TE Connectivity is a global business that makes highly-engineered connectors and sensors. Their Tualatin and Wilsonville sites, part of TE Connectivity’s Medical Division, have approximately 600 employees. At their Oregon plants, IPA is used as a wire cleaner. Soon, the Tualatin and Wilsonville plants will merge and their combined IPA usage risks the plant becoming a large quantity generator of hazardous waste. This OASE intern researched ways to prevent and reduce the use of IPA.
During her internship, Abigail did the following:
quantified the IPA usage and associated costs in all departments
developed a process map highlighting usage and waste
identified equipment and processes for recycling and reducing IPA usage to prevent excessive IPA waste
determined the quantity of IPA that could be reduced by implementing pollution prevention strategies and calculated financial savings.
The most promising solution for decreasing 99% IPA usage in TE Connectivity’s largest waste stream is to decrease the dimensions of the IPA tanks, and test the IPA consistently to determine how frequently it needs to be replaced.
An additional process change to reduce IPA waste is to reclaim IPA using a solvent recycler. The reclaimed IPA could be used throughout the plant or sold to a customer.
These suggested changes offer solutions that could not only maintain TE Connectivity’s combined Tualatin and Wilsonville site as a small quantity generator, but may reduce IPA waste enough to become a very small quantity generator of hazardous waste.