Monitoring and analysis of solvent emissions from metal cleaning processes for practical process improvement.

Research paper by Emi E Kikuchi, Yasunori Y Kikuchi, Masahiko M Hirao

Indexed on: 22 Dec '11Published on: 22 Dec '11Published in: The Annals of occupational hygiene


Industrial cleaning processes are a major source of emissions of chlorinated organic solvents in Japan. Solvent emission mechanisms from metal cleaning processes were analysed to support process improvement aimed at emission reductions.The amounts of solvents directly emitted from a washing machine and solvents taken out by metal parts to be cleaned were measured in laboratory experiments using an industrial washing machine. Direct emissions to a local ventilation system and to the workplace were analysed, while several process conditions were changed. The drying rate of solvents on surfaces was analysed for seven metal parts to clarify the effects of their materials and shape.The results for direct solvent emissions show that solvents emitted because of the movement of metal parts inside a washing machine can be mainly exhausted through a local ventilation system, while the operation of an ultrasonic device can increase solvent diffusion to the workplace. Lowering the cooling water temperature can be effective in avoiding such solvent diffusion to the workplace. The results also show that the heat capacity and shape complexity of metal parts can affect the drying rate of solvents on their surfaces.Analysis of the results shows the effectiveness of using a local ventilation system and cooling pipes in controlling solvent emissions for several work tasks. The minimum time required to dry all solvents on the surface of metal parts was also estimated. Analyses of the emission mechanisms in this study clarified the major factors in solvent emissions and the effectiveness of process modifications for emission reductions. The findings are applicable to practical process improvement aimed at emission reductions in cleaning sites.