Clean Skies Ahead: The Path to Aerospace Sustainability

The aerospace and defense industry (A&D) holds a pivotal position in the protection of national security and the advancement of cutting-edge technologies, with an evolving dedication to aerospace sustainability. 

Ensuring the efficiency and reliability of facilities within this sector is paramount to its success. Facility management and cleaning companies have emerged as indispensable partners in the aerospace and defense industry, providing a wide range of essential services that ensure seamless operations, safety, cost-effectiveness and more recently, sustainability.

The Aerospace and Defense Industry: A Diverse Landscape

Before diving into the significance of facility management and cleaning services in the aerospace and defense industry, it is essential to understand the diverse nature of this sector, which encompasses components, innovation and technology across land, air, and sea.

A&D’s Unique Challenges

Both aerospace and defense are highly specialized fields, characterized by unique challenges. These challenges include:

  1. Stringent Regulations: Both segments must adhere to strict government regulations, including safety, quality, and environmental standards.
  2. Technological Advancements: Rapid technological advancements demand the continuous maintenance and upgrading of facilities and equipment.
  3. High Security Standards: Security concerns are paramount in the defense sector, requiring facilities to maintain strict access control and surveillance measures.
  4. Hazardous Materials: The aerospace and defense industries often deal with hazardous materials that require specialized handling and disposal.

A&D Cleanrooms

A cleanroom is a specially controlled environment designed to minimize the presence of surface and airborne contaminants that could disrupt manufacturing processes. It regulates factors such as contamination levels, airflow, temperature, humidity, and pressure.

Cleanrooms are categorized based on the permissible concentration of particles in the air. The primary classification system in the United States, for example, ISO 14644-1 rates cleanrooms on a scale of 1 to 9, with Class 1 allowing the lowest contaminant concentration and Class 9 permitting the highest. Most A&D cleanrooms typically fall within ISO Class 7 or 8, with some highly sensitive product manufacturing settings adhering to stricter classifications.

Common contaminants that cleanroom cleaners in A&D must address include:

  1. Airborne Fibers: These tiny fibers from materials like textiles and wipes can negatively impact manufacturing by settling on surfaces and equipment, potentially causing electrostatic reactions.
  2. Improper Humidity and Temperature: Higher humidity and temperatures can foster bacterial growth. The recommended conditions for aerospace cleanrooms are 40% to 60% relative humidity and an air temperature between 67 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Liquids: Manufacturing processes often involve water and liquid chemicals, which must be transported and used in cleanroom-approved containers. Distilled water is preferred for cleaning and rinsing.
  4. Gases: Gases used in manufacturing must be filtered and stored in cleanroom-compatible containers to prevent adverse reactions.
  5. Small Particulate: Small particles, being lightweight, can linger in the air, landing on surfaces unnoticed. The use of HEPA filters can remove over 99.99% of these airborne particles.
  6. Products and Supplies: Raw materials, equipment, and supplies entering a cleanroom should be appropriately packaged in cleanroom-approved materials. They should remain covered when not in use.
  7. Personnel: Employees are responsible for introducing a significant portion of particulate matter and microbes into cleanrooms. Limiting access and ensuring correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is crucial.
  8. Facility: The facility housing the cleanroom can be a source of contamination due to debris, dust, and dirt. Additionally, particulates can infiltrate through air conditioning units and poorly maintained equipment.

When it comes to cleanroom cleaning, it’s vital to adhere to specific protocols and best practices:

  1. Reserve cleaning supplies and tools solely for cleanroom use and never remove them from the cleanroom.
  2. Use supplies and equipment rated for the cleanroom’s ISO class, including cleanroom-compliant wipes, brooms, mops, and cleaning products.
  3. Utilize distilled water for cleaning most surfaces; tap or mineral-containing water should never be used.
  4. Employ vacuum cleaners equipped with HEPA filters.
  5. Ensure that personnel wear appropriate PPE and follow cleanroom hygiene practices.
  6. Comply with cleanroom safety and cleaning protocols outlined by ISO-14644-1 and relevant regulatory agencies, such as OSHA.

In the aerospace and defense industry, maintaining cleanrooms at the highest standards is essential to prevent contamination and maintain the integrity of manufacturing processes. By following stringent cleanliness measures, these industries can ensure the quality and reliability of their products.

The Importance of Facility Management and Cleaning Companies

Facility management and cleaning companies serve as essential partners for the aerospace and defense industry in overcoming its unique challenges. Their importance can be summarized in the following points:

  1. Ensuring Compliance: Facility management companies are experts in navigating the complex web of industry regulations. They help aerospace and defense facilities maintain compliance with safety, quality, and environmental standards, ensuring that operations are not disrupted due to regulatory issues.
  2. Equipment Maintenance: Regular maintenance of critical machinery and infrastructure is essential for both segments. Facility management companies offer maintenance services that maximize equipment lifespan, reduce downtime, and enhance operational efficiency.
  3. Security and Access Control: In the defense sector, security is paramount. Facility management companies assist in implementing robust security measures, including access control, surveillance, and security infrastructure maintenance.
  4. Environmental Responsibility: Managing hazardous materials and waste disposal is a significant concern. Facility management companies specialize in handling hazardous materials safely and disposing of them in compliance with environmental regulations.
  5. Special Projects: TEAM is a well-established and trusted services provider with over four decades of industry expertise and a strong commitment to safety. Our diverse range of services includes:
    • Consulting and quality services (defect analysis and wizard)
    • Janitorial services
    • Paint (paint booth programs, specialized reclaim)
    • Maintenance and management
    • Engineering services (HVAC, skilled trades)
    • Aerospace waste management
    • Renovations and restorations (cleanrooms, hangars, warehouse, stations)

Over the next three years, nearly 60% of aerospace and defense executives see sustainability as a crucial topic to address across their operations.

A&D Sustainability

In the fight against climate change, aerospace and defense is playing a pivotal role, and its efforts are not only reducing carbon emissions but also creating new revenue streams and business models. A growing emphasis on sustainability has led A&D companies to integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations into their core business strategies. This approach is driving innovation, product design, life cycle planning, and commercial models centered around environmental responsibility.

 

The aviation sector has been responsible for approximately 4% of the historical contribution to global warming, and it accounts for around 14% of the total greenhouse gas emissions stemming from the transport industry.

The A&D sector is actively exploring ways to reduce its carbon footprint. Optimized routes, improved air traffic management, and efficient flight and ground operations can already reduce flight emissions by around 11%.

Beyond reducing emissions, the A&D industry is also exploring opportunities in satellites, drones, geospatial data analytics, and lightweight materials. To fully leverage these advancements, the sector is advised to update its business models, partner ecosystems, and invest in workforce development.

Services Offered by Facility Management Companies

At TEAM, we understand the unique needs of the aerospace and defense sectors. We are committed to delivering top-tier facility maintenance services while prioritizing environmental sustainability. Here’s an overview of the services we offer:

  1. Infection Prevention & COVID-19 Response: In the face of the global health crisis, our specialized teams are equipped to provide comprehensive infection prevention and COVID-19 response services. We employ industry-recommended protocols to ensure the safety and well-being of your workforce while maintaining operational continuity.
  2. Custodial and Janitorial: Our dedicated custodial and janitorial teams are trained to uphold the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene. We meticulously clean and sanitize your facilities, ensuring a safe and healthy environment for your staff and visitors.
  3. Cleanroom Cleaning: We recognize the critical importance of cleanrooms in the aerospace and defense industries. Our experts are proficient in cleanroom cleaning, adhering to stringent protocols to maintain the integrity of controlled environments. This is essential for the precision and safety of your operations.
  4. Floor Care: Our specialized floor care solutions not only enhance the aesthetics of your facility but also extend the life of your flooring materials. We utilize sustainable practices and products to ensure longevity while reducing environmental impact.
  5. Facility Maintenance Solutions: Comprehensive facility maintenance is at the core of our services. We offer a wide range of services, from routine maintenance to specialized equipment upkeep, to ensure the seamless operation of your facilities. Our approach combines efficiency and sustainability to minimize downtime and maximize cost-effectiveness.
  6. Sustainability Consulting: Environmental sustainability is a priority for us, and we provide sustainability consulting to help your aerospace and defense company adopt eco-friendly practices. Our experts will collaborate with your team to implement sustainable initiatives, reduce your carbon footprint, and align with industry-specific sustainability guidelines.
  7. Engineering Services: Our comprehensive engineering services cover HVAC systems and skilled trades to ensure the efficient functioning of your facilities and equipment, contributing to both safety and operational excellence.
  8. Aerospace Waste Management: We excel in the responsible handling and disposal of aerospace-related waste materials, ensuring compliance with regulations and environmental responsibility.
  9. Renovations and Restorations: Our expertise extends to renovating and restoring various aerospace and defense facilities, including cleanrooms, hangars, warehouses, and more. We are dedicated to enhancing the functionality and appearance of these critical spaces to meet your specific needs.

At TEAM, we stand as your trusted partner in facility maintenance. Our commitment to environmental sustainability ensures that our services not only meet but exceed the rigorous standards of the aerospace and defense industries. We are dedicated to supporting your mission while safeguarding our planet.

Additional Resources

https://kpmg.com/xx/en/home/insights/2023/06/sustainability-in-the-aerospace-defense-industry.html

https://www.iso.org/news/2016/01/Ref2041.html

https://www.team-group.com/aerospace-and-defence-facility-maintenance/

https://www.team-group.com/award-winning-aerospace-defense/

https://www.team-group.com/waste-management/