Mining maintenance workers experience improved parts cleaning results and better health
With the help of Envirofluid, a large Australian mining company identified and mitigated a major health risk while reducing costs and improving cleaning results. In line with emerging national WHS standards it achieved this result at the top of the risk control hierarchy by substituting dangerous products with safe ones thus removing the threats entirely.
By using Purasolve Parts Cleaner SK as a substitute for the Sodium Hydroxide solution they had been using, the mine’s train maintenance centre has improved the health and comfort of their workforce. They have eliminated the health risks of the caustic blend and improved user safety and comfort.
The company has benefitted from cost savings in the ability to extend the life of the cleaning solution significantly, through the 0.1 micron filtering ability and extended recyclability. They also achieved significant cost savings in reduced power consumption from isolating the heating elements.
The Purasolve Parts Cleaner has improved sustainability at the train servicing operations centre at absolutely no cost to the company. It has rather come at a cost saving to the company with improved cleaning results, reduced costs, and improved worker health, safety and comfort.
& how we got there …
The mining company operates 13 trains a day, each carrying 32,880 tonnes of iron ore. Its rail network is the fastest and heaviest haul line in the world with a 40 tonne axle load capacity. The fleet of 45 locomotives are critical to the mines operations and are cared for at internal rail maintenance and support centre yards.
The parts cleaning regime employed used a highly toxic, caustic Sodium Hydroxide based fluid for cleaning and maintenance of gear casings and other parts, in a large 800 litre agitating immersion table type parts washer.
The water based caustic fluid also meant that oils and greases would float at the top caused redepositing of some oily contaminants on cleaned parts as the parts table lifted the parts out after each cleaning cycle.
The Sodium Hydroxide solution also requires heating resulting in a significant added cost due to power being provided by generator.
How do you efficiently clean greasy and dirty train parts effectively while removing risk to workers, reducing cost to the company, and improving cleaning results?
Sodium Hydroxide is an extremely corrosive caustic chemical which liberates flammable hydrogen gas when in contact with metals, and can cause severe skin burns and eye damage.
Main Routes of Exposure of Sodium Hydroxide is through skin and eye contact. Some of the potential known health effects of Sodium Hydroxide include:
- Skin Contact: Corrosive. Contact can cause pain, redness, burns, and blistering. Permanent scarring can result. A severe exposure can cause death. Burns may not be immediately painful; onset of pain may be delayed minutes to hours.
- Eye Contact: Corrosive. Contact causes severe burns with redness, swelling, pain and blurred vision. Permanent damage including blindness can result.
- Inhalation: Not expected to be an inhalation hazard unless it becomes an airborne dust or mist. Can cause severe irritation of the nose and throat.
- Ingestion: Can burn the lips, tongue, throat and stomach. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhoea. Can cause death.
The Solution: purasolve Parts Cleaner SK
Purasolve Parts Cleaner SK was substituted for the Sodium Hydroxide.
Purasolve Parts Cleaner SK is a powerful, fully recyclable, parts cleaning safety solvent developed for heavy grease and grime removal applications in mining and heavy industry. It is not classified as a dangerous good and has a high flash point and low vapour pressure.
Purasolve Parts Cleaner SK is filterable to 0.1 micron through the simple purasolve 2 stage filter kit which can retro fit to the side of any parts cleaning unit, or is incorporated in to the purasolve Parts Cleaning units.
A Purasolve Retro Fit kit was fitted to the side of the existing Parts Cleaning Unit in line with the existing centrifugal filter, to filter the Purasolve Parts Cleaner SK. The filter removes grease and oil during the cleaning cycle and did not re-deposit the grease and oil on to the parts.
The Cleaning results were improved, as was worker health due to the user friendliness of the Purasolve Safety Solvent. The product life is significantly extended with the filter kit, reducing the cost of cleaning product to the company.
The heating elements were able to be isolated as they were not required for effective cleaning with the Purasolve Parts Cleaner SK. This has saved the company thousands of dollars due to power being sourced from the onsite generators.