Removing IAQ Risks for Bottom-Line Results
Innovative Clean Air Solution Removes Costly Hexavalent Chromium Threats for Global Aerospace Manufacturer
From respiratory irritations to lung cancer, hexavalent chromium poses serious health and productivity risks for aerospace and defense manufacturer workers during sanding, painting, and other manufacturing and refurbishing tasks involving aluminum aircraft components.
To mitigate hexavalent chromium risks, a global aerospace manufacturer approached Duroair seeking a cost-effective solution to isolate and capture toxic hex chromate particles in their new hangar facility for sanding and painting aircraft.
The clean air solution not only had to safeguard their employees, it needed to address their EPA compliance challenges, including:
- EPA required venting “stacks” in new facilities where employees are exposed to hexavalent chromium particulates
- Venting requirements for air conditioning and heating that would significantly drive up the manufacturer’s air makeup costs
- EPA limits on the amount of hexavalent chromium exposure per each eight-hour shift and the amount of particles that can be vented outside – which impacts the number of aircraft manufacturing tasks per shift
The manufacturer wanted additional work teams to be able to work in the same building during aircraft sanding and painting to increase production capacity – without running afoul of EPA regulations.
For the new 15,000 square foot hangar, Duroair engineered a modular industrial air filtration system paired with a retractable enclosure. The 90,000 CFM clean air solution enabled workers to perform sanding and painting tasks inside the same enclosure, thanks to Duroair’s patented six-stage filtration technology.
The multi-stage air filtration works by:
- Capturing hexavalent chromium particulates produced by sanding or grinding in the first three stages of filtration
- Capturing gaseous particulates produced by painting, via redundant carbon and UV-light filtering in the final three stages
- Isolating and capturing +99% of the particles generated from both processes, including hexavalent chromium
To engineer this custom clean air solution, Duroair conducted extensive spray testing using paints and primers containing large amounts of hexavalent chromium. The engineering team also evaluated how hex chromates were first released during sanding, grinding, and other priming processes.
Multiple redundant tests were conducted to assess filtration limits, and Duroair used third party monitoring to ensure no hexavalent chromium particles were escaping the filter box. Tests proved there were no hex chromates around the enclosure and none were found inside the building.
After the test results were reviewed by the manufacturer’s area fire department, health, and safety boards, the new hangar facility was approved for construction – without the expensive “stacks” normally needed to vent hexavalent chromium particles outside of the building.
The aerospace manufacturer has increased productivity from additional teams now able to disassemble aircraft for repairs, at the same time other teams are sanding and painting. Processes that produce hexavalent chromium are now safely isolated inside the flexible clean air enclosure.
The manufacturer is no longer limited by the EPA in the amount of paints, coatings, and primers containing hexavalent chromium they can store and use inside the hangar. They’ve significantly reduced their air makeup costs, thanks to the Duroair solution that recirculates safe clean air back into the facility.
Additionally, the manufacturer has increased their production schedule to take on more tasks, such as:
- Aircraft painting and refurbishing
- Wing panel replacements
- Aircraft component painting
- Engine repair preparation
- Leading wing edge repairs
Most importantly, this clean air investment is protecting the aerospace manufacturer’s most valuable assets – their employees – and preventing the hex chromate risks from compromising their bottom line.
Duroair’s modular industrial air filtration solutions go beyond NESHAP 319 standards to capture +99% of hexavalent particulates. We can customize a clean air solution to safeguarding your valued employees while reducing your compliance and capital expense burdens.
Contact our industrial clean air experts today for a free consultation on how to mitigate hexavalent chromium risks while improving operations.