Guide

Furniture manufacturing resource efficiency

Furniture manufacturing solvent use reduction

Furniture manufacturers are likely to use solvent-based substances for a number of purposes, eg coatings and adhesives. Reducing solvent use can help you cut costs and reduce the impact of your business on human health and the environment. To reduce solvent use you should:

  • ensure all tins are completely empty before disposal - this can save substantial amounts of money
  • ensure two-pack materials are handled correctly - mixing these correctly minimises the amount of waste materials produced
  • ensure thinners are only used when absolutely necessary
  • use water-borne stains and lacquers - these can cost more per litre, but you can use significantly smaller volumes to coat a surface, saving on overall cost
  • use water to clean spray lines instead of thinners - this can significantly reduce the levels of solvent waste to be disposed of
  • train staff so they know how they can help secure long-term solvent reductions
  • use powder coatings - these are solvent free and can have their overspray collected and reused
  • use advanced coating equipment to reduce solvent use, increase productivity and improve working conditions for operators
  • weigh up whether to use hand spraying or automated coating hand spraying or automated coating systems - this is likely to depend on the quantity of coating required
  • use spray lines with solvent-borne or water-borne UV-cured coatings for moulded and profiled panels
  • accurately control curtain coating processes and collect excess material for reuse
  • use vacuum coating for components that can be placed into a regular flow - this enables transfer efficiencies of 98 per cent to be achieved
  • capture dirty thinners - if it is your business' standard practice to clean spray lines and guns by running solvent through them, collecting this material for reuse can offer consistent cost savings
  • use on-site solvent recovery - if you send more than 1,000 litres a year off site for recovery you may find it more cost-effective to clean dirty solvents on site using a solvent recovery still, enabling solvents to be reused several times