TNT: addressing the degradation of fleet paints and materials caused by detergents
Part of the Fisher Darville Group of companies, Chela Ltd was established in 1988 and is a UK manufacturer of innovative specialised industrial cleaning chemicals and technical solutions. Serving the UK, Europe and the rest of the world, Chela Ltd specialises in industrial cleaning solutions for all mass transport industries such as bus, rail, tram and coach.
A primary objective of Chela Ltd is to manufacture specialised high performance detergents using safer raw materials. Chela Ltd manufacturing operations are executed in-line with strict ISO 9001/14001 guidelines.
Chela Ltd provides industry approved product ranges, and was awarded the Green Apple award in 2014 for engineering and manufacturing.
This case study focuses on the challenge faced by Paul Crowley (FCILT MCIPS, Procurement Manager of TNT), who was concerned that the use of a large number of vehicle cleaning detergents on TNT sites and fleets would cause degradation of the paint and materials of the fleet as well as environmental damage. There was also a number of complaints from drivers about the cleanliness of the fleet. Furthermore, Mr Crowley planned to rationalise the number of contractors cleaning the fleet.
Thanks to Chela Ltd, the number of interior and exterior cleaning solutions used on TNT owned vehicles was reduced from 22 down to 1: dramatically reducing the risk of environmental damage, saving time and costs.
In 2015, Paul Crowley of TNT contacted Chela Ltd to discuss the type of vehicle cleaning detergents that the TNT contractors were using to clean TNT owned vehicles. TNT employed a large number of contract vehicle cleaning contractors across the UK to clean their fleet, and they in turn used a large number of vehicle cleaning detergents of unknown quality and performance. Mr Crowley was concerned that the use of vehicle cleaning detergents on TNT sites and fleets could cause degradation of the paint and materials of the fleet and cause environmental damage. Having dealt with Chela whilst working for Alstom Transport UK Ltd, Mr Crowley knew that Chela’s technical ability support would be invaluable.
TNT Express is an international courier delivery services company founded in Australia in 1946. The firm, who has headquarters in Hoofddorp, Netherlands, has fully owned operations in 61 countries and delivers documents, parcels and pieces of freight to over 200 countries.
The starting point was an evaluation by Chela of the SDS (safety data sheet) of all the existing vehicle cleaning detergents. It soon became apparent that a number did not comply with legislation and also contained materials that had been classified as hazardous to health and the environment.
An inspection of the material safety data sheets of the 22 cleaning chemicals in-use revealed that 14 out of 22 products did not fit in the recommended pH range:
Testing and inspection specialist ESG (Environmental Scientifics Group) recommend a pH range of 6-10 to avoid potential environmental issues and to ensure best practise in relation to corrosion.
3M Vinyl Manufacturer Instructions – Maintenance and Cleaning: The cleaner must be wet, non-abrasive, without strong solvents, and have a pH value between 3 and 11 (neither strongly acidic nor strongly alkaline) (ref. 3M product Bulletin IJ180/180C, Release UKH, Effective June 2010)
Moreover, the Product Ingredients Analysis revealed that the products in use contained dangerous and non-biodegradable Raw Materials:
- Nitrilo Triacetate Acid “NTA”: possible cancer causing properties
- Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid “EDTA”: non-biodegradable
- Sodium Hydroxide (known as “Caustic”): potential for corrosion/surface damage
- Phosphates: negatively effects effluent levels/promotes algae growth
- Hydrofluoric Acid
- Sulphuric Acid
- It was also revealed upon inspection that not all hazards were properly listed on the material data sheets.
A closer look at the substrate compatibility further illustrates the need to revise the current mix of products-in-use:
As seen above, the products in-use prove to be harmful to both the vehicles and the environment, causing damage to many areas of the vehicle due to the highly alkaline and highly acidic nature of the chemicals.
Unlike the UK Rail Industry where all chemicals used are monitored and independently tested, the UK Fleet Industry does not have specific guidelines in relation to best practice chemical manufacture, and no independent testing house to provide analysis in relation to potential for corrosion. As a result, highly hazardous and corrosive raw materials are in use providing the potential for health, environmental and substrate compatibility issues.
After extensive use of Eurowash 1000 Plus, the TNT fleet showed considerable improvement in cleanliness and the drivers commented on the levels of gloss, one of whom shot the picture on the right.
It performed exceptionally well: TNT approved the product for use on their vehicles, and all their contractors had to comply. The number of contractors was reduced from 20 to 2 approved contractors, the number of products used reduced from 22 to 1.
TNT are now using Chela’s FleetClean Plus through the automatic wash.
Chela automatic wash products, FleetClean Plus and more now Kirton approved:
Kirton provide water treatment and filtration systems, ranging from seawater desalination to fully installed MBR systems. The systems are used in automatic vehicle wash systems.
Chela Ltd put forward an alternative product to TNT: Eurowash 1000 Plus.
Eurowash 1000 Plus is a foaming, caustic-free transport cleaner to remove traffic film from trains, cars, lorries, vans, buses, coaches as well as street furniture. It uses biodegradable surfactants and modern complexing agents (NTA and EDTA free), and has a high dilution rate, making it ecological and economical to use.
This product, used in the rail industry, has extensive materials compatibility testing and is classified as a low hazard. Eurowash 1000 Plus was specifically designed to provide the highest levels of presentation whilst eradicating the potential for long term substrate compatibility issues and potential negative impacts on the environment. Eurowash 1000 Plus holds an independent analysis certificate (4-Rail Services) and does not contain any of the following raw materials: NTA, phosphates, caustic.
Click here to find out more about Eurowash 1000 Plus or to discuss a whole range of other market leading cleaning solutions for rail and train stations, please contact our specialist team by calling +44 208 805 2150 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org