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Support - Frequently Asked Questions & Answers


How long does it take to do a batch?

Typically, heat up time of an hour or two, and a gallon an hour, but it depends on many variables. What solvent? How dirty? Humidity and barometric pressure? Elevation? Latent heat characteristics, etc. The Sidewinder was designed to process 50 gallons a week, during a five day work week. If a user processes 50 gallons a week and his expense to buy plus legal disposal is a conservative $5.00 - $10.00 a gallon, the Sidewinder will pay for itself in 14-15 weeks. If time is a problem you need more units to put more money back in your pocket. Check with your accountant for the tax benefits.

What do I do with the waste left over?

We must tell you to treat the residue as hazardous waste until your local landfill and environmental officials tell you otherwise. By using this machine you are probably a very small quantity generator, but by all means avoid becoming classified as a waste generator which the Sidewinder will help you avoid. EPA likes what you’re doing and will work with you. More lenient laws now apply to you. Continue to accumulate the small amount of residue in a 55 gallon drum. Once it is full and capped, you have at least six more months to have it hauled away. For more information please visit the EPA compliance information site.

Does it cost more to have the residue hauled away?

Not in real terms. Picture yourself generating a drum of waste a month at $150.00 without a Sidewinder. That’s $5,400.00 every three years, right? With a Sidewinder you could generate in the neighborhood of a drum of residue at about $350.00 every three years.

I have some really old thinner on hand, can I recycle it?

As often as not, people do not really know for sure what is in the old collection. If this is your case, take your lumps and dispose of the waste. This application is where we see the worst compatibility problems with old solvents and acids, water, nitrocellulose, corrosion, etc. Use a Sidewinder in your day to day processing and you won’t accumulate this problem again.

Do I need a new five gallon can for each batch?

Where people are playing catch up and processing an old really dirty collection of waste you may wish to use a Sidewinder processing bag to line the cooking bucket. Typically people use a few dedicated cooking buckets for current day to day processing. In many cases the residue will begin to crumble like old pavement after several batches and can be crumbled and dumped out, however, most people prefer the convenience of the Sidewinder processing bag.

What about processing bags?

Many people find it convenient to use Sidewinder processing bags in their waste management programs. You must still use a bucket if you choose to use Sidewinder processing bags. Just place the Sidewinder processing bag in a clean open top metal bucket and fold down the sides like lining a waste can. For best results when using Sidewinder processing bags, start with a clean open top metal bucket, bags will stick to dirty buckets containing paint or coatings residue.

What kind of warranty do I get?

One year limited warranty. Ask your dealer for a copy.

What about service after the warranty?

Feel free to call the Factory located in Las Vegas, Nevada. We are on PST time and are open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday thru Friday. Please have your serial # ready to give customer service.

What is nitrocellulose?

Nitrocellulose is an ester of cellulose and nitric acid. It is used as a component of many lacquers, inks, adhesives and cements. It becomes very unstable when heated and dry. It auto ignites at 275 F - 330 F in a violent , exothermic reaction to form a dense cloud containing potentially toxic levels of nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide. It is extremely corrosive. Do not process nitrocellulose in your Sidewinder. It is dangerous and related damage is not covered by warranty.

What is the operating pressure?

The Sidewinder operates at the prevailing atmospheric pressure. It is not a pressurized device.

Do I have to shut it off?

No, the Sidewinder has control logic that monitors the process and turns itself off when finished. You can by pressing the button once until the light goes off.

How long have you been in business?

Happily, since 1987.

Can I turn it off?

Yes, push the button to turn off the red light. The Sidewinder will proceed with a shutdown cycle.

What does Class I, Division 1 hazardous location mean?

If a recyler is not certified by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory for use in a normal location, it did not pass the vapor concentration test for normal locations (U.S Fire Code requires that a solvent distillation unit must be used only in locations in accordance with its listing) you must build a special room to house the potentially "hazardous" unit. Look around your shop. Do you have normal or weird special classified lighting? Do you have normal or weird looking electrical outlets and switches on the wall? Do you use normal electrical devices (drill motors, coffee pots, air compressors, welders, etc.) or special devices marked Class I, Division 1?. If everything is normal, get a Sidewinder Model M-2 Recycler, certified by UL for use in normal locations.

What kind of maintenance is there?

Maintenance is simple. Check the clean solvent outlet tubes for obstructions before each batch. Keep the unit and its operating area clean and clear of debris. Follow the periodic maintenance schedule in the owners manual. Do not forget to check the fan blade for build up and by the way the access panel is not the front panel it is the one with the louvers and serial number on it.

Can I use a plastic bucket?

No, it will melt and make a big mess.

Can I change the temperature myself?

There is limited customer adjustability. Always consult the factory prior to making any adjustments.

Do I need a bigger machine?

We’ve discovered that to double the machine size in order to process 100 gallons a week, would more than double the cost to the customer for the larger unit. If you need to process more than 50 gallons a week, two machines is the cost effective answer. Handling that bulk of hazardous material is troublesome and must be handled properly.

Can I move the Sidewinder to another location?

We recommend unit must be bolted to the floor and hard wired. If moving the unit is required, be sure it is empty of solvent. If the unit must be tipped on its side, be sure the electrical box and refrigeration grille are up and the logo face panel and on/off button are face down.

Is the recycled solvent as good as the new?

I can tell you yes. Our blind test have left people stumped have shown people cannot tell the difference. You be the judge.

Can you list the solvents I can process?

Discuss your needs with your dealer or the factory, it is easier to tackle your individual situation.

What about chlorinated solvents?

Many users are satisfactorily processing chlorinated solvents. You should be aware, however, that this is an area where additional maintenance cost could be incurred because of potential acid and corrosion problems.

How much does it cost to do a batch?

Five to six cents an hour here locally, less than 50 cents.

How many amps? Volts?

110-120 volts, about 11amps. 60 hz, single phase. We advise using a dedicated circuit whenever possible.

Can I put it outside?

The Sidewinder is not intended for uncovered outdoor use. The Sidewinder should be in a covered area, protected from rain and direct sunlight. Operating the unit in a cold environment will result in slower processing. Operation in a hot environment could allow some of your clean solvent to evaporate. The Sidewinder is designed for use in ambient temperature from 50° F (10° C) to 95° F (35° ) .

Can I cook water?

The Sidewinder was designed to recycle solvents which have different characteristics and properties than water.

What happens if I mix solvents?

The mixture you put in dirty is the blend that you will get back clean.

Is it EPA approved?

EPA is not in the business of approving or certifying any commercial equipment. They are in the business of protecting the environment by enforcing laws with heavy fines and cleanup cost to violators. They give advice to the waste generator and offer many educational publications. They do endorse "in house" recycling for dirty solvents, because this minimizes hazardous waste. For more information please visit the EPA compliance information site.

I just pay a licensed hauler to pick up my dirty stuff, why should I worry?

Be careful, just because it’s out of sight it shouldn’t be out of mind. Your name and EPA identification number are on it. It’s still yours. Anyone can become a licensed waste hauler, it’s easy. If they spill it or it leaks, the cleanup costs are yours. Just a few gallons spilled on the ground can cost you your business. You have a "cradle to grave" responsibility. Times are changing. The politicians are not at war with the Russians anymore, the cold war is over. The new battle is over the environment.

Is it true that you must add refrigerant all the time?

We know where that comes from.  We have tens of thousands of M-2s out there.  There has been less than a handful that had some rough handling and needed leak testing, though they were in use for years before they were moved, knocked over or something.  So no.  BTW, over 28 years at this writing we have averaged less than one warranty claim per year.