Keeping CNC Machines Cranking

Client:   Milwaukee Transportation Equipment Manufacturer 
Issue:   Damaged Pump Shuts Down Central Coolant System
Solution:   An Overnight Confined Space Entry, Coolant Removal, Tank Cleaning & Repair Production

An iconic Milwaukee based transportation equipment manufacturer is the Hero in this Success Story.

The problem was that the company’s central coolant recycling system had a catastrophic malfunction. One of its recirculation pumps shattered, sending metal debris into the system, a piece of which punctured a hole in the coolant holding tank.

Central Coolant Recycling system

The system supplies fresh coolant to hundreds of Computer Numerical Control [CNC] machines throughout the facility. It’s key to maintaining production. The client’s maintenance team put a patch on the tank. A temporary fix to keep production running while a long-term solution was researched.

CNC at Work

The client determined that the only way to fix the problem correctly was to empty the 10,000 gallon system and clean it thoroughly. This would allow the tank puncture to be properly fixed. It would also ensure that the metal debris from the damaged pump could be completely removed. Protecting equipment that costs millions of dollars from any residual damage was a major concern.   

The client reached out to ERC Midwest because of our proven dependency for vacuum tanker transportation, wastewater treatment, sludge collection and disposal and industrial cleaning solutions. They had worked with us many times and knew that we could execute the necessary solution.

Can you help us?” was the question.  “Of course,” was our answer.

We collaborated with the client to develop a plan of action. There were several important caveats.

First, the work needed to take place over the weekend. Starting after 2nd shift on Friday night and finishing before 1st shift on Monday morning.

Second, because the coolant was still effective and would otherwise cost tens of thousands of dollars to replace, it needed to be pumped, stored, and returned back into the central system.

Got it. Time to get to work.

ERC Midwest deployed two perfectly lean 5,000-gallon tanker trailers, a 4,000 gallon Hi Vac Semi Tanker and our Industrial Solutions Service Team to the facility at 11pm Friday night. The coolant was then pumped into the two tankers. Next, the industrial solutions team performed a Confined Space Entry [CSE] to pressure wash the coolant system clean. The wastewater was collected and treated at one of our state of the art Centralized Waste Treatment [CWT] facilities. This stage of the project was completed by 5:30am Saturday morning, just in time for the Mechanical Contractors arriving to fix the tank’s puncture.

But we weren’t done yet. While the mechanical contractors worked, ERC Midwest provided a Confined Space Rescue team to supervise the situation and ensure that the work would be completed safely. This stage of the project was completed safely, on time and without incident. All repairs where completed Saturday.

Finally, on Sunday morning the tankers returned with the stored coolant and it was pumped back into the system. The Central Coolant System was back online by 10AM Sunday morning and ready for production to resume without a hitch on Monday morning.

ERC Midwest provided a solution to keep the coolant, reducing what could otherwise have been significant disposal and coolant replacement costs. We understood the time issues and provided a solution to work around the client’s schedule. And best of all, we had the system back on line 20 hours before the deadline.

We were proud to be the guide that helped this client achieve its goals.

Another complex waste problem solved. Happy Client!

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