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NYS Governor's Awards for Pollution Prevention - Carrier Corporation

Carrier Corporation, Syracuse


Carrier Corporation employs 4100 people at its Thompson Road and Chrysler Drive facilities in Dewitt, NY. At these facilities, Carrier manufactures a variety of refrigeration machinery that require coatings to resist a broad range of atmospheric conditions, many of them extremely harsh and demanding. Past manufacturing processes used a variety of solvent-based coatings applied by operators with spray guns in enclosed paint booths. In 1991, a multi-disciplined, multi-organizational team began to investigate ways to eliminate coatings with high levels of volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants while simultaneously improving coating quality.

Methodologies and Procedures


Any substantial change in manufacturing processes required the cooperation of experts from a large cross-section of the corporation. Representatives from manufacturing, quality, environmental health and safety, research and development, and purchasing all played key roles in implementing the changes required while following stringent review, testing, documentation and approval procedures.

Paint Substitutions

Working with paint vendors, coatings were reformulated to use lower amounts of and less toxic solvents, or were replaced with water-based coating systems. Some applications required that cleaning processes that preceded the coating operation be revised, resulting in solvent cleaners being replaced by aqueous detergents. Condenser coil coating were previously applied by dipping coils in a tank filled with a methyl ethyl ketone based coating was replaced by an electrostatic coating process that included an alkaline washer preparation. A solvent-based paint used for the priming and finish coating of chillers was replaced with a water-borne epoxy primer and topcoat system.

Process/Technology Change

Where substitutions were ineffective, new coating technologies were used to achieve the emissions reductions and coating quality required. The installation of an automated electrostatic/powder paint system that included a modified surface preparation process replaced the use of hand spray guns to apply solvent-based paints to the compressors. Electrostatic paint technology coupled with advanced surface preparation and cleaning processes were installed in two manufacturing facilities, eliminating air emissions while automating these coating processes. Water-based paint systems required a new mild phosphoric acid steam-cleaning process to remove contaminants and to prepare the steel substrate for improved paint adhesion. This process introduced Statistical Process Control practices to monitor the efficiency of cleaning. These practices measure the effectiveness of the new cleaning operation against a benchmark established for solvent cleaning. By maintaining a minimum coating thickness and consistency of process quality, paint quality improved.


From 1991 to 1996, the facility realized a reduction in volatile organic compound emissions (toluene, xylene, 1,1,1- trichloroethane and methyl ethyl ketone) of 212,570 pounds for that period.

From 1991 to 1996, the facility realized a reduction in hazardous air pollutant emissions of 95,510 pounds for that period.

The new electrostatic coating operation Improved corrosion resistance of coatings between 300 and 400 percent, while reducing employee exposure to hazardous materials in application and material handling.

From 1991 to 1996, hazardous waste associated with coating process was reduced by 81 tons.

Annual waste disposal costs associated with coating processes were reduced $200,000.

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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