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NYS Governor's Awards for Pollution Prevention - Schlegel Corporation

Schlegel Corporation, Rochester

Background

Schlegel Corporation located in Rochester employs approximately 470 employees and manufactures urethane foam sealing devices for the building products industry and electromagnetic interference shielding devices for the electronics industry. Stricter regulatory controls and air emissions and exposure to chemicals in the workplace prompted Schlegel to eliminate the use of methylene chloride which was used for flushing chemical process lines and switch to a terpene-based cleaner.

Methodologies and Procedures

Cleaning of the urethane foam manufacturing process lines was accomplished using methylene chloride which was also used extensively to clean metal tooling associated with the manufacture of urethane foam.

The chemical line flushing process consisted of back-flushing methylene chloride to remove any remaining traces of chemical left in the lines. Methylene chloride was also very effective at dissolving any urethane foam to prevent the chemical lines from clogging.

After several years of trials and limited success, a new formulation referred to as Tarksol (a terpene-based chemical mixture) was developed. Its benefits include a very low vapor pressure, low toxicity and fewer health concerns. The use of Tarksol allowed the employees to flush down longer, which allows better chemical process line cleaning while still providing for less employee exposure. The use of Tarksol has not resulted in any negative impacts on product quality or additional down time associated with chemical process line cleaning. Process safety has also improved and the long term health issue associated with methylene chloride has been eliminated. Additionally, 40,000 pound of annual fugitive air emissions of methylene chloride have been eliminated.

Benefits

Methylene chloride emissions were reduced 100 percent or 40,000 pounds a year.

Hazardous waste was reduced by 5.5 tons or 70 percent.

Disposal costs were reduced by $8,500 or 25 percent.

Cost savings associated with reduced regulatory requirements including Clean Air Act requirements were $50,000 initially and $10,000 annually thereafter.

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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