Rolls-Royce: Minimising chemical risks in thruster production

International conglomerate Rolls-Royce manufactures high-skill equipment such as aircraft and marine turbines and marine equipment. Strong Finnish know-how underlies the marine equipment production: the plant in Rauma is the world leader in the production of azimuth thrusters.

Although the locals will be too modest to mention it. In an interview, representatives of the Rolls-Royce plant in Rauma modestly state that they make thrusters and carry out the associated sales and procurement, product development, project planning and project management.

“Thruster maintenance is also a growing field, in which the company is investing heavily,” says Plant Manager Teuvo Palo.

The interviewees – Teuvo Palo as well as machining and welding supervisor Markku Verronen and maintenance manager Timo Kakko – forget to mention that the Rauma plant is actually in charge of these global operations.

State-of-the-art thrusters are not only high quality equipment, but also entirely safe. Careful manufacturing means attention to every detail.

“It is a serious responsibility. We have, for example, large machines for washing components. Exact information about adhesives and interlocks is a necessity for the assembly process in order to prevent reactions with detergents. This is vital for customer safety,” says Timo Kakko.

“We prefer not to switch detergents or solvents often because we must be absolutely certain that they work,” says Markku Verronen.

Kiilto provides guidance with microbial measurement

The company strives to eliminate process health hazards to employees. Recently, Rolls-Royce Rauma started measuring the microbial content of cutting fluids in order to keep machines and fluids clean and ensure that they do not exude detrimental elements from microbiological growth into the air.

Kiilto has guided the process and offers, among other things, laboratory services for the Rauma plant.

“Kiilto educated us about the dangers of microbiological growths and how to prevent them. The topic was interesting and several dozen employees and supervisors completed the training,” Timo Kakko says.

“All the training provided by Kiilto is unusually good,” says Teuvo Palo. “The subjects are topical and linked to our needs or their know-how. We have gained information about the usability and safety of chemicals, resulting in valuable advantages on an annual basis.

Chemical safety through cooperation

Good cooperation involves mutual assistance. The Rauma plant occasionally tests new Kiilto products, and Kiilto listens to the customer’s requests and develops products accordingly. Together they ensure that chemicals management is easy and safe.

In compliance with the life cycle model, Kiilto handles the delivery of detergents and cutting fluids as well as their disposal after use.

“When operations are centralised, it creates savings. It makes for a more efficient solution,” says Teuvo Palo.

Markku Verronen, another representative of Finnish expertise, wants to add something:

“We value Finnish manufacture. We trust that this ensures rigorous control.”