International Surface Technologies

Solvent Use and Recovery


Source: International Surface Technologies

Since 1978, International Surface Technologies (IST) has been designing and manufacturing superior quality custom-made automated surface treatment systems. Having originally started in the surface treatment and preparations business, IST has recently completed an expansion into the solvent recycling business due to its technical expertise and its commitment to being a leading manufacturer of standard and custom equipment for the solvent recycling industry. Some of IST’s recurrent customer list includes the likes of: Pratt & Whitney Canada, General Electric, Rolls-Royce, Boeing and Bell Helicopter.

Solvents have a chemical ability to dissolve, suspend or extract substances without changing their physical properties and have widespread use in everyday items that we use such as prescription medications, paint, cosmetics and automotive manufacturing.[1] It becomes very important both legally and environmentally to use and dispose of these materials safely and efficiently due to the large quantities that can be consumed on a regular basis. In the United-States over 255,219 tons of solvent were recovered alone in 2011[2]. Solvents cost money and if companies can reduce their purchases and reuse their raw materials more efficiently the better off both the company and environment will be. Solvent recovery systems work on the principal of distillation that separates substances from a liquid mixture by evaporation and condensation.[3] There are solutions available for companies to either ship their solvent offsite for reclamation or to treat on site.

Offsite recycling solutions can be considered when existing facilities, labour skill or quantities of solvent used are not appropriate for onsite recycling.[4] Offsite recycling has been known to introduce foreign contamination when the recycled solvent is returned to the customer. Sometimes offsite-solvent recyclers mix many different customers solvents together and the concentration of impurities can increase when this happens.

Onsite solvent recycling solutions such as the ISTpure line of solvent recyclers[5] allows for onsite solvent recycling in a timely and cost effective manner. Customers’ own solvents can be treated and recycled onsite thereby removing foreign contamination. In addition, customers who recycle onsite have reduced their solvent purchases and have gained increase productivity and efficiencies as a result.

Factors to consider in making a decision to purchase onsite solvent recycling machines include the following: quantities of solvent purchased, electrical costs, quantities of solvent that need treating, how often solvents need to be treated will and labour costs to run the systems. Over the lifetime of machines significant savings and short return on investments can materialize.

Solvent recycling should not be viewed only as a legal obligation but also a financial one. There are proven systems in the marketplace that can lead to substantial cost savings and increase productivity all the while maintaining a good environmental impact.




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