Environmentally friendly operations are increasingly on the minds of manufacturing companies.
Powder coating, rather than conventional liquid paint, has been the preferred method of applying paint to finished metal surfaces. The organic powder is less expensive than spray paint to begin with, the application process is safer and more efficient, and the end result is a thicker and more durable coating. But in recent years, leaders in metal finishing have developed an even more efficient, eco-friendly method of paint coating.
During production, small-batch powder coating is common. The least efficient part of the process is the heating of both the curing ovens and the pre-treatment solution tank.
This innovative system uses available oven space by adding a heat exchanger to capture dormant heat that would otherwise go to waste. The system is made up of a closed, coupled pumping system that consists of valves. It is controlled completely with non-return valves, has its own control stats and interlocks with the main oven when firing.
The pre-treatment solution is taken from the lowest part of the tank and keeps the solution moving. The solution is then pushed through the stainless steel heat exchanger and passed back through the process tank. At every pass of the heat exchanger, the solution will pick up heat and in hardly any time at all, the exchanger will take over the heating process.
At the beginning of an operator’s shift, the pre-treatment tank burner and oven should be turned on. The heat exchanger has the ability to fully heat the pre-treatment tank, which will save significant time.
In fact, this new system is estimated to change normal run rates of pre-treatment tank heating from 6.5 hours per shift to just 1.5 hours per shift. This is a direct savings for the employee and it means that there is no additional load on the curing oven.
The estimated required rate of gas usage drops from 65 percent demand to 6 percent, which could save about 90 percent in gas costs. On average, the payback on the system install is 54 days, depending on the number of hours it is being used.
Looking for other ways to adopt greener practices to make your company more eco-friendly and efficient?
Adopting eco-friendly practices doesn’t mean you have to completely redesign your warehouse or installation processes. Small changes can mean big rewards in energy savings.
To start, identify ways the company can eliminate excess packaging or materials that cause harmful toxins to be released into the environment. Choose biodegradable materials, reuse items as much as possible and remember to recycle those that you can’t reuse.
In addition, look at the electrical system that is in place and see if there are ways you can reduce your company’s electricity consumption by upgrading your system completely, replacing lighting to be more energy efficient or unplugging things that aren’t in use on a regular basis.
Your company’s carbon footprint matters. Sometimes all it takes is a few simple changes to make a huge difference.
About the Author: Sara Thompson writes for Storee Construction Co, a family owned and operated industrial construction company in Springfield, Missouri since 1966. Read more on their blog.