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Let's Tork about cleaning culture

Posted 28 September 2018 · Add Comment

Little things can make a big difference in the MRO shop environment. Chuck Grieve looks into industrial cleaning practices and their impact on personnel and business.

Turnaround time, cost and reliability are major factors dictating where airlines and other operators place their MRO work. For any shop to remain competitive, it must satisfy those needs without compromising on quality or safety.
In recent years, the workshop environment has come under increasing scrutiny as health and safety (H&S) and environmental considerations take on more significance.
Europe’s registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals (REACH) regulations addressed the manufacture and use of chemicals. Various legislation and directives such as Article 22 of the UAE’s Public Health Law give employers a legal duty to assess risks that could affect the H&S of employees. In the workshop, technicians may still risk exposure to high levels of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from some of the solvents commonly used in MRO work and cleaning procedures.
By the nature of their job, MRO technicians spend time and effort on general maintenance tasks such as cleaning and wiping. But these low-level tasks call for the right tools in the same way that the more sophisticated operations can’t be performed correctly without the proper tools.
Tork, a Swedish manufacturer of cleaning products, argues that replacing rags in the workshop with purpose-made lint-free cloths is a step toward H&S compliance that can also make a significant impact on the bottom line.
“The uneven performance of rags holds implications that limit efficiency and flexibility of operations,” said Anders Hellqvist, the company’s assortment manager, wiping and cleaning. “New alternatives are safer to use and more efficient.”
Aerosol International, founded in Dubai in 2014, highlights the H&S benefits of the widely approved solvent Lotoxane Fast, which it calls “a versatile alternative to more hazardous products”.
It claims to reduce solvent vapour and VOC emissions during use, making it inherently safer. A line of lint-free degreasing wipes, impregnated with Lotoxane Fast, features in the company’s product list.
Almadion International sales manager, Jose Martelino, said environmental and user ‘friendliness’ is now a given in the majority of products used in MRO workshops. Water-based solvents from manufacturers such as RoboChem, which Almadion distributes in the Middle East, were formulated as alternatives and replacements for potentially more harmful hydrocarbon-based products.
“They’re mindful of what products they come up with,” said Martelino. The European market demands a balance of quality, safety and technology to comply with its REACH regulations, and within the scope of what OEMs stipulate for use on their products, UAE operators try to emulate this.
Hellqvist said operators “expect the same standard of cleaning” in the Middle East as in Europe, America and elsewhere, adding that new customers are surprised by the business gains possible from such a simple switch as replacing workshop rags with a purpose-made industrial cleaning cloth.
Tork was recently selected by a leading European airline to supply cleaning products for its local MRO in the Middle East. Hellqvist said the company hopes to build on this success in the region, expanding its reach to major airlines that emphasise quality and environmental impact.
For Go Aviation Middle East, employee H&S is seen as a differentiator in the competitive area of aircraft cleaning. The company deploys a fleet of trucks to MROs and FBOs around the UAE and Saudi Arabia to carry out what it calls a hybrid wash that combines elements of dry and wet washes for aircraft exteriors.
Among its services, Go Aviation offers sanitizing and disinfecting for aircraft that travel to regions identified by the World Health Organization as posing health risks to travellers. Go Aviation worked with consultants to redesign its workers’ uniforms to incorporate the latest safety technology.
Hellqvist said studies show that a clean environment influences the speed of workflow, and a proven first step to that environment is having effective cleaning products such as Tork’s industrial cloths, which “save technician time and effort, and decrease solvent consumption, guaranteeing a more health and safety-conscious environment.
“Individuals can work in a smarter and safer way, increasing worker satisfaction as the maintenance task can be completed more quickly, ultimately improving processes in the workplace.”
 

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