For any production facility, up-time is paramount. Machines churning and grinding equals profit, and the sound of silence is typically less desirable. For processes that generate dangerous Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs), uptime can be limited by both control of the emissions and safety considerations for your employees.
A tape manufacturer faced such a problem. They required emission control of solvent VOCs from their tape making process. They also wanted to provide a Permanent Total Enclosure (PTE) around their equipment to protect the health and safety of their facility, their employees and maintain a nuisance, odor-free environment.
As experts in the tape industry, they rightly reached out to a small, local engineering firm to design the PTE and size the VOC abatement device. Further, sensitive to their business needs, they approved the lowest cost solution using minimal ductwork and the purchase of a used oxidizer.
However, the decision to entrust their production uptime, worker safety and EPA compliance to an inexperienced consultant
resulted in undersized and malfunctioning equipment, which proved to be disastrous. It is never a best practice to let cost
be the only driver when selecting a technology which may impact production.
A Costly Low-Cost Decision
After having the PTE constructed and the used thermal oxidizer installed, the manufacturer ramped up production and rapidly became aware that the system was not working as sold. The number of air exchanges in the room was inadequate, requiring the employees to labor in gas masks. Moreover, though the used thermal oxidizer suffered from frequent shutdowns, the manufacturer would not support the equipment. More importantly, even when operating, the air pollution control (APC) device could not meet the Destruction Removal Efficiency (DRE) permit requirements, resulting in intermittent production uptime and ultimately a total facility shutdown coupled with the largest non-compliance fine ever levied by the state.
A Need For Trusted Expertise
To resolve the situation, the manufacturer brought a more established and experienced consulting firm on board, who immediately realized the capture and abatement system was woefully undersized. The Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) firm, after putting together new design specifications, reached out to Anguil to assess the abatement device. Anguil visited the site, spoke with the manufacturer concerning their project needs and determined that a Model 50 Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO) was the ideal solution.
In addition, in the interim prior to the new equipment install, Anguil was asked to try and get the used thermal oxidizer operational. However, it was found the fuel train did not contain the proper valves to control the burner. A plastic bottle cap had been installed in one pressure regulator in an effort to provide enough supplemental fuel. In addition, the wiring for the process damper had never been completed, rendering it inoperable. This last situation is a significant and potentially explosive safety concern.
Despite these challenges, Anguil was able to get the used competitor’s unit operating safely and sufficiently to meet most of their current tape orders. However, the manufacturer had to temporarily relocate production to their overseas facility to meet domestic demand during reconstruction of the PTE, ductwork and installation of the new
Anguil RTO, causing significant business implications including temporary assignment of domestic personnel overseas, increased shipping costs, uncertain lead times as well as all the headaches and hassles coming with coordination of the effort.
In order to meet the deadline established by the regulatory body to bring the facility back into compliance, Anguil was able to adjust their manufacturing schedule to complete the RTO with sufficient time to perform a full shop test prior to shipping. The unit was shipped, installed and brought up to temperature in a few hours during fresh air commissioning. As soon as process air was sent to the RTO, the Anguil unit met DRE expectations from day one, allowing the facility to ramp up production and provide the desired level of worker safety. Further, because the oxidizer was properly sized (with room for expansion), the manufacturer was able to keep production within normal operating hours and eliminate overtime costs.
If you have a critical production process where every minute of downtime costs you money, don’t use cost as the only decision making criteria. Rather, select a system which meets your production needs, has demonstrated reliability and long-term support from the supplier. If you value uptime, call Anguil today for your VOC and HAP emissions control needs. Sleep well at night knowing that your Anguil air pollution control device will keep you up and running.