Acetone Elimination: A sustainable solution for mitigating EHS risk at workplace
At LM Wind Power, safety is our priority. We believe Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) is a shared responsibility and a way to improve our business.
A work environment, free from injuries and accidents, attracts employees, ensures higher productivity and is essential for the well-being of employers and employees alike.
This commitment to ensuring safety drove our efforts in 2021 to eliminate the use of acetone at all manufacturing facilities, test facilities, laboratories, and service departments worldwide.
While acetone is widely used as an effective chemical solvent, it is highly flammable and could lead to health issues.
“Acetone has excellent cleaning performance and is used during various stages of the blade production process. However, its low flash point and effects to the nervous system was a concern from an EHS perspective,” explains Project Manager Jacob Boutrup from the EHS team, who spearheaded the program that included members from various functions like supply chain, machine safety, and engineering.
He adds: “After careful research and evaluation with favorable outcomes, dibasic ester (DBE), a non-flammable, readily biodegradable, and non-corrosive chemical has been selected as a replacement and a full-scale roll-out followed across the company. Now, acetone is fully substituted and the environment in our facilities has improved significantly.”
Step-by-step approach to sunset acetone usage:
The process of acetone elimination followed a concerted effort from the EHS team along with a project group with members from across the globe and was backed strongly by the top leadership.
Since this chemical was used globally and had become engrained in the manufacturing processes, it was imperative to address this challenge from an organizational perspective.
Our teams worked in cohesion on implementing steps to eliminate the potential hazard, rather than control it. They identified the hurdles associated with achieving this target, came up with a comprehensive plan for replacement of acetone and qualifying the substitute chemical. Once DBE was agreed upon as the replacement after evaluating various parameters like cost, global availability, lead time, and sourcing, the team moved to planning a complete rollout across the facilities.
“It was a joint effort and massive undertaking, but together we set a goal, mapped our path, and achieved a long-term sustainable solution to reduce EHS risk,” says Project Director Neil Dhiman. “We are proud of our process and proud of the global impact it will have for our business and for our people.”
Traditionally, acetone has been the preferred chemical agent for cleaning certain equipment used in the manufacturing process. However, it is highly flammable and could lead to health issues. At LM Wind Power, dibasic ester, a non-flammable, readily biodegradable, and non-corrosive chemical has been selected as a replacement, followed by a full-scale roll-out across the company.