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NYS Governor's Awards for Pollution Prevention - ITT Automotive-Fluid Handling

ITT Automotive-Fluid Handling Systems, RMF Plant, Rochester


ITT Automotive-Fluid Handling Systems employs 162 employees at their plant in the Town of Gates. Originally founded as Rochester Machine Form, the company became part of ITT in 1990. Using purchased aluminum tubing, ITT fabricates parts for automotive air conditioning and condenser units. General Motors is the primary customer, with most shipments going to the Delphi Thermal plant in Lockport, New York. ITT also supplies GM plants in France and Canada as well as Ford and Saturn. In 1996 ITT entered the Japanese market with a new product line.

Methodologies and Procedures

In 1989, it was recognized that changes would have to be made to reduce emissions of hazardous waste into the atmosphere and the waste water stream to protect the health and safety of the employees and community.

At that time, parts in process were cleaned using 1,1,1-trichloroethane and/or acid wash tanks. (The requirements of the Montreal Protocol and the Clean Air Act were met two years prior to the scheduled timetables.) The goal was to totally eliminate the use of chloroflourocarbons (CFCs) from the vapor degreasing process and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the wash process.

The RFM plant would implement a two-pronged plan which would: eliminate the use of 1,1,1-trichloroethane, replacing it with an aqueous wash system using environmentally friendly soap and eliminate acid wash lines by changing to flamebrazing technology as a replacement for salt bath brazing. ITT provided the capital support for the plant's effort by funding more than $220,000 of aqueous wash equipment and more than $400,000 for improved braze equipment processes.

In the case of replacing the use of 1,1,1-trichloroethane with an aqueous wash system, the wash process time doubled from 5 to 10 minutes. In addition, the parts now had to be processed through a drying operation. The RFM plant purchasing and engineering departments worked with the suppliers to produce pre-cleaned raw material, brazeable and evaporative oils. Another major improvement was the change to plastic tooling so that machines run without the need of oil to bend parts. The change from salt bath brazing to flamebrazing with an ultrasonic rinse eliminated the use of acid lines to clean parts brazed with the old salt bath processes. With the use of flamebraze equipment and water rinse stations to remove flux, process water met Monroe County pH discharge requirements without the addition of chemicals to neutralize.

Through process changes and with the help and cooperation of their customers, vendors, management and the hourly production staff, ITT met their goals. In 1994, the use of 1,1,1-trichloroethane ceased. In 1996, the last acid wash line was eliminated. In 1997, the RFM plant was classified as a conditionally exempt generator of industrial waste. This eliminates many of the filing requirements under SARA and ends this phase of the RFM plant's environmental improvement activities.


  • Eliminated the release of over 700,000 pounds of chloroethane emissions.
  • Eliminated over 500 tons of waste water emissions.
  • Employees are no longer subjected to hazardous chemicals and hazardous waste in their working environment.
  • By eliminating the usage of CFC and VOC processes, the following savings are realized annually:

    Hazardous waste removal of 1,1,1-trichloroethane $12,586
    Landfill $5,000
    Utilities savings $98,019
    Trichloroethane usage $99,360
    Direct labor $260,000
    Indirect labor $26,728
    Operating supplies $143,956
    Total Savings $645,649

  • The payback period for the project was 1.68 years.

Any comments or questions?
Contact us at: 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-1750;
518-402-9469 (phone); 518-402-9168 (fax)

This page was last modified March 8, 1999

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