Sky Valley Cabinetry continually explores new finish technologies to create coatings that reduce VOC emissions while providing a durable, quality finish. In fact, our conversion varnish finish has one of the lowest formaldehyde content levels in the cabinet industry. Since we changed our conversion finish program to the uni-coat system, we have been able to stay well below the EPA’s synthetic minor limits of 200,000 lbs. of VOCs per year.
At a By-Product Synergy NW meeting, Sky Valley’s parent, Canyon Creek, connected with Exotic Metals, a Kent-based firm that specializes in sheet metal designs and fabrications for the aerospace industry. We learned that Exotic Metals was using rags that would be appropriate for our finishing needs. Exotic Metals had been using the rags once, and then cleaning and disposing of them, where they ultimately ended up in the landfill.
Since the cleaned rags would be suitable for our finishing clean-up needs, and we had trucks making deliveries in the Kent area on a regular basis that were returning to our Monroe manufacturing plant empty, we arranged to make a stop at Exotic Metals and pick up the cleaned rags. Now Exotic Metals sells their used, cleaned rags to us for $250/month (up to 12 bags) while we provide the bags and the delivery.
Clean rags waiting for use in our finish department.
Rags are used between many of the steps in our finish process.
By using a virtual training system for our spray guns, employees gain a feel for the correct position of the gun in relation to the item being sprayed. This helps maximize the amount of finish material that goes onto the item, instead of the air around it. Sky Valley saves roughly 9,000 pounds of product each year since starting this training program.
The Washington State Department of Ecology recently featured our training system in their P2 Success Stories. Read the article.
Michael sprays a virtual door with a real
The virtual paint system gives immediate
feedback on the user’s technique.
We have also turned the hazardous waste from the still into a cleaning solvent that is then sold to other companies for cleaning metal products. This innovative process re-distills the acetone so that it can be reused a number of times before disposal.
In addition, the still has been able to recycle the waste solvents and acetone as they are generated each day, and the system has reduced the solvent waste shipped off site by approximately 83% since its inception.
To date, at least two other companies have installed stills similar to the one at Sky Valley as a result of our success.
The “still” is the heart of our solvent recovery system.
Distilled acetone is captured for reuse.
Color changers at our stain lines reduce the number of guns needed to spray all the colors from 40 per booth to 2 per booth. Flush boxes were installed to allow one gun to be used for spraying while the other gun sits in the box and is flushed and loaded with the next color. This has greatly reduced the amount of stain waste in the lines that needed to be purged.