Protects workers, cuts waste, and saves $50,000
Janicki Industries, a composite fabrication company, saved $50,000 in 2013 by cutting their dangerous waste by 20,000 pounds. Besides the dollar savings, Janicki’s pollution prevention efforts have also made for a safer workplace.
The company produces large-scale, high-precision molds and prototypes in its Hamilton and Sedro-Woolley facilities. They make templates in the Sedro-Woolley shop and use those templates to produce final products from carbon fiber fabric and resin at the Hamilton shop.
Janicki workers apply a “peel ply” material
to a tool surface
before infusing the part
The company’s revised
cesses reduce resin emissions and make
for a healthier
Lower styrene emissions from process changes
Janicki lowered their styrene emissions at the Sedro-Woolley shop by switching to low-pressure impingement spray equipment for resin. The old process used high pressure and a single nozzle for spraying.
That pressure wasted material because it created an atomized “mist” of resin around the spray stream. Now, two nozzles using lower pressure “impinge” the spray streams into each other. This creates a “flow coat” without the mist.
“It’s a lot cleaner environment for employees,” said Darren Wilson, Janicki’s Environmental Health and Safety Officer.
Another improvement is the vacuum infusion system used for some products. Workers lay the fabric on the template, then bag and seal the entire item. A vacuum pump sucks epoxy resin into the bag and throughout the carbon fiber fabric. The only emission is the exhaust from the vacuum pump.
“It looks like a shop where they’re putting tools together. You’d hardly notice that they’re using resins,” said Wilson.
Shop towels dropped from two drums per day to one drum per week
Workers use hundreds of shop towels for cleaning the tools and products. At one time Janicki was filling two 55-gallon drums with solvent-soaked disposable rags every day. This was all dangerous waste they had to manage and dispose of at considerable cost. Switching to reusable rags has cut the waste to one drum per week. An industrial laundry cleans and returns the reusable rags.
Janicki worker uses a cotton rag to apply
sealer to small part.
Reduced waste by controlling inventory
The company also reduced their dangerous waste by instituting a better system for buying and storing materials. Janicki is a custom shop. The customers dictate specifications for each job. Each job is a special order and may use special supplies. They found they had to dispose of materials that were off-specification or had expired, which added to their dangerous waste amounts. Their new system is “still a work in progress” according to Wilson, but is already helping the company reduce its dangerous waste.