Lockheed Martin Sikorsky Water Project
What the Judges Said…
“Process water and wastewater reduction is something that everyone will have to look at — if they aren’t already. Lockheed should be applauded for reducing water consumption by over 30 million gallons per year, which has both energy and environmental benefits.”
The Lockheed Martin Sikorsky facility in Stratford, Connecticut, has seven process lines with approximately 30 water rinse tanks. The process lines use concentrated alkaline cleaners and acids to clean, etch, and electroplate aircraft components such as gears, blades, rotor heads, and transmissions. City water is used in the rinse tanks to remove the concentrated solution from the parts.
Improving electronic and physical water controls on the rinse tanks in partnership with the other manufacturing conservation techniques used by manufacturing operators, facilities maintenance, and quality departments over a period of several months will decrease water consumption approximately 30,000,000 gallons each year, saving around $300,000 annually, Lockheed Martin says.
A site-wide survey was conducted to evaluate opportunities for water reduction. Due to the volume of water used, the process rinse tanks became the focus. Rinse water tanks have been studied in several industries, and the technology exists to make significant reductions in consumption. The site assembled a team from several departments to evaluate options for reducing water use without affecting the quality of the treated parts.
Their work included reviewing the water reduction technologies, implementing options, monitoring part conditions, making adjustments to maintain part quality, installing additional sub-meters to record measurements weekly to track progress, and conducting weekly meetings. Measurements from the submeters indicated that water use was reduced by approximately 86,000 gallons per day and the quality of the work was not affected.
Thoroughly removing the process solutions from the surface and facets of the parts is the most important function of the rinse tanks. To achieve the required surface quality, the project required buy-in from several organizations that processed and inspected the parts. Lockheed Martin says the project was collaborative, sustainable, and had downstream savings of avoided cost. This project was completed without jeopardizing production schedules, rejecting parts, or shutting down production lines, the company added.
Lockheed Martin’s GoGreen program focuses on achieving carbon reductions through energy efficiency and using renewable energy as well as reducing facility water use. This project, with an estimated 30,000,000 gallons per year savings, moves Lockheed Martin toward their 2020 GoGreen goal of a 30% water reduction from a 2010 baseline. The cost of water purchase, treatment, and discharge may result in savings of around $400,000 per year.