Janicki workers apply a “peel ply” to a tool surface before
infusing the part with resin.
Janicki Industries, a composite fabrication company, scored a triple win on the preventing pollution (P2) scoreboard in 2013. They cut their dangerous waste by 20,000 pounds, saving $50,000 in the process, and improving their employees’ working conditions!
“It’s a lot cleaner environment for employees,” said Darren Wilson, Janicki’s Environmental Health and Safety Officer.
Janicki 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.
Lower styrene emissions from process changesJanicki lowered their styrene emissions at the Sedro-Woolley shop by switching to low-pressure impingement-spray equipment for resin.
Previously they 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 wasted mist.
The vacuum-infusion system they use for some products also helps the air quality. Workers lay the carbon-fiber fabric on the template, then bag and seal the entire item. A vacuum pump sucks epoxy resin into the bag and throughout the fabric. The only emission is the exhaust from the vacuum pump.
“It looks like a shop where they’re [just] 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 weekWorkers 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.
Special orders can create more wasteThe company also reduced their hazardous waste by instituting a better system for buying and storing materials. Janicki is a custom shop, where customers set the specifications. Each job is a special order and may use special supplies. They frequently had to dispose of off-specification materials. The materials also have a shelf life and may expire before the company can use them up. This added to the company’s dangerous waste. Their new system is “still a work in progress,” according to Wilson, but it is already helping the company cut back on the amount of dangerous waste they create.
Impressive? Yes, and you can find more inspiring stories on Ecology’s Pollution Prevention Success Stories web pages.
Could your business benefit from a visit with our Toxics Reduction staff? They can help with your pollution prevention (P2) efforts. Contact your regional office.