Painting tractors yellow at Caterpillar demands the use of a significant number of filters. When these filters are spent, the paint continues to cure in an exothermic process, which may result in spontaneous combustion and a dangerous filter fire. We at Caterpillar hypothesized that a filter made from starch could be dissolved in water, solving two problems: decrease the probability of spontaneous combustion, as well as nearly eliminate a significant waste stream. Several different filter types were made from starch: foam filter, perforated and expanded filter, paper baffle filter, thermoformed baffle filter, and fibrous filter. The foam filter was never successfully produced; the perforated and expanded filter as well as the paper and thermoformed baffle filters were successfully produced, but are of no significant use to Caterpillar's painting operation. The fibrous filter was produced with a non-ideal sized fiber, resulting in a filter of 75% starch and 25% polyester. The fibrous filter is one that is used in Caterpillar's everyday operations, and the starch prototype provides much promise to meet the necessary requirements for use in production. Future goals include finalizing the starch fibrous filter and testing it in a real-life situation; this, however, is dependent on developing technologies to create the ideal sized fiber.
|Place of Publication
|Illinois Waste Management and Research Center
|Published - 1998
- Painting, industrial -- Waste minimization
- Painting, industrial -- Pollution prevention
- Filters and filtration