Elkhart, Indiana

April 1997



Vincent Bach, a division of The Selmer Company, Inc., contacted the Indiana Pollution Prevention and Safe Materials Institute (IPPI) for assistance in replacing trichloroethylene as a degreasing cleaner. On October 16, 1995, Vincent Bach and IPPI entered into an agreement to search for a suitable replacement.


Vincent Bach, located in Elkhart, Indiana, manufactures musical instruments. The company purchases the raw materials required for the musical instruments and ships the finished product. Processes required in the manufacturing of musical instruments include cutting, shaping, coating, assembling, cleaning, and polishing the product. The company employs approximately 412 people.


Trichloroethylene (TCE) is used for cleaning, but because of new air regulations, the company has decided to eliminate TCE. Specifically, the company desired assistance in replacing the sixty, small tanks of TCE used in the fine instrument lapping and fitting process. This process involves carefully fitting and sizing valves and slides into the body of the musical instrument by honing excess metal, using abrasive polish lapping compound. The lapping compound is mixed with oil and rouge to aid in the process. The fitting process is done by hand to preserve the finish of the instruments, and the workers are paid by the number of instruments they fit. Therefore, the cleaning process used to remove the lapping compound must be quick, effective, and fast drying.


TCE is a halogenated cleaning solvent. Its use in a cleaning/degreasing unit in concentrations greater than 5%, by weight, qualifies the process to be regulated under the National Emissions Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP). The NESHAP subjects the company to a variety of reporting and operating regulations.

The cleaning process is responsible for TCE emissions of approximately 6.5 tons per year.


In searching for a replacement cleaner, Vincent Bach/IPPI had to consider the requirements that it must be quick to clean, fast drying, and the fact that the workers cleaned the parts by hand. The replacement had to remove the lapping compound mixed with oil and rouge, dry quickly, maintain current production rates, and insure the safety of workers and the environment. If water-soluble oils or water-based lapping compounds could be used in the production process, then finding a replacement for TCE would be simpler. A decision was made to test several water-soluble oils, water-based lapping compounds, and aqueous cleaners to find a suitable replacement.

Three samples of water-based lapping compounds and two samples of water-soluble oils were obtained from three different chemical manufacturers for testing. It was discovered during initial sample testing that the water evaporated from all three samples long before the metal honing was completed. This made it impossible to complete the honing process. The water-based products were simply not compatible with the production process.

The next step was to test aqueous cleaners while searching for other water-based lapping compounds and water-soluble oils that might work with the process. The first aqueous cleaner tested did not adequately remove the oil and rouge currently used. The second aqueous cleaner tested, W.R. Grace and Co.'s Daracleanę 212, adequately cleaned the lapping compounds mixed with oil and rouge. Heating the cleaner to 120░F.--along with clean air blow-off--aided in drying the cleaned part, and initial tests show that Daracleanę 212 meets the requirements for TCE replacement. Vincent Bach tested the cleaner in one of the cleaner stations for three months. The cleaner performed well over this period of time, but the company would like to test other aqueous cleaners before replacing the TCE cleaning stations.


Converting from TCE to an aqueous cleaner will eliminate 13,000 lb. of TCE annually emitted to the environment.

Converting from TCE to an aqueous cleaner will accomplish the following:

Total estimated annual savings $15,700.00


The pilot study of the Daracleanę 212 was completed by June 1996. Vincent Bach is currently investigating other aqueous cleaners before eliminating the TCE. After Vincent Bach has successfully replaced TCE, the company is interested in replacing the solvent-based lacquer currently used with a water-based lacquer . This could exempt the company from the requirement to have a Title V air permit by reducing volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions below the Title V limits.