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Error-proofed deicer valve assembly protects environment, saves money

Update: Dec. 27, 2016

Innovators Jamie Lawson and Robert Turner recently received the 2016 CDOT Environmental Award in the Maintenance category, in recognition of the terrific results produced by the development and implementation of this Lean Everyday Idea. CDOT's Environmental Awards foster an environmental ethic in all we do by recognizing transportation projects, maintenance work and CDOT employees who exemplify our commitment to environmental excellence.

Posted: March 26, 2014

What the idea/innovation is 

This is an improvement regarding how highway deicer fluids are transferred. An innovative valve assembly allows liquid deicers to be transferred from a bulk tank to a truck-mounted spray unit without spillage and, consequently, without waste. This innovation requires that the two valves—one on the bulk tank and the other on the truck-mounted spray unit—must be connected and operated in unison before deicer fluids can be transferred. This prevents accidental release of deicer product into the environment. This innovation employs the "error-proofing" tool from the Lean process improvement toolkit. Error proofing is a time-proven method for making work faster and easier, with fewer opportunities for errors.

Key Benefits

Protects the environment and saves money

  1. The primary benefit from this innovation is that deicer fluid is kept from being spilled onto the ground, making this an environmentally friendly process.
  2. Another benefit is the cost savings due to less spillage and waste. For each time this innovation is used, it saves approximately two gallons of liquid from being spilled on the ground. That fluid remains in the transfer hose and is used the next time that deicer is needed.
  3. A third benefit is that employees' leather boots last longer since there is no contact between the boots and deicer (since accidental releases of deicer are eliminated).

Idea/Innovation developed by:
Jamie Lawson
Hot Plant, Southwest Region (Region 5)

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