A Greener Way for Cleaning Tools
By Robert Bergen
Canada-based Bio-Circle has revolutionized the cleaning of industrial tools and parts with a system that leaves no environment damage and eliminates the hazards of toxic solvents.
For more than a century, industry relied on dangerous solvents to clean greasy, oily, dirty tools and machine parts. Solvents’ fumes are dangerous to workers and the environment as well as being more costly. They are flammable and dangerously irritating to the skin and lungs.
The company has been able to harness special strains of micro-organisms, and, has patented world-wide a completely different, environmentally friendly process to totally replace the hazardous solvents.
In an ergonomically designed Bio-Circle green washer tub, contaminants are fully dissolved and, at a microscopic level, are changed into ordinary water along with scarcely measurable amounts of carbon dioxide. Its liquid is warmed to an optimal near 41 degrees for the micro organisms to live, grow, and work most efficiently. This temperature is also especially welcome to hands-on workers whose location may expose them to cold winter weather.
Most industries conduct operational, maintenance or repair activities that need clean parts and, therefore, they use parts washers. Bio-Circle uses a special activated version of bio-remediation, a process which has taken place in nature for millions of years. It uses micro-organisms in a water-based solution to break down and clean contaminants from the parts.
At this molecular stage, most residues are ‘digested’ or biologically converted into harmless, and clean, simple H2O. Now the operation is virtually residue-free. And that avoids the outmoded and dangerous accumulation of hazardous wastes and eliminates the need for costly cleanup systems required by solvents.
The heavily blistered paint on one wall above what was previously the tool washing station at the École des métiers de l’équipment motorisé de Montréal, an advanced Technical College for Motorized Equipment, speaks volumes about tool cleaning prior to the arrival of Bio-Circle. Jean Baril, a teacher of automobile mechanics at the Montreal institution which is graduating tomorrow’s breed of new technology mechanics, says, “Imagine the damage to our lungs and skin if that’s what solvents do just from the fumes.”
Among industry leaders already using the Bio-Circle system are: Air Liquide, Alcan, BC Hydro, BMW, Bombardier, CP Rail System, City of Guelph, Domtar, Kruger, LCBO, Ontario Power and Toyota. Customers now range across Canada, the USA, Latin America, Europe and other offshore markets.
In Canada, Bio-Circle is headquartered with a lab and shipping centre in Pointe Claire, Quebec. It is a wholly-owned division of Montreal-based Walter Surface Technologies, a privately held Canadian company which has been servicing the metal fabricating and related industries in the Americas and Europe for over 50 years.