Bailey Motors and Panel Works Pty Ltd

Solvent Recovery Unit: Bailey Motors and Panel Works


Courtesy of Bailey Motors and Panel Works Pty Ltd

 Bailey Motors and Panel Works Pty Ltd has installed a small solvent recovery unit to reclaim solvent from waste paint and equipment cleaning operations. The reclaimed solvent is used for equipment cleaning and has resulted in savings from both reduced raw solvent purchases and reduced waste disposal costs.


Bailey Motors and Panel Works Pty Ltd operates a panel repair workshop in Melbourne's inner city suburbs. Activities include panel repair, paint stripping, and respraying of repairs.

The Process

The existing process generated significant quantities of solvent and paint waste from spraying operations. The paint colour 'Recipe Book' used by Bailey Motors specifies the quantities of different base colours required to make up any colour. By following the recipe, the minimum amount of paint that could be made up was 250 mL, regardless of whether less than this was required for a particular job. In addition, waste solvent was also generated from cleaning of equipment.

Three different grades of solvent were used:

  • a 'Grade A' thinner for viscosity adjustment of top coat paints;
  • a 'Midway' thinner for viscosity adjustment of primers and undercoats; and
  • a 'Gunwash' thinner for equipment cleanup.

Each of these solvents was purchased new, used and then disposed of by a specialist waste disposal company using incineration. The disposal cost was $80 per 60 litres.

Cleaner Production Initiative

The company purchased a small solvent recovery unit, which recovers solvent from the surplus paints left over from spraying operations. The unit consists of a boiler pot, combined with a water cooled condenser to recover clean solvent. As the recovered solvent was a mixture of 'Grade A' and 'Midway' thinners, it could not be used for viscosity adjustment in either top coats or undercoats and primers. It could, however, be used for equipment cleanup.

 The Recyclene-R2 recovery unit

The Recylene-R2 recovery unit is a batch unit with a capacity of approximately 20 litres. A dried solid residue, principally containing paint pigments, remains at the end of the distillation cycle. This material is then removed, bagged and disposed of with the general rubbish. The recovery unit was purchased for approximately $6,000.

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