Degreasing Oil Sands Equipment: A Comprehensive Process to Source Sustainable Degreasing Solutions

Are you searching for a more sustainable way to clean your heavy haul trucks, buckets, shovels, and oil sands equipment? Struggling to find a solution that meets your environment, health, and safety requirements while keeping costs in line and maintaining performance? If so, we’re here to help you identify the factors to consider when sourcing sustainable heavy-duty degreasers.

In this article, we’ll talk about how you can incorporate sustainable degreasers into your cleaning process without sacrificing cost or performance.  

We’ll discuss the factors involved in sourcing suppliers, screening degreasers, and performance testing. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be well-informed with the knowledge to help you embrace more sustainable solutions for cleaning your oil sands equipment. 

Step 1: Assess Your Current Solution

Before making any changes, assess the effectiveness of your current solution. Some questions you may want to ask include: 

  • What problems am I experiencing with my current degreasing solution and provider? 
  • Does my current degreaser contain toxic or carcinogenic chemicals? 
  • Does my current supplier fully disclose the hazards of their degreaser on the Safety Data Sheet (SDS)? 
  • Does their degreaser contain renewable or natural solvents? If so, what percentage? 
  • Do they fulfill our service and delivery expectations? 
  • Are the promised results being delivered? 
  • Is our degreasing operation optimized for cost, performance, and sustainability? Consider degreaser costs, volumes, number of applications, labour, water, and energy expenses. 

By recognizing the shortcomings of your current degreaser and degreaser supplier, you can better select a solution that aligns with your needs. 

Step 2: Compile a Shortlist of Potential Suppliers

Once you are clear about your needs, identify potential degreaser suppliers with more sustainable degreasing solutions. Consider companies with a solid history of success. Request references, check online reviews, evaluate delivery options, billing terms, and the ease of doing business with them. 

Some other questions to consider include: 

  • Will my representative be consistent, or will I interact with a new person every time I communicate? 
  • What certifications relating to quality, environment, health, and safety do they possess? 
  • Do they have a policy for returning used containers? 
  • Do they have a live order desk? 

Step 3: Assess Sustainable Degreaser Options

Review each degreaser suppliers’ options. Consider all environment, health, and safety parameters. To ensure sustainability, consider the following: 

  • Do they offer biodegradable degreasers? 
  • Are their degreasers formulated with natural or renewable solvents and plant derivatives? 
  • Is the degreaser flashpoint high enough for safe use? Remember, degreasing often takes place before hot equipment surfaces have fully cooled. The longer you have to wait to reach a safe temperature, the longer your equipment is out of service. 
  • Is the degreaser optimized to reduce chemical consumption? Look for heavy-duty degreasers with optimized product viscosity to ensure reduced run-off and enhanced cleaning of vertical surfaces. 

From these questions, you can rank your degreaser options according to sustainability. Select degreasers that meet your criteria. In the next step, you’ll assess performance.

Step 4: Run Trials in Your Wash Bay

Select degreaser(s) for trial and arrange testing in your wash bay. Apply degreasers according to your standard procedures and compare performance. Remember to consider number of applications, dwell time, water temperature, and dilution (if applicable). Depending on application, typical oil sands cleaning procedures involve: 

  1. High-pressure rinse to dislodge stubborn oil sand residues, often through water cannons. 
  2. Degreaser application and dwell time. 
  3. Second high-pressure rinse. 
  4. Assess cleanliness and if necessary, apply additional degreaser to problem areas. 
  5. Final rinse. 

Step 5: Assess Results and Select Your New Sustainable Degreaser

Now it’s time to assess the results of your degreaser testing and determine the most suitable, sustainable degreaser for your operation. Ensure the degreaser meets your performance, environment, health, and safety standards. Once identified, notify the supplier, and decide on a date to transition to your new degreaser. Your new partner should fully manage the changeover process, overseeing inventory changes as products switch over and training personnel with respect to degreaser application and safety. 

Remember, sustainability is more than what the degreaser is composed of. Options that are more effective with fewer applications will allow you to reduce your degreaser use. Fewer resources used—degreaser, water, and energy result in more sustainable options. 

Case Study: More Sustainable Heavy Equipment Degreasing in Fort McMurray

A major oil sands operation in Fort McMurray was grappling with excessive costs and environmental drawbacks from their solvent degreaser use. Baked-on oil sands residues, bitumen, oil, and grease, lead to high chemical consumption rates, inflated costs, and increased carbon emissions from frequent shipments. 

Guardian Chemicals introduced Terrasol, resulting in a 52.7% reduction in degreaser volume, and a 45.1% reduction in annual degreaser spending. 

Read the rest of the case study here.

Transform Your Cleaning Practices with Sustainable Degreasing Solutions

Embracing sustainable cleaning and degreasing practices in your heavy haul trucks, buckets, shovels, and heavy equipment cleaning procedures can yield enormous benefits. You can experience improved operational efficiency, safety, cost savings, and reduced environmental impact. By implementing these practices, you can keep your equipment in service longer, reduce your resource use, and increase the sustainability of your cleaning and degreasing operations.

When you’re ready, contact us to learn how we can help you employ more sustainable degreasers in your operations. Degreasers that help you Create a Better Future.

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