ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- During September 2018, Anniston Army Depot's Turbine Engine Shop significantly reduced its impact on the environment.The "hot-section" of turbine engines, like the AGT 1500, build up a tough metal and soot layer, which must be removed before repair or rebuild processes can begin.The intense heat generated in the engine of a combat vehicle can cause the buildup of metal scale, also known as carbon smut, on the parts exposed to combustion.ANAD has been conditioning steel for carbon removal with potassium permanganate in the Turbine Shop since the inception of the M1 Abrams program, in the early 1980s.Effective cleaning of the metal surfaces is essential prior to the finished coating or plating processes.
Poor surface cleaning results in poor adhesion of the finish and excessive wear and tear.Normal methods, such as acids and scrubbing, aren't tough enough to beat the buildup. In the past, the depot used a combination of potassium permanganate and sodium hydroxide, better known as lye, to remove the grime.According to safety data sheets potassium permanganate cause inflammation, or worse, to skin and other systems exposed to fumes or liquid. Depot employees are required to wear personal protective equipment including gloves, glasses and protective clothing during handling of the chemical.The two chemicals required more monitoring and refreshing, meaning vats were down for maintenance often. This costs the depot money and production time.The effectiveness of the potassium permanganate and lye was also lacking. It wasn't uncommon for parts to be cleaned two or more times to fully remove the scale.To address these deficiencies, ANAD brought in Calvary Industries, Inc., to look for ways to replace potassium permanganate and lye with something safer and more effective.Calvary customized one of their flagship products, CalClean, with the depot's specific processes in mind.The new product, CalClean 10510, was initially tested on a small scale in the Small Arms Repair Facility in 2018 before being integrated in the Turbine Engine Shop's cleaning procedures.CalClean 10510 is a single chemical that doesn't require any special batching or mixing, beyond water.This new chemical requires less maintenance and refreshment, with tanks lasting up to two months, and may result in a cost savings for purchase and disposal.The depot will transition to 100 percent CalClean usage after the next maintenance cycle in January 2019, when the last of the old chemical stockpile is fully depleted.