repairs and resprays. Ten people are employed in the bodyshop, which is located in a residential area, and has an annual turnover of over A variety of solvent-based cleaning systems and paints are used. Solvent reduction measures were implemented to save money, improve environmental performance, and for health and safety reasons. Measures to date have successfully brought solvent volumes below the authorisation threshold for Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC). Solvent Reduction Programme In 1995, the Company appointed a new bodyshop manager. Although the manager had a good idea of the measures needed, he sought advice from consultants on best practice and environmental regulations. An action plan was agreed, which involved: identifying key weaknesses; educating employees; improving equipment and procedures for handling solvents and paints. The first stage of the solvent reduction programme was to ask employees to complete a questionnaire supplied by the consultant. This survey identified problem areas such as poor handling of coatings and solvents. 49

56 18 The Company was seeking accreditation to the quality management standard ISO 9000, so records of material deliveries and checks on paint quality were readily available. Information from the survey and the material logs was used to put together a reasonable picture of working practices and solvent use. The bodyshop manager realised that increased employee awareness of the importance of good solvent management would make it easier to implement further changes. He therefore trained employees in the proper use of equipment and materials, and purchased new safety equipment. Both measures improved morale and reduced absenteeism. The review of working practices highlighted problems with the bodyshop s existing high volume low pressure (HVLP) spray guns, ie poor atomisation of coatings resulting in poor finishes and extra waste. The two spray guns were therefore replaced at a cost of 800. Use of the new guns and improved spray gun techniques have yielded an estimated 10% reduction in coating use. A range of good housekeeping measures have also been introduced, at no cost, to improve working practices in the bodyshop. Common colour scheduling is widely practised, and two employees have responsibility for controlling all paint mixing. These measures have reduced waste and paint consumption significantly. A paintless dent repair system* has also been in place for three months, with two employees fully trained in this technique. This system has further reduced paint consumption. To help reduce solvent use, a new empty-for-full request system for drawing solvent out of the stores has been introduced. Previously, cans of solvent could be signed out of the stores without giving a reason. This practice tended to encourage material waste. All employees now justify their requests for solvent on the consumables sheet and use solvents only for their designated purpose. Solvents are now decanted into 500 ml plastic hand-held spray bottles instead of being poured from five-litre cans directly onto rags. This practice inevitably caused spillages, and tops were left off cans, leading to increased evaporation. Using the paintless dent repair system 50 * See Good Practice Guide (GG36) Reducing Costs in Vehicle Refinishing, available free of charge through the Environmental Helpline on

57 Cost Savings and Other Benefits The various good housekeeping measures and new equipment have allowed Yeovil Motor Company to reduce its paint and solvent use significantly. The Company estimates that paint use fell from litres in 1995/96 to about litres in 1996/97, a reduction of 66%. Consumption of virgin solvent in the period April to September 1995 was 276 kg. This fell by 15% to 233 kg between October 1996 and March 1997, even though the bodyshop s workload increased by about 20%. The paint and solvent supply data held in the new quality management system have allowed the bodyshop to report more accurate consumption figures to the local authority. Industry 18 Yeovil Motor Company estimates that the combined savings from reduced solvent and coating use are /year. The only capital cost was the purchase of two new spray guns, giving a payback period of less than two weeks. Fig 5 Change in virgin solvent use and workload The bodyshop manager is now considering installing a distillation unit for on-site solvent recovery, and is investigating the use of water-based paint systems with several suppliers. In two years, we have managed to turn the bodyshop into a competitive and efficient operation, which has obtained new franchises and insurance company approvals. The solvent reduction programme has been an integral part of this process. Mr J Hastilow, Bodyshop Manager, Yeovil Motor Company (Volvo) 51

58 19 ELECTRONICS COMPANY SIMPLIFIES PROCESSES AND REDUCES SOLVENT CONSUMPTION ZETEX plc is committed to taking practical measures to minimise the environmental impact of its production processes. The Company therefore tries to use the least damaging chemical formulations in all cases, and aims to reduce its use of organic solvents. Although this approach has not achieved major direct cost savings, the indirect savings and environmental benefits are substantial. Eliminating acetone from one particular process and minimising waste disposal costs through the return of solvent containers to its suppliers are two examples of no-cost measures to reduce operating costs. Estimated cost savings of 2 300/year Less special waste requiring disposal Immediate payback Background ZETEX plc manufactures semiconductors for a variety of markets. The Company has approximately 500 employees and an annual turnover of 34 million. The Company uses litres/year of solvents in a variety of production processes. These solvents include acetone, xylene, toluene, n-butyl acetate, isopropyl alcohol and ethoxyethanol. ZETEX does not operate a prescribed process under Part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and is not required to register under Local Air Pollution Control. Solvent Reduction Programme ZETEX corporate policy requires that the least environmentally damaging chemicals be used for each production process. The current lack of suitable alternatives for most applications means that the elimination of organic solvents from all processes is not currently possible. However, organic solvents have been replaced in several areas. The ZETEX safety officer is responsible for all chemicals, including solvents, that enter the factory, and is required to carry out research to determine the least environmentally damaging chemicals available that are effective for each process. New ideas, eg switching to an alternative solvent, are discussed with the relevant technical staff. Promising ideas are then investigated further and, where practicable, adopted. 52

59 19 One recent change involved the backfill process, where the plastic resin in the semiconductors is cured after moulding. Use of toluene alone was found to be as effective as the acetone/toluene mixture that had been used previously. Eliminating acetone from the process did not require a corresponding increase in the quantity of toluene. Solvent consumption fell significantly. ZETEX would like to eliminate the use of acetone altogether, and this change marks an important step towards achieving this aim. In the past, the disposal of empty solvent containers was expensive as these containers are treated as special waste. As a matter of policy, and to minimise waste disposal costs, ZETEX now deals only with suppliers that will take back the solvent containers for re-use. Cost Savings and Other Benefits Eliminating acetone from the backfill process has resulted in solvent use decreasing by litres/week, ie up to litres/year. This reduction has led to cost savings of approximately 1 000/year, for practically no initial capital outlay. Another benefit is that at room temperature toluene is less volatile than acetone, reducing solvent fumes in working areas. Refusing to deal with suppliers that do not take back solvent containers for re-use has enabled ZETEX to save an estimated 1 300/year through avoidance of special waste (ie contaminated containers) disposal costs. Our ongoing research programme aims to find the least environmentally damaging chemicals for use in all our processes. This naturally includes a commitment to reduce solvent use wherever possible. As suitable alternatives come to light, they are immediately adopted. Any cost savings come as an added advantage. Ms E Poulter, Safety Officer, ZETEX plc 53

60 3 CONCLUSION This Good Practice Guide has shown how 19 UK companies in different industrial sectors have achieved cost savings and other benefits by improving their solvent management. These companies succeeded by taking positive action to reduce their use of solvents and solvent-based materials in one or more of these areas: section 3 process use; cleaning and degreasing; recovery and re-use; housekeeping and training. Table 1 provides a summary of the reduction measures taken by each company. Many of these measures were simple to implement, low cost, and could be applicable to companies of all sizes. Table 2 is a list of all the relevant Environmental Technology Best Practice Programme publications offering practical information in solvent management, all of which can be obtained free of charge through the Environmental Helpline on The Environmental Helpline can also: provide further advice about the techniques described in this Guide; tell you about relevant environmental and other regulations that could affect your operations; arrange for a specialist to visit your company if you employ fewer than 250 people. 54

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