Cleaning The Electronic-melt Vault For Kohler Co.

Founded in 1873, Kohler Company is a Wisconsin-based manufacturer best known for its plumbing products and fixtures. Today, Kohler fabricates a wide range of equipment, including furniture, cabinetry, generators, engines, and more.

Project Background

In January 2018, Great Lakes Power Vac was approached by Kohler to assist with cleanup after an electrical fire left an imprint of smoke and soot inside a control room in its electrical melt area.

The job specifications included top to bottom power vacuuming of the floors and walls to remove residue and clean the Electronic-Melt Vault.


“Timing and flexibility were the biggest demands. We still had undamaged equipment in the area, and the way we had to rotate power is what dictated the schedule.” – Derek MacKenzie, Kohler Co.    

Several aspects of the Kohler project required extra care and attention. Our primary challenge, however, came in the form of power (or the lack thereof).

Following the electrical fire, power to the area was nonexistent. This meant our team of experts needed portable lighting in order to perform work. This also meant we were only able to use the vacuum from our trucks, since utilizing electrically powered equipment was not feasible.

Another potential hazard was the possibility of high lead content within the dust that needed to be vacuumed. It was essential that GLPV used the proper precautions and personal protective equipment (PPE) in performing the vacuuming. Time was of the essence, as well, because the area needed to get back up and running as soon as possible.

Great Lakes Power Vac’s Solution

After first learning of the project on a Friday and performing a site visit the same day, Great Lakes Power Vac was able to mobilize a four-person crew to be on-site the next morning, equipped with a vacuum truck, vacuum hose and pipe, and additional equipment needed to clean the control room.

Kohler set up portable lighting units, which our team augmented with head lamps and other personnel lights to improve visibility, so we could begin work.

We then donned the proper PPE (including full-face respirators with P100 filters) to clean the target debris without risking exposure to contaminants. Once a hose was carefully run to the work area, removal of the sooty residue commenced.

While there was no working electrical power in the area, there was still the potential for the electrical transformers that GLPV personnel was working around to be energized. Great Lakes Power Vac collaborated with electricians from the foundry to lock out the electrical transformers, which were powered off in 4-hour increments so that we could safely clean around them.

Our meticulous team of professionals was able to effectively complete cleaning and vacuuming of the debris on time, and on budget. 

In Search of Industrial Cleaning?

Great Lakes Power Vac can offer high-performance industrial vacuuming and cleaning services for routine maintenance, plant outages/shutdowns, or emergency response situations.

Whether your company needs a scheduled cleaning or emergency service, be sure to contact us online today or give us a call at 800.822.4887.


Contact us today to learn more about our services or to find out how we can help your organization.