The oil mist collector required an air emission permit and was the worst source of air pollution from the plant. Additionally, the used oil had to be treated and eventually disposed as a non-renewable resource.
Because of the heat generated in the grinding operation and the flammability of the oil mist, fire protection was required for both the grinders and the mist collector. During a six month period three fires had occurred, two involving ignition of oil vapors in the exhaust ducts and mist collector. The explosive force caused extensive damage to the mist collector and potentially endangered employees by throwing mist collector parts a distance of thirty feet.
Each fire incident also necessitated complete changeout and disposal of the lubricating oil because it became contaminated with the carbon dioxide and water used to extinguish the fires. Cleaning of the fire incident area and replacement of the lubricating oil required an average of 16 hours of non-production time after each incident.
Ford Motor Company responded not only to employee safety concerns but also to environmental concerns, with a $2,600,000 capital appropriation project, replacing six XLO grinding machines with five new CNC Whirling Machines from Leistritz.
The environmental benefits of the project affect two major areas: air pollution reduction, and waste disposal reduction. Because whirling is a dry cutting process, the use of coolant and lubricating oil, as well as, a flammable oil mist, has been eliminated, terminating particle emissions of approximately 18 tons per year.
With that, the elimination of oil waste disposal was reduced by about 50,000 gallons of used oil per year. The change in the machining process produced less chip waste, and chips are now recycled, further reducing the annual waste disposal quantity by 75% (1,000 cubic yard reduction).
By changing this operation to Leistritz Whirling technology, a dry machining process, the risk of fire and explosive ignition of combustibles has been eliminated. In addition, the number of occupational exposures were reduced, and the safety of the workplace was greatly improved.
Installation of the five
Ford Machines at Leistritz Assembly Plant