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Diesel Specialists Pty Ltd:
Reuse of liquid resources in diesel fuel injection parts processing

Diesel Specialists Pty Ltd conducts the testing, repair and servicing of diesel fuel injection pumps, governors and injectors. The business has incorporated various new technologies that have resulted in a reduction in chemical use and waste production while achieving an increase in overall efficiency. The reuse of diesel calibration fluid throughout the repair process has led to a significant decrease in the quantity of product used and the costs associated with its purchase.

Background

Diesel Specialists Pty Ltd is a modern, well-equipped diesel fuel injection mechanical workshop offering on or off-vehicle diagnostics, component removal and refit services.

The business was formed in October 2000 through the amalgamation of Brisbane Diesel Services and Sandgate Fuel Pump and Injector Service. These businesses had both been operating in Brisbane for over 30 years. The merging of the two businesses created an opportunity to incorporate the most efficient industry practices into the new business. This allowed for improved productivity, cost savings and more intensive waste management practices.

Previous Process

Waste management was a low priority for both of the pre-merger businesses. They each generated significantly more waste than the current combined business. This was due to there being twice the workshop wastes produced, resulting in twice the costs associated with the services required for waste management. Waste streams such as oil, coolant, cardboard packaging, scrap metal and fuel filters were collected by each business and disposed of by licensed contractors. These were recognised to be contributing to twice the amount of landfill than that of the amalgamated business.

Incorporating Eco-efficiency

Re-using Diesel Calibration Fluid

Diesel calibration fluid is expensive, and hence, the company implemented an eco-efficient system to minimise the product's use. Diesel Specialists Pty Ltd now recycles the same diesel calibration fluid three times during the repair process.

First use: The first use of diesel calibration fluid is during the final testing stage where it is used to test fuel injection pumps. At this stage the product is required to be within a specific viscosity range to be able to measure the final performance tolerance of repaired components. A lower quality product would result in inaccurate data and possible failure of the repaired component. This means that the highest quality product (un-recycled) is imperative at this stage.

Second use: While the integrity of the product is diminished during stage one, the fluid is still suitable to be used through the fuel injector tester. The suitability of using recycled liquid at this stage is measured by its viscosity range.

Final use: Once the fluid has exceeded its practicality for testing injectors it is used during pump assemblage as a parts lubricant.

Throughout these three stages of recycling, the diesel calibration fluid experiences a volume loss. This is due to vaporisation or residual deposition within the pump unit. From one phase to the next, the fluid is transferred in small sealed containers on trolleys to reduce risk of spillage.

A licensed waste contractor removes excess quantities of diesel calibration fluid that is unable to be used in the third cycle.

Reduction in Vaporisation

Another approach implemented to reduce the use of diesel calibration fluid in the workshop was the purchase of new testing equipment which uses a closed circuit measuring system. This results in a reduced chance of product vaporisation. The previous system measured fluid into open glass tubes, and was less efficient in preventing product loss to vaporisation.

The workshop also has emission control equipment, bunded areas for chemical storage, and a wastewater management system for the pre-treatment of wastewater prior to disposal to sewer.

Advantages

Combining processes and becoming more environmentally conscious has provided long-term benefits to staff, customers, the environment and the business' bottom line.

Staff from each of the merged businesses were given the opportunity to specialise in various areas and gain skills in eco-efficiency as the business grew.

The purchase of new improved technology after the merger has resulted in a reduction of diesel calibration fuel emissions, chemical use and the production of liquid wastes. These improvements in overall efficiency have reduced running costs and the business' environmental impacts - resulting in higher customer respect and an expansion of the client base.

Savings of Diesel Calibration Fluid

The new practices and equipment applied by the amalgamated business has resulted in a saving of $1400/year. Current test bench machinery uses less fluid and saves a total of $1000/year due to recycling technique, and $400 is saved through the use of newer technology. This $1400/year saving represents a 22% reduction in costs from the pre-merge. Only 345 L/year of calibration fluid is now purchased, a saving of 161L.

Table: 1 Eco-Efficient Cost and Qualitative Environmental Savings
Previous Volume Used
Previous Cost
Current Volume Used
Current Cost
Annual Total Savings
506L
$4400
345L
$3000
161L & $1400

Working off the above table and based on cost savings of $1400 per year, the total payback period of the business merging costs ($25,000) would be approximately 18 years. However, other flow-on changes to the business, such as improved clientele base and increased financial turnover due to improved business efficiency, have enhanced the payback opportunity on equipment/business improvement costs.

Total reduction in the use of diesel calibration fluid is in the order of 161 L per year. This represents a significant volume of fluid that avoids entering the waste management/treatment stream as a result of the new repair/testing process.

Incentives

Compliance issues, high resource consumption levels and concerns about long-term health effects for staff prompted the business to reassess their processes. The drive to become more eco-efficient came mainly from within the business, but was also supported by local government environmental material and education opportunities provided by Brisbane City Council and the Motor Trades Association of Queensland. A growing sense of staff responsibility about environmental impacts and excessive resource use has also been a driving factor for becoming eco-efficient. The cost incentive was obviously to reduce the volume of resources/chemicals used on the premises, which would also lead to further cost reductions relating to the management of end of life cycle wastes. The continuous improvement focus of cleaner production practices was also seen to be a driving motivation in reducing every day resource costs and improving workplace productivity.

Barriers

The main barrier in implementing the eco-efficiency measures were the usual demands on time, financial resources and ideas for finding solutions. With sufficient motivation, however, the business believes that the achievement of environmental goals is always possible.

Contact Information

Diesel Specialists Pty Ltd.
Bruce Moffat - Director
718 Kingsford Smith Drive, Hamilton, QLD 4007
PO Box 851 Hamilton QLD, 4007
Brisbane, Australia

Ph: (07) 3868 1168
Fax: (07) 3868 1169
Email: info@dieselspecialists.com.au
Home Page: www.dieselspecialists.com.au

This case study was prepared by the Motor Trades Association of Queensland (MTA-Q) as part of an Eco-efficiency Agreement between the MTA-Q and the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage, with funding assistance from the Natural Heritage Trust and Product Stewardship for Oil Program.