Making a simple switch to safer practices
Large aerospace manufacturer BAE Systems approached us to assess its existing process to see how to use a safer alternative to nPB, at which point we also discussed additional benefits including efficiency and cost savings. Fraser Technologies assessed their existing cleaning processes, we arranged a site visit to inspect the Solvac vapour degreasing systems at two of their facilities…
We performed a full system inspection to ascertain suitability of the systems for conversion to Opteon™ SF79®, a cleaning fluid chosen for its performance, ultra-low global warming potential (GWP), recyclability, reusability, safety, and ease of use. At the time of the change, SF79® was the leading product for this application and while SF80® has since come on to the market as a refined replacement of SF79®, both products are safe and suitable alternatives to nPB.
Before using nPB, both of BAE’s systems used Trichloroethylene (Trike) to flush pipework using long narrow tanks suited to this application. They each had a flushing rig and filtration, and originally had carbon absorption/deabsorption systems fitted. The existing Solvac systems used more than 1 metric ton of solvent per year, meaning they both required a permit from the local authority for continued use, further increasing costs for the company.
Since switching solvents, BAE has achieved the cleaning performance expected while also significantly reducing
its environmental footprint. As SF79® doesn’t have the acidity issues of nPB, BAE’s usage fell significantly because fewer clean-outs were required. And, it’s safe and easy for operators to use.
Speaking about the results of the change to SF79®, BAE’s Engineering & Governance Lead says, “The transition
from nPB to SF79® was relatively straightforward and quick, and communication was good throughout. Fraser
Technologies also had a much stronger relationship with the manufacturer than we did, which was especially helpful during the process.”
“Emissions monitoring that we undertook following the introduction of SF79® showed a reduction in volatile organic compounds to the atmosphere compared with the previous solvent. The product’s lower GWP will also contribute to reducing the environmental impact of our site operations.”
“Overall, changing to SF79® has been a positive experience and it has helped us to achieve our safety, health, and environmental objectives.”
To read the full story as to how BAE switched from using nPB and the results they have achieved since please click here.