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Washington State's Partnership with Impact Washington-NIST MEP Promotes Lean and Green Manufacturing

Wednesday, May 10, 2023 | Lean and Green, Grants, Operational Excellence

Transforming Manufacturing with Lean and Green Practices

Did you know that the Washington State Department of Ecology partners with Impact Washington-NIST MEP to provide manufacturers in Washington state with training on and implementation of Lean practices?

For facilities that use, release, or throw away certain toxic chemicals, an Ecology grant can cover up to 50%-80% (up to $24k) of the project consulting fees (depending on the potential environmental savings).

Lean and green manufacturing promotes environmental methods that decrease operating costs, reduce pollutants, and increase the efficiency and productivity of your business. The program is searching for interested companies that want to take advantage of this partnership. This grant has a particular focus on the following manufacturing types:  

  • Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing and Maintenance
  • Automotive Manufacturing and Maintenance
  • Chemical Manufacturing, Processing, and Formulation
  • Food and Beverage Manufacturing and Processing
  • Metal Manufacturing and Fabrication

Between the spring and fall of 2021, Romac Industries collaborated with the Washington State Department of Ecology, Impact Washington, and Lean Environmental Inc. (LEI) to train on lean and green principles. Their goal was to use Ecology grant funding to decrease waste generation, maintain product consistency, and increase the safety of their workers on the passivation line.

The Lean/Green training resulted in a project that produced real-world results. As the project progressed, it became apparent that further line modifications could result in almost completely eliminating the historical waste stream.

In the reengineered process, Romac set up a counter-current flow where acidic rinse tank water could circulate back into a process tank, effectively transferring reusable acidic plating solution back into the passivation process while ensuring rinse tank acid concentrations stayed low. This allowed process tank solutions to last longer and reduce the generation of spent acid waste.  

The project outcomes speak for themselves. Romac cut acid waste and toxic wastewater from 64,000 to 30,000 pounds, saving about $50,000 per year, and saw substantial improvements in product quality and process control. In 2022 and future years, the new process will provide an over 90% reduction in hazardous acid waste and toxic wastewater, a 200% increase in line capacity, $100,000 per year in savings, and significantly improve the safety and ease of work procedures for operators, as well as a reduction in energy use.

Read more Lean and Green Success Stories here>

Projects or companies are selected based on senior management's commitment to project implementation and the potential for significant and measurable pollution and cost reductions.

Interested in learning more?  Contact us here> or reach out to Impact Washington, Account Executive Nick Wilkes | NWilkes@impactwashington.org or Stephanie Krupp – Washington Department of Ecology: stephanie.krupp@ecy.wa.gov

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