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How a Traffic Paint Manufacturer Became Environmentally Friendly

Traffic Paint Manufacturer Became Environmentally Friendly by Simultaneously Reducing Waste and Increasing End-Product Quality.

(PRWEB) October 19, 2005 -- Centerline Industries calculated that--with labor and disposal--bag filters were costing the company about $50,000 USD a year. Centerline is the largest traffic paint manufacturer in the United States.

In an industry where the contract typically goes to the lowest bidder, keeping manufacturing costs down is the key to survival.

Centerline Industries replaced bag filters with Ronningen-Petter DCF self-cleaning filters in its three paint-manufacturing plants. By doing so, they instantaneously became environmentally friendly and dramatically reduced their waste. All the while increasing production rates at the sites.

Centerline Industries manufactures waterborne and solvent-based fast-drying paints in 300 different formulations. Since the 1970‘s, the company has used disposable bags to filter excess solids and other impurities from the paint prior to packaging and shipping. At about $3.00 USD per bag, the initial outlay for the fabric bags was low. Over the years, however, costs associated with using them had steadily climbed.

Centerline manufactures paint in up to 6,000-gallon (22,712 liters) batch runs, and was often changing bags two to thirty times per batch. Each time a bag required changing, production was stopped, and the bag was taken to a machine that squeezed the paint out so raw pigments trapped in the bag could be reused.

Due to spillover, however, up to two gallons (7.6 liters) of paint were lost every time a bag was changed. Occasionally, the bags ruptured, and cleaning up the mess slowed production and increased downtime. If a bag split while drums or tankers were being filled for shipment, Centerline had to rerun the contaminated batch.

Costs to dispose of the bags were also becoming problematic. The bags were treated as hazardous waste, and disposal cost was $200 USD a drum. Centerline was sending many drums a week to the hazardous waste landfill.

Mr. Robert Fischer, CEO, whose father and grandfather founded the company in 1945 said, ”with labor and disposal, bags cost us about $50,000 USD a year. We were well aware of the problem. We decided to be proactive and find a solution.” The company determined any new filtering system had to meet the following criteria:

1. Reduce the amount of waste created by the filtering process and reduce related disposal costs.

2. Increase throughput and speed production while reducing downtime.

3. Improve product quality by filtering more efficiently.

In addition, any filter system chosen would have to handle both the solvent-based paints and the harder to filter, slow running water-based paints. The water-based paints are 74 percent solids by weight, with a viscosity of 750 to 1000 cps, and comprise 70% of Centerline‘s business.

Ronningen-Petter Solution
Centerline tested a Ronningen-Petter Self-cleaning DCF-400 filter in its St. Louis, Missouri plant. The DCF-400 was equipped with an automated system that cleaned the filter screen and purged automatically at timed intervals.

Fischer said, “We put the filter on the worst problems we had. We figured if it worked on the very, very rare bad situations, then it would work on normal ones.” After the initial testing, Centerline installed two larger DCF-800 units. These DCF-800 filters were equipped with Teflon seals to stand up to the solvent-based paints.

Soon after, Centerline installed five more DCF-800 units in the St. Louis plant, four DCF-800s in the Hannibal, Missouri plant, and three DCF-800s in the Ennis, Texas plant.

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