On any given day, our team is managing hundreds of projects at customer sites across the U.S. and Canada, ranging from complex industrial water and cleaning jobs, to facilities management and environmental services projects. While our business and capabilities have grown and changed over the years, our motivation has always remained constant: provide the very best service and technology to meet even the most challenging customer needs. In some instances, living that mantra means pushing ourselves beyond the call of duty – finding ingenious solutions to unanticipated customer problems.
Our Facility & Environmental Management (FEM) division recently launched a new internal program designed to improve our overall customer service, safety and efficiency processes called our Best Practices Guides. Devised during our regular safety committee meeting, our team uses real customer scenarios to track some of our unique success stories/safety challenges in order to utilize them when similar client needs arise. Creating an internal repository of such guidelines helps us streamline our problem-solving process and provides our customers with access to our very best solutions.
The following Best Practice Guides are from real customer jobs where one small change opened up a world of time and cost savings and alleviated safety concerns.
Time Savings Evacuator
An automotive assembly facility was having issues managing the total engine drainage time during the recycling process. Using the previous operating procedure, all engines had to be hoisted over a containment pallet and the plug had to be removed to drain all fluids prior to recycling the scrap parts. This process required lifting the equipment up, removing the plug, setting it on the containment pallet, and waiting about 30 minutes per engine for the draining process. The engines would then be dumped into the non-ferrous container one at a time. Total time spent was about one hour per engine/transmission. To help simplify this process, MPW’s team determined that using a fluid evacuator could eliminate the lifting phase and speed up the draining process. The fluid evacuator hose is inserted into the dip stick tube and with vacuum pressure the fluids are sucked out of the oil pan. In the case of transmissions, a plug bolt is removed, and the hose is inserted into the body of the transmission to evacuate all the automatic transmission fluid. Using the fluid evacuator, the units could be drained in their dunnage without having to lift each piece. Once the fluids are evacuated, the whole rack can be dumped at once, saving approximately one hour per unit in process time.
Safety Prevention – Forklift Lifting Beam and Chain
While conducting a safety audit for an environmental recycling center, an MPW team member asked about the company’s process for lifting and draining scrap transmissions and engines. The technician indicated that their previous waste management partner would lift the transmission with a chain that was wrapped around a forklift fork – or a process known as “free rigging.” As free rigging is not an approved or safe practice, MPW’s FEM team recommended using a lifting beam that could be easily attached and removed from the forklifts to safely move the engines and transmissions from their dunnage for the purposes of scrapping them. When utilized properly with the chain sling, this process is safe and in compliance with regulations and safe work practices.
Cost Savings – Hole Saw for OCC Removal on Pallets
MPW’s team was operating at a recycling site when hundreds of 30-inch by 32-inch plywood pallets arrived. Each pallet held Old Corrugated Cardboard (OCC) sheets with tabs, which were secured with a Phillips screw and washer. Unfortunately, the screws were very difficult to remove with an automatic drill due to the poor metal quality, angle on the screw, and damage of the screw head from assembly. Originally, the standard operation for removing the OCC was to use a box cutter, removing only the four tabs on the side. This left MPW with stackable pallets, but because there was still OCC remaining, MPW’s pallet recycler considered the components contaminated. Upon discussing the situation with management, MPW decided to test a procedure to remove the OCC while keeping the hard-to-remove screws and washers in place. Typically, OCC is easily cut using a hole saw, so a drill and a hole saw were used to test the removal of the OCC. The team determined that a 1 ¼ -inch hole saw bit fit over the 1-inch washer and with a quick burst of the drill, the OCC can be lifted free.
Taking this approach reduced the amount of contamination from 960 square inches to less than 8 square inches or 99.2 percent reduction of contamination. There is also a cost savings on labor and by reclaiming OCC that would have been scrapped, as the material can be ported back into a marketable value stream.
Safety Prevention – Mirror Installation on Baler and Compactor
During a safety audit at an automotive assembly facility, MPW identified a major safety challenge with the company’s baler and compactor equipment. Due to the placement of the control panels for the tippers that were added to the compactor and baler, operators did not have a clear sight line to the back of the equipment, making it difficult to see whether there were any obstructions or other workers in the area. MPW’s team suggested placing mirrors above or near the hoppers so the operator could safely operate the equipment from the control panel. Before making this adjustment, verbal confirmation was needed to operate the equipment, requiring two people in the area at all times. By adding mirrors, only one associate is needed to safely operate the tippers and base equipment, saving the customer time and money while also promoting a safer operation.
Time Savings – Bale ejection plate installation
At a Texas-based recycling plant, MPW was using a horizontal baler with wooden pallets to transport cardboard bales into a transport trailer for recycling. However, the wooden pallets became cumbersome during the loading process, adding extra time with every use. By installing a permanent metal pallet next to the baler, the MPW team avoided using an OCC pallet for each bale. Using this process saves the customer around 30 seconds every use, equating to about two minutes a day. Plus, the process is safer and eliminates the possibility of the bale coming in contact with sensors or production material, leading to a safer, more efficient operation.