Original Date: 02/23/1998
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Smaller Sealant Tubes
Northrop Grumman has used various methods to achieve an 89% reduction in hazardous waste since 1990. One simple idea was to use smaller sealant tubes. Vendors who supply sealants to Northrop Grumman were requested to repackage their product in one- and two-ounce tubes instead of the previously used six-ounce tubes. The smaller tube size generates less sealant waste and reduces the number of sealant containers disposed as hazardous waste.
Northrop Grumman has achieved an 89% reduction in hazardous waste since 1990 by several equipment and chemical replacements. Many simple ideas support the overall waste minimization goal and, at the same time, save money for the company. One such idea was smaller sealant tubes which resulted in an annual savings of $70,000.
At Northrop Grumman, sealants are used throughout the manufacturing process when bonding various detail parts to larger assemblies, or to ensure additional strength of any given part. Due to various process specifications, some sealants need to be mixed prior to use. Customer specifications for sealants must meet very strict guidelines for use and cannot be changed without written approval.
Vendors who supply sealants to Northrop Grumman were requested to repackage their product in one- and two- ounce tubes instead of the previously used six-ounce tubes. The smaller tube sizes enabled Northrop Grumman to generate less waste and reduce the number of containers disposed as hazardous waste. Since only the packaging was changed, customer approval was not needed.
After implementing the packaging change, Northrop Grumman’s sealant waste generation was reduced by 30%. Operators indicate that the smaller tubes are easier to handle, require less storage space, and reduce the overall amount of waste generated. This change has enabled Northrop Grumman to achieve an annual 20,000-pound source reduction on the amount of material purchased and waste produced.
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