Gasket manufacturer's modernization project stresses resource conservation
The Rochester Business Journal recently honored Garlock Sealing Technologies for its environmental leadership. The company, a leader in fluid sealing technology for more than 100 years, was one of three honorees in the category of environmental innovation, based on its conversion to a more environmentally friendly material for gasket production at its Palmyra, N.Y., facility. Other award categories included alternative energy use, green building, pollution prevention and recycling/reuse.
"The Environmental Leadership Awards were created to honor area companies making great strides to become environmentally sound and helping make our community a healthier place to live," said Susan R. Holliday, president and publisher of the Rochester Business Journal. "Garlock was selected this year because of its demonstrated commitment to having a positive impact on environmental issues."
Garlock invested more than $3 million to replace a volatile organic compound (VOC) with a more environmentally friendly material in its production of gasket material, eliminating annual air emissions of 120 tons in the process. Use of the new material also resulted in improved process yields, products that seal 20% better and a healthier work environment.
"We're truly honored to receive this distinguished award," said Garlock President Paul Baldetti. "However, it represents just one aspect, albeit an important one, of our continuing commitment to providing products that are environmentally safe in and of themselves and that offer our customers cost- effective compliance solutions. We believe the extensive environmental and conservation measures we've taken in our current modernization project underscore that commitment."
When Garlock embarked on its five-year, $30 million plant modernization project in 2005, the company was operating in an antiquated, inefficient manufacturing complex constructed between 1907 and 1956. Now at its mid-point, the project involves construction of two new production plants. The first phase, a plant that manufactures dynamic seals, was completed in 2006. A second plant for production of PTFE-based gaskets is scheduled to open this summer.
Particularly notable is Garlock's use of water piped from nearby Canandaigua Lake for comfort and process cooling, producing significant annual savings with no adverse impact on the environment. Among other conservation-minded features of the project are closed-loop process equipment saving up to 20,000 gal of water per day, use of non-treated water for production processes, separation of the storm water system and creation of green spaces to reduce runoff.
The new production facilities also feature high-efficiency, water-cooled chillers with ultrasonic humidification, reflective roofs to reduce heat loading and highly insulative exterior panels. In addition, on-demand water heaters serve isolated areas, and waste heat is recovered from exhaust ventilation systems and air compressors. Where possible, even the materials resulting from the demolition of old structures have been recycled or re-used on site to minimize waste.