Dust control for trimming, grinding
A dust control system for trimming and grinding operations can greatly improve the working condi- tions while containing dust that could affect nearby parts. A state-of-the-art dust control system trans- ports fiberglass particles away from the worker and collects it for proper disposal. The system then re- circulates clean air back to the work area.
Structural Composite Technologies operates two grinding booths to accommodate its two main lines. The company produces large fabrications such as vessels, stacks, tanks, and other process equipment, along with a commodity line for bathtubs and show- er enclosures. Digital controls also allow fabricators to monitor and control the process through a web browser, to turn aspects of the system on and off, adjust temper- atures, change timers, etc.
The company’s large grinding booth was designed to hold very large parts – products that often require a bridge crane. As a result, the room was essentially a 4-wall chamber with no roof – a unique require- ment within the industry.
“The challenge was that this grinding booth needed to be accessible by a bridge crane so there is no roof,” says Zadro. “So, we’re blowing air with the system over a part and capturing the dust so it does- n’t fly out the top or fill the rest of the shop.”
These controls helped Piedmont Fiberglass to reduce energy costs during three non-production days each week. “In the winter we let the plant cool down and then on Sunday afternoon, we turn the temperature up so when the workers arrive the plant is at operat- ing temperature,” explains Caudle.
Automatic controls and monitoring
Digital controls, such as those supplied by Frees Inc., are another avenue to minimize costs. These intelligent systems can sense that styrene producing activity is occurring and ventilate accordingly result- ing in an estimated 30%-60% or more energy cost savings.
The system automatically cycles equipment off or reduces operation to minimum levels when styrene producing activity ceases. This can be accom- plished in several ways, including motion sensors, monitoring resin flow, or other methods that fit the customer’s manufacturing process.
Temperature control for worker comfort
One of the major benefits of a state-of-the-art venti- lation system is facility cooling and heating to keep the shop at the recommended 70-75 degrees for worker comfort and the process itself. Constantly warming sub-zero degree incoming air would require exorbitant energy costs, as would constant cooling on a muggy 90 degree day.
Today’s ventilation systems utilize heat recovery equipment to recover the bulk of the heat from dis- charged air to heat the incoming air. In the summer, evaporative coolers are similarly employed.
At Piedmont Fiberglass, hot muggy summers in the South required an evaporative cooling system. “We are in North Carolina and in the summer it gets unbearable,” says Caudle. “In the shop this year, the guys were very comfortable.”
“Our ventilation system has allowed us to showcase our facility with pride,” says Zadro. “We constantly get calls about our system from other fabricators, because they want to know about it.”
“The entire ventilation system is tied into our com- pressed air system,” says Douglas Caudle, president of Piedmont Fiberglass in North Carolina. Piedmont Fiberglass manufactures architectural fixtures for churches as well as a host of other products.
“With our previous system, the unit would run con- stantly. This system only operates when it is needed and that makes it much more energy efficient,” says Caudle. “We actually quadrupled the size of our facility and our energy bill remained the same.”
“Our utility, Manitoba Hydro, did an energy audit on our system and with the heat exchanger and digi- tal controls and based on incentive programs the utility paid for the first year of our energy system, reducing our payback by a year,” says Zadro. For more information about Frees Inc., call 1-800- 978-FREES, or visit www.freesinc.com. The com- pany is located at 2524 Samford Ave, Shreveport, LA 71103.
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