Winner: PZL-Swidnik Polish Aviation Works

Location: Swidnik, Poland

Achievement: Taking a lead on safe environmental production in Eastern Europe with the introduction of a new anodising line.

At the start of 1995, Polish helicopter maker PXL-Swidnik opened a fully automated line for chromic acid anodising of aluminium alloys, making it the biggest investment of its kind in Eastern Europe. While keen to introduce high-technology manufacturing techniques, the company also took into account the impact its expansion might have on the manufacturing environment.

The Awrds judges felt that the company should be recognised for taking a lead in Eastern Europe and setting an important precedent in the region. Although such advances were not new in the West, this was a real precedent in the East, they said.

The basement of the company's workshop was sealed to prevent detrimental substances reaching the surrounding soil. All tanks containing toxic solutions were fitted with automatic lids and gas-washing stands, to prevent leakage of toxic gases. Reservoirs to allow chemicals to be drained in an emergency were also provided.

Waste solutions are neutralised using a "chemical-settlement" process, and the resulting sludge separated with a filter press. Once the surface-treatment process is completed, final painting is carried out. Waste from this automated process is neutralised through the application of coagulents and sediment traps. The sludge produced during this chemical treatment is utilised in other branches of industry, such as in the production of varnish.

The use of these technologies also results in a considerable improvement in plating quality, meeting worldwide aviation standards, while greatly reducing the amount of water required during the rinsing process. Data from the computerised manufacturing process can also be recorded for monitoring purposes.

All chemical processes are completely automated using computerised control systems, and PZL-Swidnik says that it is working towards meeting the ISO 9000 international quality standard.



Finalist: CFM International

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Achievement: Entry into service of the CFM56-5B equipped with a double-annular combustor, which cuts emissions by 35%.

The CFM International (CFMI) CFM56-5B turbofan engine, the first to be equipped with a double-annular combustor (DAC), entered service with Swissair in February 1995.

The DAC reduces nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 35% compared with earlier versions of the CFM56, and by up to 50% compared with other engines in its thrust class, over a typical 925km (500nm) flight. The CFM56-5B betters the latest International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) emissions standard, implemented at the start of 1996. By nearly 50%.

The Awards judges note that the DAC represents an important contribution to industry efforts aimed at safeguarding the Earth's ozone layer, and marks a critical step in the drive to reduce harmful engine emissions.

Aircraft engines produce four main pollutants: smoke, unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and NOx. CFMI, which is a joint venture between GE Aircraft engines of the USA and France's Snecma, points out that the introduction of cleaner-burning engines has greatly reduced many of these emissions over the past two decades, but has not successfully addressed the reduction of NOx.

NOx is formed by the reaction between oxygen and nitrogen at high temperatures. The amount of NOx formed is determined by the time that the fuel/air mix stays at high temperatures.

The DAC reduces the flame temperature and "residence time" by increasing the velocity of the airflow and physically shortening the length of the combustor. The DAC also incorporates an inner ring of fuel nozzle "ports".

At lower power settings, only the outer ring is used, promoting complete combustion. At high power, both stages are used and the high airflow velocity reduces the residence time and the temperature in the combustor.

Technically, the judges felt that this was the most impressive of this year's entrants, and it was only the wider geopolitical significance of PZL's achievement which kept CFMI from the top award.


Finalist: Manchester Airport

Location: Manchester, UK

Achievement: Production of a five-year corporate environment strategy to help ensure that local communities are not harmed by future expansion.

MANCHESTER AIRPORT has produced a corporate-environment plan to provide a detailed strategy for the development of environmental management over the next five years.

The Airport says that it adopted this approach in the knowledge that only through effective management of environmental issues will it be able to continue to grow and meet future demand for air travel in the region.

The document was approved for publication in September 1995 following extensive consultation within the aviation industry and with environmental and local community groups.

It outlines the company's approach to all environmental issues, describing their impact, the way in which that impact will be managed, performance targets and systems for monitoring and review, including extensive consultation with the local community. It also details community and environmental commitments which are aimed at guaranteeing that quality of life and the environment in the vicinity will be maintained should major developments proceed in the future.

For issues of key concern to the community, the company has made provision for extensive consultation, third-party auditing of systems and data and the right of public access to the results of environmental monitoring.

Source: Flight International