After a successful pilot, Essex-based precision engineering firm GKM Aerospace has made personnel de-dusting with JetBlack Safety’s Cleaning Station an integral part of its health & safety policy.
In-situ since September, the low-pressure blower-driven system is proving to be a safe and easy-to-use alternative to compressed air, giving GKM peace of mind that its workforce has a safe solution for removing metallic particles and debris from overalls.
For over 35 years, GKM Aerospace has been supplying the aerospace, defence and communication sectors with precision-engineered parts. Using its in-house CAD/CAM software expertise, GKM is able to transform the most complex engineering drawings and models into flawless components. Its flexible approach and ability to machine a range of materials with the utmost precision have established GKM as a supplier of choice for manufacturers in multiple industries.
Much of GKM’s work involves cutting and milling materials such as composites, aluminium, steel, invar, castings and titanium on CNC machines. Inevitably, this generates metallic filings, swarf and debris that has to be removed from equipment at the end of a shift or production run.
To allow workers to clean the machines, GKM attached a safety nozzle to its compressed air line. However, this task resulted in workers getting covered in metallic shavings and particles, which they were then removing from their clothing using the compressed air nozzle.
“People were using the compressed air to de-dust, which was a no-no,” says Robert Bennett, Quality / HSE Manager at GKM Aerospace.
Acutely aware of the dangers of using compressed air for cleaning clothing, GKM’s management quickly intervened and stopped this practice. The company ordered a Cleaning Station from JetBlack Safety. Three days later, took delivery of the system, giving employees on the factory floor a quick and safe method for removing dust and debris from their overalls.
Compliance is a crucial consideration when making health & safety-related purchases - unless a solution has complete buy-in from employees, it won’t gain acceptance. The JetBlack Safety Cleaning Station is both easy to use and effective, so it has been embraced by workers at GKM Aerospace.
“The JetBlack system was the perfect solution to our problem. The guys love it. They use it daily,” says Robert.
The JetBlack Cleaning Station is a blower-driven system that employs high volume, low-pressure air (2.52psi) to dislodge dust from clothes. This approach is far more efficient than vacuuming and safer than compressed air, which requires pressure as high as 30psi (or 90psi if unregulated). Despite operating at lower pressure, JetBlack products generate more air power than compressed air units by using a higher flow which poses no threat to personal safety. As well as being safer than compressed air, JetBlack’s technology is more cost-effective - blower powered air produced by the JetBlack costs up to 90% less than the equivalent compressed air generation.
This is the first system that JetBlack Safety has sold into the CNC machining industry. Still, the company believes many other businesses in this industry would benefit from this pioneering technology.
“When you talk about de-dusting, people automatically assume that it only applies to industries like woodworking, foundry & casting, mining and construction, where processing generates high levels of dust. These industries have a very clear requirement for dust removal solutions, but there are many other industries, including metalworking, where specific operations or processes may create a need for de-dusting equipment,” says Dan Anjos, sales executive at JetBlack Safety.
He adds: “Compressed air is never a safe method for removing dust and debris from clothing, and companies need to be proactive about preventing this practice by giving employees a safe alternative, as at GKM.”