Corpus Christi Army Depot
The project consisted of installation of three electric autoclaves (pressure vessels) for repairing and recycling damaged helicopter body/skin panels. By using the autoclave, less solid wastes are generated. The first of the three went on-line in 1982. The other two were installed in November of 1991.
The electric powered autoclave operates up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit, 300 psi, with a vacuum of 20 inches of mercury. This process allows for the recycling and reuse of equipment instead of disposal of defense sensitive equipment. The body/skin panel life has increased 8 fold and has lowered operating costs. Lower hazardous wastes are due to source substitution from higher to lower VOC adhesives and autoclave use.
The autoclave uses less toxic, lower VOC content film adhesives that activate under temperature and pressure. Field repair autoclaving would use more toxic, higher VOC content, wet - two part adhesives containing listed hazardous carrying agents that function at room temperature. Therefore, through the new process there are less emissions and potential hazardous wastes.
Details of Reductions
Additional Information :
Initial capital costs were $2 million. They are saving $850,000 a year due to reduced scrap generation and hazardous material costs. The payback is just over one year.