The piping company uses thermosetting plastics for the manufacture of products for residential, commercial and infrastructure sectors. The whole process is very much an exacting one with the ability to cool the thermosets playing a vital part in total plant capacity. This is a high temperature moulding process whereby the product is manufactured at temperatures above 200°C. The cure or cooling time required to achieve physical stability therefore dictates this production capacity.
By applying chilled water through fine cooling tracks found in the moulding head the thermosets can be hardened quickly. If this cooling system blocks or becomes fouled for any reason the thermosets take longer to harden which effectively slows down production. In reality this could translate into a slowdown of just 10 seconds. However if you multiply this slowdown across an entire production line, this would seriously affect production capacity and ultimately the bottom line.
In this particular instance, the maintenance team had been trying to control a number of issues they were experiencing with its closed loop cooling system which was not only displaying discolouration through red deposits but had become a breeding ground for bacteria. They were mainly concerned about the water quality in the cooling system, which was giving out an extremely unpleasant odour. A continuous programme of chemical treatment to kill the bacteria had been put in place but this was causing a build-up of dead bacteria, the resultant slime consequently blocking the system. Production then had to be stopped for cleaning purposes. As this was a repeating cycle of events it was causing a lot of problems.
IPS therefore recommended that the installation of its Crossflow AMF media filtration technology which was fitted as a side stream filter during the summer months.
“The effects of the filter were seen quite quickly with clean water established within 3 to 4 weeks,” said Steve Cupples, managing director of Industrial Purification. “Of course this meant that there were savings to be made against the reduction of chemical use but the real savings were on the cycle times. The build-up of slime had been affecting the cooling capacity thereby extending curing times; by cleaning up the water the flow rates increased, stoppages for cleaning time were reduced and production speed on the moulding machines could be maintained at original levels.
“Whilst those working in the moulding plant will be enjoying a much better working environment having eradicated the odour emanating from the water, it is too early to establish other benefits. However, from experience we know that the company will see a big improvement in energy savings and with maintenance down time now being practically non-existent we would expect the company to see a quick return on their investment.”