MRO Magazine

Cleaning up tools … and the environment

Although global warming can cast a pall of gloom over most discussions of the topic, a Canadian innovation is helping to do its part for the environment when it comes to industrial cleaning.


September 1, 2010
By MRO Magazine

Although global warming can cast a pall of gloom over most discussions of the topic, a Canadian innovation is helping to do its part for the environment when it comes to industrial cleaning.

Companies involved in the research process for Bio-Circle knew that most manufacturing, processing and maintenance operations regularly require clean tools and parts. And their scientists also knew that the bioremediation process had been instrumental in helping, microscopically, to gobble up huge, impossibly messy oil spills.

Bio-Circle researchers discovered a means of harnessing the microscopic life forms that can literally digest contaminants and convert them to simple, clean, H2O with negligible traces of CO2. The result is clean tools or parts. And the residue? It’s virtually plain water, slightly warmed, and having a pleasant, slight scent of green apples.

More than 50,000 parts washers operate across this country each day, according to industry estimates. And, over 95% of the workers in these operations historically have used acrid-smelling, skin-irritating, toxic solvents to clean parts and tools.

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Television personality and car/motorcycle aficionado Jay Leno, who also is the operator of Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage, where he restores his growing antique car collection, understands the importance of parts cleaning while being aware of environmental concerns.

“The motto we try to have here at the garage is ‘do no harm’. We like restoring cars and we like cleaning parts and we try to do it in as green a way as possible. And with that in mind, I try to find parts cleaners and tools that don’t harm the environment. And I heard about this parts cleaner and I thought I would investigate it.

“Normally when I was a kid, we’d clean parts and then the hands would be argh! — they would get all white and gnarly — and then you’d have to wash them and use gloves. You don’t have to do that with this.

“And this doesn’t wash down the drain. With my old parts cleaner, a guy would come every three weeks and change the solvent. The secret is in the solution. It’s dirty, it sits in this thing overnight and it actually cleans itself. Wow! That’s pretty good. Very cool!”

An estimated 250,000 Canadians use toxic solvents every day. And the environmental damage from this is spreading. Industry estimates suggest that the toxic effluent released can amount to approximately 35,000 tons of used solvent being hauled out annually, with approximately 4,000 tons of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) evaporating into the atmosphere.

So when it comes to cleaning dirty, greasy tools and parts, the good news is the bio-remediation microscopic process — patented worldwide by Bio-Circle — drops the dangerous effluent numbers to virtually zero.

Bio-Circle is a wholly-owned division of Montreal-based Walter, a privately held Canadian company that has been servicing the metal fabricating and related industries in the Americas and Europe for over 50 years. Its quest for product improvements continues at a microscopic level in associated research laboratories in Europe, the USA and at the company’s own private lab and shipping centre in Pointe Claire, QC.

For more information, visit the website at www.biocircle.com.


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