We are committed to reducing our environmental impact. Here's how:
Anodizing is the protective and aesthetic coating often applied to aluminum. It can help products function better and last longer so it is an important part of product design. Anodizing uses some chemicals that are harmless when correctly treated, but are definately harmful if disposed of improperly. Environmental controls on anodizing are very strict in the USA and we only anodize here, never in other countries.
Almost all our anodizing is done by Pilkington Metal Finishing in Salt Lake City. We have "grown up" with them. When Rock Exotica was operating out of a garage, Pilkington had only a couple of colors. Now they are huge, with more colors and better quality than anyone else we've ever used. They are in a new, modern and clean facility.
Pilkington once told us that 40% of their costs were spent complying with regulations. In some parts of the world anodizing is much less expensive; you can guess why.
Our products are mostly aluminum and aluminum is one of the most recylable materials there is. Every week a truck pulls up and takes away a bunch aluminum chips heading for a 2nd life. Just think, the next time you are enjoying a cold beer, or, if you're in Utah, a refreshing, non-alcoholic beverage, you may be drinking from a can made from what was left over when we made a Pirate carabiner or an Omni-Block pulley.
Machining aluminum requires a coolant or else it soon sticks to the the cutting tool and forms a wicked, melting mass that breaks the tool and causes a rip in the very fabric of spacetime. The coolant is about 95% water and 5% oil/lubricant. The coolant is used in a closed system and lasts a long time. If we need to change it at some point, we boil off the water and send the remaining oil to a power generating plant where it is used to produce electricity.
Our "Recyled" Building
We are in a great building. It's in an industrial park that was originally a big government depot. It has clearstory windows that reduce the need for lighting. It is well insulated and held up by massive timbers on 24 foot centers, so there is a lot of open space.There are big overhead doors at each end. We don't have a fancy airconditioning system; we just open all the doors and let the breeze come through. They don't make them like this anymore.
Electricity & Heat
Operating 24 hours/day means that a lot of our electricity use occurs at non-peak times. In the winter, the building is well enough insulated that the heat from the machines keeps it warm enough that we use very little or no gas for heating. Our heat treat ovens are electric. This is more expensive than gas but much cleaner and avoids the nasty atmospheric contaminants.