LCP Tech Inc

Environmentally Friendly Technologies

Specialty Cleaners

DEVELOPMENT OF RECYCLABLE CLEANERS

 

LCP Tech specializes in developing environmentally friendly cost effective cleaners for any industrial application. These cleaners are recyclable and operate at room temperature saving significant energy consumption in many cases. Using the latest filtration technology along with chemistries that prevent fouling and control microbial activity, these cleaners provide the highest quality cleaning with significant cost savings. See our Ford success story below.

Green Cleaning – Means Saving Money …..                                            and the Environment

A Manufacturing facility discovers a new chemical and process for their parts washing system that reduces costs estimated at over a half a million dollars per year.

Ford Motor Sharonville Plant has always been environmentally conscious and had invested in a sophisticated cleaner recycling system to clean their parts.  This plant produces automotive transmissions and transmission parts. Quality means no transmission failure to the end consumer.  That means shipping parts with little oil and metal particulate, proper rust inhibitor all measured in less than 1 mg per part.  Cleaning those parts in a cost effective environmentally friendly process has been a continuous mission at this Ford Pl ant.

That mission, and the evolution of their cleaner recycling investment, caused Ford Motor Sharonville to innovate beyond the norm with seemingly impossible questions like:

-          How can we conserve energy the 24/7 use of energy in cleaning parts?

-          How can we eliminate the need for bag filtration?

-          How can we improve the worker health and safety?

-          How can we avoid repeated discharging of cleaner fluid?

Ford teamed with Research specialists from LCP Tech Inc and Ransohoff, to design and implement improvements to the cleaning process that  is achieving cost effective benefits for all of these questions.

The Former Aqueous Washing Operation

The parts washing system, which operates 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, cleans 30,000 parts per day.  The manufacturing process upstream includes grinding, machining, heat treating, broaching, burnishing and laser welding.   When the part enters the washing process it has a mixture of oils (broaching, soluble, and light mineral oil) and metal particulate. 

The centralized parts washing system maintains and supplies cleaning fluid to 17 individual washers.  This system, designed and implemented by Ransohoff includes technologies of ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis (RO), centralized heating and bag filtration using indexing media filters at 200 microns.  The system is maintained by one pipe fitter per shift and supported by process engineering. 

The centralized system was cleaned twice a year during normal plant maintenance with a “new charge” of fluids.  The 12,000 gallons of fluid is heated continuously to 140 degrees F. and is supported by a        10 gallons/min reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration system with a filter canister containing 12 individual filtration bags  

Project Improvement Approach

Because of the significant investment for this integrated system, a key constraint of the project team was to use the existing infrastructure with little or no additional capital cost.  Additionally, testing could not affect the quality of the parts shipped during the project.

 Starting with simple question, the team attempted to solve three of the highest user intervention activities and created solutions in a four phase approach:

1.       Can the Ultrafiltration cleaning cycle be extended from every three days?

2.       Why are bag filters being changed every 3 hours?

3.       Can we reduce the frequency and volume of cleaning fluid additions?

4.       Can we eliminate the heat necessary to control the growth of bacteria?

 “Improving Ultra Filtration” – Phase 1

The least disruptive method of improving filtration came from changing the chemistry of the base cleaning fluid – Evercycle.  Not all cleaning fluids are alike – and Ransohoff’s Evercyle has proven this in their integrated cleaning systems nationwide.  A new formulation Evercycle NC included a non-toxic additive called Nanocleanse®-SRB  from  LCP Tech Inc.  (www.lcptech.com)  Designed to eliminate odor and control anaerobic bacteria, this patent pending additive was the answer to improving the Ultra Filtration cycle.  The immediate benefit of Evercycle NC was to reduce the cleaning cycle of the Ultrafiltration system from every 3 days to every 15 days and bag filter changes reduced from 9 times per day to 5 times per day. 

 “Let the Bag Filter do its job” – Phase 2

Bag filters were designed to capture oil and metal particulate, and instead every 3 hours these horrible smelling bags were being clogged with bacteria – both aerobic and anaerobic.  Nanocleanse®-SRB   in Evercycle NC was the answer to the anaerobic bacteria.  But how could the aerobic bacteria be controlled?  The aerobic bacteria was being controlled at Ford by maintaining a 24/7 operating temperature above 140F. LCP Tech Inc. proposed a method of reducing the aerobic bacteria count in the cleaning tank by using the ozone based NanoCleanse®-MCS Microbial Control System.  Within two months the UltraFiltration cleaning cycle was extended from 15 days to 25 days and the bag filter changes were reduced to one bag change every three days - Finally the Bag Filter was doing the job it was originally designed to do, filtering particulate not bacteria.

 “Conserving and Extending the life of Cleaning Fluid” – Phase 3

The heavy build-up of black sludge (microbial slime layers) caused by bacteria in the bottom of the central heating system must be removed every 6 months to prevent the fire tube (heating elements) from burning out.  So every 6 months the entire 12000 gallon system was discharged and the black sludge removed from the bottom of the tank.  Historically there were times when the fluid was discharged within 3 months of cleaning.  With a year use of Nanocleanse®-SRB in Evercycle, the volume of slime layers at the bottom of the tank were reduced over 50%.  With the addition of the NanoCleanse®-MCS,  the mandatory 6 month cleanout was extended to one year and the sludge volume was reduced by over 75%.  Bi-annual discharge of the cleaning tank was now optional.

"The Homerun – Saving Energy” - Phase 4

Ford was spending over $450,000 annually to maintain operating temperature of the central system at 140F 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to prevent bacteria growth.  Ford heats the tank with a 5,000,000 BTU/hr gas heater. Now that bacteria was under control using new chemistry Nanocleanse®-SRB , proper filtration, and NanoCleanse®-MCS , Ford could reduce the temperature.  In fact in late July 2009, Ford reduced the temperature from 140F to ambient temperatures with no impact on the cleaning and drying process.

Results - “Small incremental costs yields Large Yearly Savings”

With capital costs below $19,000, no infrastructure change, and no additional worker maintenance time, the realized cost savings were beyond our expectations.  [see Figure 1]. The biggest cost saving items are energy consumption ($450,000.00) and the filter bag savings ($353,000.00). These direct costs were eliminated.

But the intangibles are all to the benefit of the environment and workers - odor control, extended cleaner use, and the lower energy usage.  And the entire four phases were performed without interruption to production and degradation of quality specifications.

Cost Savings at Ford

* Does not include savings from quality improvements

** No Quality degradation. Quality Improvements were not estimated

Figure 1- Cost Savings 

 

Conclusions –“Does this project sound too good to be true?”

What makes a project like this successful?  A dedicated team at all levels to the principles of sustainable environmental improvements at no cost.  Several factors were critical to the project’s success:

-          Match Process need to Technology  -  To often a costly technology is used to solve both a complex and simple problem.  We matched each process to the correct technology.  Let the paper filter bags perform as designed; Let the Ultrafiltration eliminate only what it was designed for; Let the heat be used only for drying.

-          Use Sustainable Green Technology Nanocleanse®-SRB was the “drop in” technology that assisted each point in the filtration process.  It can be a tank side additive or in the case of this study, incorporated into the cleaner formulation. Its non-toxic feature and continuous use (verses no additives or biocide additives) provided a consistent and sustainable cleaner mixture.

-          Microbial Control- The use of NanoCleanse®-MCS Microbial Control System created additional benefits in terms of providing a consistent and sustainable cleaner mixture. Controlling aerobic bacteria created significantly less fouling of the ultrafilter and the 200 um bags. The negative effect of microbial growth in process cleaning fluids is significant. www.microbialcontrol.com

 

Environmentally friendly solutions to complex problems can be researched, designed and implemented with limited resources. LCP Tech Inc can deliver outstanding long term continuous benefits to extend your cleaner life and increase your part quality.  -  What’s next for our team – moving upstream to solve the root of the problem – coolant!