Colt Manufacturing Co. LLC

Improving worker safety and softening environmental impact with industrial grade bio-renewable cleaners


1000 employees

Manufacturing company dedicated to the delivery of innovative firearms to military, law enforcement and civilian customers through a commitment to quality and safety.

Business Objectives
Eliminate high-temperature alkaline degreasing baths and associated steam hazards from firearms cleaning processes. Improve worker safety and reduce operating costs.

Approach and Solution
Deploy Bio-Circle CB 100 as a safer, greener and longer-lasting alternative to energy-intensive, and potentially hazardous, cleaning processes.

When U.S. firearms manufacturer Colt Manufacturing wanted to go green, Bio-Circle led the way. A major supplier to America’s military, Colt had long sought a safe, environment-friendly and cost-effective alternative to toxic materials used in its weapons cleaning operations. It chose Bio-Circle’s CB 100. A natural water-based cleaner, CB 100 eliminates the need for frequent replenishment, monthly waste disposal and toxic material management challenges.

"We constantly seek ways to lower our operating costs and improve our workers wellbeing"

Lewis Lamson,
Colt’s Manufacturing Engineer

"There was a lot of daily communication to address Colt’s concerns quickly and ensure that testing went well".

Steve Haynes,
Bio-Circle Territory Manager

Reduce waste – increase safety

Colt sought dramatic improvements to its firearms cleaning processes. The company identified worker safety and reduced chemical waste as key priorities. Colt technicians generally employed a manual cleaning system involving caustic chemicals. The company’s use of a high-temperature alkaline degreaser bath would generate high levels of hot steam when cleaning gun components. This posed a danger to exposed workers who, encumbered by heavy personal protective equipment, worked as a group in a single, cramped room with limited ventilation. In addition, these high pH cleaners had to be neutralized before disposal and had to be replaced weekly, which was very expensive. Bio-Circle led Colt through a three-month testing period. After analyzing Colt’s processes and needs, CB 100 was identified as the right solution. Working closely with the manufacturer, on-site testing revealed CB 100’s high-strength degreasing properties, and the Bio-Circle team addressed an array of technical queries and business questions on how to maximize the industrial cleaner’s effectiveness. "There was a lot of daily communication to address Colt’s concerns quickly and ensure testing went well," says Steve Haynes, Bio-Circle Territory Manager. "There were many 'what-if' scenarios – Colt put in many variables and tried as many experiments as they could." One key test Colt undertook while trialing CB 100 was for signs of product corrosion. “Rust is a concern,” says Haynes.

"Colt didn’t want any issues to arise with its military customers." None did. Colt employs a simple rack system where components are readied for a multi-stage cleaning process in a threechambered Bio-Circle immersion bath. Step one involves a CB 100 solution in which components soak for ten minutes until clean. Step two is a quick dip in a rinse chamber. Then, in a final step, cleaned components are treated with a Bio-Circle corrosion inhibitor. The result: immaculate parts that are ready for inspection, re-oiling, assembling and shipment to their customers.

Natural and long lasting

CB 100 is solvent-free, non-caustic and biodegradable. It is among the safest and most efficient solutions for companies keen to eliminate regulatory paperwork and the need for respiratory and ventilation equipment associated with solvent-based, or caustic cleaning systems. Another advantage is longevity. Depending on how much the product is used, it can last up to a year. Over time a user can just skim the top of the immersion bath with an absorbent pad to remove any excess oils and greases. Formulated from renewable natural resources, CB 100 is designed to remove tough industrial contaminants such as oil, grease, tar and more.

Building the relationship

Since deploying Bio-Circle, Colt now functionally tests and discharges its firearms on a firing range and, after testing, the weapons are disassembled, cleaned with CB 100, oiled, reassembled and shipped. "If the firearms are 100% accurate, they are cleaned thoroughly in a CB 100 dip tank, inspected one more time, and sent off to their new homes," says Haynes.

The BlackHawk Industrial connection

BlackHawk Industrial, a distributor of metalworking, maintenance, operation and production supplies, has been a Bio-Circle reseller for almost a decade. The Broken Arrow, Oklahoma-based company introduced Bio-Circle to Colt and other manufacturers with immediate success. "We began introducing Bio-Circle products to our customers, telling them how environment-friendly it is," says Carl Hynes, Sales Manager at BlackHawk Industrial. "From there, it took off."

BlackHawk has worked with Colt for over 40 years, supplying 90% of the company’s cutting tools needs. Hynes says Colt’s introduction to CB 100 strengthened an already deep relationship while easing the gun maker’s environmental compliance issues. "CB 100 has made a big impact at Colt because of its ease of use and lack of waste," Hynes says. "That saves everybody money and that’s a big piece of what makes it attractive."

Results and customer benefits

Energy savings upon eliminating use of high-temperature alkaline degreaser baths

Elimination of toxic steam hazards associated with high-heat chemical cleaning processes

Ease of use: bio-renewable CB 100 can be used at room temperature

Reduced protective equipment requirements and improved worker safety

PH-neutral CB 100 is skin-safe: no risk of caustic burns

Reduced costs associated with disposal of toxic materials

Three-month trial facilitated purchasing approvals