Latest Case Studies & White Papers

Raising the bar in challenging, large-capacity hoist installations

Supplying, installing, load testing and LOLER certifying a wide range of manual and powered hoist units, Hoist & Winch Ltd has extensive experience and expertise in all kinds of industrial lifting operations. However, certain projects require special know-how, such as the installation of large-capacity, electric-powered wire-rope hoists in challenging and restricted access applications. And yet even in these situations, Hoist & Winch has a proven methodology to ensure a high-performance, efficient, safety-certified outcome for customers.

Every hoist installation is different, and most generally present some level of challenge to overcome, typically relating to the dimensional clearances of the hoist unit or the logistics of general access conditions.

When the hoist unit’s dimensional clearances are particularly critical, Hoist & Winch Ltd carries out a detailed survey prior to manufacture, ensuring that the complete installation can perform the required tasks with sufficient operating clearance.

On some occasions, a pre-installation survey is required to check site/work area access conditions. Hoist & Winch Ltd will subsequently submit its Risk Assessment and Method Statement (RAMS) for approval by the customer prior to starting work. These documents detail the installation procedure, the equipment intended for use, and the hazards and risks associated with the various tasks. In addition, the documents will set out how it is possible to minimise or negate these risks.

A recent cement plant project involving challenging installation access conditions highlights how the capability and knowledge of Hoist & Winch Ltd proves extremely useful in delivering a successful outcome for customers.

                                                                                                                                                            Continued ……

This complex project involved replacing an obsolete, 10-tonne SWL (safe working load), electric-powered wire-rope hoist unit with 60m lifting height. The task was required ahead of the cement production facility carrying out extensive modification work to its pre-heater tower. The pre-heater tower is 100m high and the existing hoist unit was located at the 60m level on a monorail beam that cantilevers out of the building for approximately 8m. Both the obsolete hoist unit and monorail beam had been dormant for many years, which meant that Hoist & Winch Ltd’s scope of supply included the load testing and thorough examination of not just the new wire-rope hoist unit, but also the monorail beam.

Among the first tasks was to remove the existing wire-rope hoist unit, which weighed 3 tonnes. Hoist & Winch Ltd decided to cut this down in sections using gas-burning equipment as many of the hoist parts were badly seized and not easy to dismantle in the conventional way. Initially, the company removed these sections to a specially constructed scaffold work platform located below the hoist installation area. Each piece of the obsolete hoist was then lowered further to the nearest adjacent floor level 16m below using manual chain blocks for movement to the goods lift access located at that level.

Next, Hoist & Winch Ltd had to install the new hoist (weighing 2.2 tonnes) in part dismantled form. The company eased the difficulty of this task by installing a temporary 3-tonne SWL motor trolley mounted, air-powered chain-hoist unit on the monorail beam and raising the new hoist unit the required 60 m from the outdoor ground-floor work area. Hoist & Winch Ltd took great care with the preparation of the chain-hoist unit to ensure reliability during operation as any breakdown during the critical 60m lifting operation would require special access equipment to help resolve any issues. Hoist & Winch Ltd also carried out meticulous checks on the quality, volume and pressure of the air supply.

The next task was to raise the complete new hoist unit to the 60m installation level. From there, Hoist & Winch Ltd used the 3-tonne SWL motor trolley mounted, air-powered chain-hoist unit to transport the new hoist unit into the building and over the temporary scaffold work platform.

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From this position - after first opening up the hoist unit trolley wheels wider than the monorail beam width – the company lifted the wire-rope hoist unit into position. To facilitate this task, Hoist & Winch Ltd deployed four 1-tonne SWL manual chain blocks suspended from each end of two specially fabricated lifting frames clipped into position on the top flange of the monorail beam.

The final tasks included electrical commissioning, assembling the hoist on to the monorail beam and the removal of all temporary lifting equipment. Hoist & Winch Ltd could then perform dynamic load testing of the new wire-rope hoist unit and monorail beam using a skid-mounted, certified 10-tonne test load prior to issue with a LOLER Thorough Examination report. As part of the dynamic load testing procedure, the outdoor cantilever section of the monorail beam was deflection-tested in accordance with BS2853 using a special long-range, outdoor-operation Leica laser mounted to a stable yet precisely adjustable tripod.

“Manufacturing and process plants tend to evolve over time, often compromising general access to existing hoist installations,” explains Andy Allen, Director of Hoist & Winch Ltd. “In other instances, legacy hoists fall into disuse and become obsolete. We’ve seen this on many occasions over the years, but with our in-house design, engineering and manufacturing skills, there is nothing we cannot overcome. If you are in this situation and could benefit from the input of an expert partner, please call for a no-obligation discussion about the potential solutions.”

Visit www.hoistandwinch.co.uk for further information and to view recent case studies.

Long-lasting Chopper Pumps continue to go hell for leather

When Pittards, the leading leather goods producer, moved part of its manufacturing process from Leeds to Yeovil, they made very sure that its long-serving wastewater pumps went with them.

Founded back in 1826* as glove makers, Pittards transferred its dependable long-shaft chopper pumps (made by Landia), even though they were already 15 years old.

“Keeping hold of the Landia pumps was a must”, said Pittards’ Engineering Manager, Tim Copland.

“Pumps in this environment take a huge amount of punishment, dealing with grit and what can be a very slimy mass of small leather pieces that I’m sure would clog other pumps; but with Landia, we’ve never had an issue”.

At its facility in Yeovil, where Pittards makes top quality leather goods, the twin-channel 24/7 wastewater flow of 350m3 to 400m3 per day is first sent to circular tanks containing the Landia long-shaft chopper pumps, before screening, pH control, chemical correction and then to a Lamella clarifier for final separation of particles from the effluent.

In addition to fashion items such as gloves and handbags, Pittards (with a team of 120) makes performance leathers for sports and the military, treating leather from its tannery in Ethiopia with a series of lengthy softening/hardening processes to produce a wide variety of finishes, including fire resistance.

“Depending on the required finish”, added Tim Copland, “our ‘laundry-type’ process, which can require up to 24 hours, simply has to have a reliable, robust wastewater stream. Over the years, the odd lump of something like a corner part of a pallet block will somehow find its way into the drain to cause us to lift a pump out, but thankfully that doesn’t happen too often”.

‘Value for money investment’

He added: “We know that we ask an awful lot of the Landia pumps, which one has to say, are used and abused, but still continue to show what an excellent, value for money investment they’ve been. We are always vigilant of course about our discharge consent – and have a good working relationship with Wessex Water. The pumps play an important role in ensuring that we keep well within our discharge consent”.

To further prolong their lifetime, Tim explained that the long-shaft chopper pumps are swapped around every 6-12 months, with a unit always kept on standby to ensure that there is little or no interruption to the process. Pittards’ first purchase from Landia (who invented the Chopper Pump back in 1950) was in 2002. After proving its worth, four more pumps were secured in the next two years, followed by further purchases in 2019.

 

‘Very Good Gatekeepers’

“The Landia pumps have always been very good gatekeepers”, continued Tim Copland, “even with the slimy, clinging nature of the leather pieces, they just keep on going – and are also very easy to service. And whenever we’ve needed advice, Landia are always available on the ‘phone or in-person to help”.

At Leeds, pumps and mixers from Landia (typically 1500rpm / 7.5kW) kept solids in suspension and improved aeration, greatly enhancing the consistency of the facility’s wastewater discharge. As has been the case at Yeovil, the unique external knife system of the Landia Chopper Pump prevents solids from entering its casing; the long-shaft version of the pump more suited to the application because of the inevitable build-up of solid particles.  Cast iron has proved more than effective at Pittards, but the pumps can also be supplied in various coatings and materials, including acid-proof stainless steel. The operating range is up to 6 bar, which makes the long-shafts ideal for replacing most displacement pumps that may struggle with wastewater containing solids and hard-to handle pieces of debris.

“One of the pumps we have is over 15 years old”, said Tim. “Despite all the wear and tear, it continues to thoroughly chop and pump the particles and larger debris that we have in our wastewater. The recirculation that the pumps provide also helps keep the tanks clean. Back at Leeds there was equipment that was cast-booted in, with no viable option other than to leave it behind, but looking at life expectancy, which we can break down into a weekly cost, keeping hold of the Landia pumps was a decision that continues to prove very wise indeed”.

The Valley Center way - combining energy savings now – with total cost of ownership

At Valley Center Wastewater Treatment Plant, and at an increasing number of facilities across Kansas, the decision to buy the more expensive equipment at the outset is proving to be the most economic. Savings in long-term maintenance are important, but in the shorter term, energy savings are fundamental.

“Total cost of ownership is what we at the plant and our city council are interested in”, said Valley Center’s Utility Manager, Wade Gaylord.

“There’s always a cheap, short-term solution, but it is our duty to act in the best interests of the city and our residents to spend our budget as wisely as we can, which to me it just plain common sense”.

After being laid off from the aerospace industry during the pandemic, Wade sought employment in the wastewater sector, where he could put his university degrees in chemistry and geology to good use.

“I grew up here and later used to drive past the plant on South Sheridan and wonder what was going on in there”, he said. “After aerospace, I was prepared to travel to wherever a good career opportunity became available in the wastewater industry. But as it turned out, there just happened to be a vacancy for an operator, right here in Valley Center”.

Situated about 12 miles north of Wichita, the 0.5 MGD (million gallon per day) wastewater treatment plant (built in 1979) serves 2,700 homes. It includes an extended aeration treatment plant, plus ultraviolet disinfection treatment. Solids removal prior to discharge into the Little Arkansas River typically ranges from an impressive 97.5%-99%.

The recent failure of a mixer at Valley Center demonstrated the firm commitment that now prevails when the true cost of ownership is mapped out, only top quality, long-lasting equipment represents the best value for money.

“To be honest”, said Wade, “I didn’t really understand why the design of the existing mixer’s impeller was the way it was, but what I knew for sure was that it wasn’t very reliable – and that the cost of having it assessed and repaired was prohibitive.  The mixer (7.5HP) had been in use for 10 years, but had a seal-system that was just not user-friendly”.

Wade spoke with multiple equipment representatives, including

Fluid Equipment of Wichita, who has been evaluating and repairing wastewater systems for over half a century. After listening to how Valley Center approached its purchasing, Jeff Ubben at Fluid Equipment recommended a Landia submersible mixer from its portfolio that sat at the top of their price bracket, but one that is set to last for 20-25 years.

‘Look for longevity, as well as best efficiency’

“I immediately liked the Landia design”, added Wade, especially the sealing system, which protects the most important part of the mixer. We have great cohesion in our team here at Valley Center, including our Infrastructure Manager, Ron Ekstrom, who has worked here for over 20 years. When we thoroughly weighed out all the pros and cons, we saw that Landia was the most expensive purchase. However, when I presented the total cost of ownership to the city, they could see that it made by far the most sense. Our administration definitely looks for longevity, as well as best efficiency, and in 10 years’ time or less, I don’t want an operator to have to deal with the same problems that I’ve had”.

‘A better job, even though it uses much less energy’

Jeff Ubben at Fluid Equipment, commented: “For the wastewater industry, it is very encouraging to see a young utility manager and a city push hard for better quality equipment that will stand the test of time. With a Landia mixer, Valley Center can see that they won’t have the annoying maintenance issues that lesser designed mixers will create. And as well as lasting much longer, the mixer we recommended will also do a better job, even though it uses much less energy”.

With its backward sweeping propellers, the design of the Landia mixer ensures that rags can’t cling on and damage the seals. The protective grease hub in the propeller guards the seals, and is hard to wash away. It acts as an important first line of defence against all types of debris. The Landia seal system is well proven and eliminates immediate and expensive seal fail condition.

Jeff Ubben at Fluid Equipment pointed out that Landia can very often reuse an existing mixer manufacturer’s guiderail, so that installation can proceed without the tank having to be emptied.

So again, despite Landia appearing to initially be at the high end of the price list, a retrofit doesn’t incur anywhere near the additional costs of other designs.

 

‘Hadn’t seen the basin ever mixed like that before!’

“Previously”, said Wade, “we knew that the old 7.5 HP mixer was working and mixing – to some extent – but when the Landia mixer was installed, we turned it on and hadn’t seen the basin ever mixed like that before! The volume that the Landia mixer put through, mixing the basin from the bottom up, was pleasantly surprising; changing the dynamics for a much better process all round. All of this, too, with just a 4.9 HP motor! The amp draw of the Landia gear-driven mixer is lower than what we saw with other manufacturers (7 amps compared to the 10 and 12 amps of the others). On just this one mixer, running two hours on, two hours off, we are making an energy saving of $58 per week, which is over $3,000 per year. The return on investment is a no brainer”.

www.landiaworld.com

On the website of tomato producer Guy & Wright (established 1928), the company describes itself as: ‘being complete idiots; building our own AD plant’.

Fifteen years ago, when the first 1800m3 digester was built on the 100-acre site in Hertfordshire, England, John Jones (great grandson of Mr Guy) could be forgiven for wondering what on earth he’d taken on. As if producing hundreds of tons of top-quality tomatoes each year wasn’t enough to think about, he was now getting to grips with that very steep biogas learning curve of feedstocks, temperatures and digestates.

A decade and a half on, with a second, 7000m3 digester, no energy bills, and enough excess power to sell for the equivalent of 1500 homes, Guy & Wright are a shining example of how to survive and thrive though diversification into renewable energy.

None of us could have predicted the sudden, massive leap in energy prices that are such a challenge today, but even in the early 2000s, rising fuel costs were already a big concern for John Jones. In the heat-thirsty production of tomatoes, he knew he had to act in order to protect and develop the family business.

At first, five natural-gas-powered 115kW micro-turbines were installed to produce hot water, electricity and CO2. This process enabled Guy & Wright to apply for ROCs (Renewable Obligation Certificates), which at the time, allowed generators of renewable energy to sell on and receive a premium, as well as the wholesale electricity price. But with those gas prices rising steeply, Guy & Wright soon reached the point of no return, investing in a 500kW CHP (combined heat and power) engine from Edina; converting three of the five turbines to run on biogas.

The investment in carefully-sourced equipment also saw the start of what has become a long and productive relationship with Börger; best known for its rotary lobe pumps, but also makers of key farming/biogas kit.

In 2008, a Börger Multi-crusher was put into operation to reduce feedstock particles down to 8mm to enhance the AD process. One might expect there to be no shortage of waste from growing so many tomatoes, but John Jones’ son, Rob, who now runs the biogas operation, soon saw that tomato leaves were not only extremely difficult to break down, but also low in calorific value.

‘Milkshake’ consistency’

So, as the never-ending fine-tuning of the AD plant continues, locally imported waste now includes citrus fruits, potatoes, grain and cocoa powder – plus processed DAF sludge from an ice cream manufacturer. This provides liquid to help create a ‘milkshake’ consistency that the digesters will benefit from far more than a consistent supply of more solid material.

“The Börger Multi-crusher certainly proves itself as a very durable and effective piece of kit for the demands of an AD plant”, said Rob Jones. “We keep one Multi-crusher as a spare so that in any eventuality, we can keep operating – with two always on the go, plus an additional unit now on order. They work very well for us”.

Based on the proven Börger Rotary Lobe Pump, the Multi-crusher chops coarse material to ensure that downstream machines and pumps operate smoothly. The Multi-crusher homogenies mediums at throughput volumes of up to 320 m³/h / 1,400 usgpm/h. In addition to food waste, it can handle fibres, pieces of wood, plastics, membranes and textiles across a wide range of applications.

The team at Guy & Wright added: “Investing in our first CHP was a real turning point, and as we’ve grown the biogas plant, converting (covering) our old lagoon into a secondary, 7000m3 digester*, we’ve not hesitated to invest in more Multi-crushers from Börger”.

The covered lagoon at Guy & Wright produces enough gas to run two of three CHP engines – and also provides retention times of up to six months, compared to most biogas plants where it is just 30 days. Every last bit of gas is extracted”.

Guy & Wright secured another Börger Multi-crusher when it began taking in liquid animal bi-products, for which they also needed a (7.5kW) Börger pump.  Utilising this type of bi-product (via a new pasteuriser) has provided another important string to the Guy & Wright bow, enhancing biogas yields by having a feedstock with a high calorific value and also less digestate to deal with.

 

Two biomass boilers are also now in the fleet of machinery, providing much-needed additional heat to the nursery during winter. Hot water is stored in a buffer tank so that it can be used on demand. Guy & Wright have also become the first company in the biogas industry to take exhaust gas from a CHP and convert it into CO2 for the glasshouses.  The gas is cleaned by a special system of catalyst bricks that absorb harmful gases; leaving the resulting CO2 (which is piped into the glasshouses) at perfectly safe levels. This also aids the photosynthesis of the tomatoes, resulting in more plentiful flowers/fruits.

*

‘Success with new Börger Separator’

Always looking for improvements, Guy & Wright turned to Börger again to address the dwindling capacity of the plant’s open lagoon. Working together with four nearby farms, there had been problems with blockages during spreading with an umbilical system, but that’s all changed for the better now, thanks to the purchase of a Börger Bioselect Separator.

Using a purely mechanical process, liquid is separated from solids in the medium, so that nutrient-rich (PAS 110-approved at a maximum of 2mm) organic matter can go back to the land as a top-quality fertiliser.  A combination of separation machine and two Börger Rotary Lobe Pumps, the Separator is load-triggered. The feed pump only conveys the volume that the Bioselect is able to process. The high-density solids discharge pump determines the degree of thickness.

“We no longer lose capacity in our lagoon”, concluded the team at Guy & Wright.  “This is due totally to the Börger Separator, which protects it. Works an absolute treat”.

*

 

*Outside of Malaysia, the covered lagoon digester at Guy & Wright is believed to be the largest in the world.

Modern methods of optimising operations in steam boilers

In this article, Carl Knight – managing director of process steam and heat transfer specialist Fulton – looks at boiler sequencing control systems and how these intelligent controllers can optimise steam boiler installations to ensure energy efficient operation and improve boiler longevity.

Numerous processing facilities operate multiple steam boilers to meet the demands of their on-site processing equipment. However, if the steam boilers in these facilities are not optimised for efficiency, then the potential for any energy savings is not itself being fully optimised.

The use of an intelligent sequencing system for steam boiler installations provides redundancy, builds reliability and offers significant energy savings by automating start-up and shut-down procedures; controlling and optimising main steam header pressure or temperature; ensuring steam supply is controlled precisely for the required process; and balancing the load distribution across the boilers, all of which reduces extensive losses from repeated start/stop cycling of burners as much as is feasibly possible.

 

Steam boiler sequencing should be about more than simple on/off or start-up control. An intelligent sequencing system should also consider steam system load conditions and match this to the most efficient combination of boiler output according to process requirements.

Response to system loads and start-up times are also factors. For example, a boiler sequencing control system should be capable of monitoring when running too many or too few boilers is having a negative effect on efficiency and productivity. It should be able to monitor and pre-emptively predict a sudden surge in demand and hence boiler use by monitoring existing boiler demands, system pressures and flow rates; therefore starting/stopping boilers appropriately depending on process demand.

Additional factors include what happens in the case of boiler failure, sudden high steam loads and even lack of boiler availability due to servicing. A good sequencing system should take all these factors into consideration and manage the boiler operation automatically. With the result being that, despite the machine they are working on having just started a high-steam demand stage during its production process, the end user doesn’t notice that additional boilers had to be started.

Furthermore, benefits that can be achieved through the installation of an intelligent boiler sequencing system can include automation for start-up and shutdown of the boilers; better control of the main steam header pressure leading to more consistent pressure and therefore better steam quality (vitally important factors for sterilisation processes and accurate heat transfer rates); precisely-controlled process steam or hot water supplies; boilers operating at main header pressure or temperature and not maximum pressure or temperature; improved boiler longevity from complete load sharing; and improved fuel savings through eliminating idle time at low fire.

Suitable for up to four steam boilers, SCOPE from Fulton is a PLC-based intelligent boiler sequencing control system that optimises installations. It can be retrofitted to existing vertical and horizontal fuel-fired boiler installations, including Fulton’s own range of existing and planned products and those manufactured by other boiler OEMs.

But what about the future of boiler sequencing and the development of intelligent control systems using Cloud-based services?

Many processing facilities operate 24/7 so, to keep these facilities running consistently and efficiently, immediate action is often required and/or expected from the boiler manufacturer. By accessing its SCOPE intelligent sequencing system via Cloud-based systems, Fulton is already looking to incorporate remote accessibility for diagnostic- and service-related issues; and providing remote data for system improvements, which can be accessed by specialist engineers for diagnostics and clients for data review.

Fulton is also looking at the ability to perform certain maintenance procedures or service steam boilers remotely, no matter where in the world they are installed. This would help to reduce the environmental impact and costs associated with travel to/from site, savings that can be passed onto the client.

The future will therefore offer simple sequencing control of multiple boiler installations or a full boiler-house energy management system, accessible remotely by the manufacturer and client alike, to provide an efficient solution for everyone.

For further information on SCOPE email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., call +44 (0)117 972 3322 or click www.fulton.co.uk.

How to easily manage thousands of asset inspections | Case study

How to easily manage thousands of asset inspections | Case study

 A very large chemicals processer increased the efficiency of asset safety inspections with inspection templates and automated reporting using reliable Unitags and SafeTrak software.

 

A large chemical processing plant was keeping track of asset inspections on paper. With thousands of ladders, handrails and floor gratings on the list of assets that need regular safety inspection, the paper trail became exceedingly complex and time intensive to manage.

The plant was already using Unitag to communicate which assets were inspected, and deemed safe, or out of use. To keep employees safe and the facility compliant in an efficient way, a solution was needed to replace time-consuming handwritten inspection reports.

Solution: A digital asset inspection trail with SafeTrak

Scafftag proposed the SafeTrak software to replace the entire inspection paper trail with an online tool. All assets that need inspection can be set up in SafeTrak to make inspection planning and follow-up a lot more practical. Asset inspections can be planned at regular intervals, and to each type of asset a standard or custom inspection template can be linked.

In-house inspectors receive a notification on their ATEX-compliant handheld from SafeTrak and can start an asset inspection by scanning the asset’s RFID-enabled Multi-Tag from Scafftag. A pre-defined inspection template guides the inspectors in the field, and a report is shared automatically with stakeholders on inspection completion.

Assets are identified in the field with the RFID-enabled Unitag that can resist intensive cleaning processes. The tag’s RFID-chip can be programmed to link the actual field asset to its corresponding inspection history and asset details in SafeTrak.

To answer specific customer needs, Scafftag customised the flexible SafeTrak software in just 3 months. This enabled our customer to quickly and easily implement the solution in its existing inspection processes.

Results: Fast asset inspection and automated reporting

The chemicals processing plant can now inspect assets faster in a more accurate and easier way. More assets are inspected in a shorter time-span. Digital inspection reports are automatically generated and shared, and the time-consuming asset inspection paper trail is no longer needed.

Discover a wide range of tools and equipment in the free guide >>

Scafftag – A Brady Business

www.scafftag.co.uk

Links:

https://www.scafftag.co.uk/safetrak-inspection-software.html?sfdc=7014V000002lfOA&utm_campaign=SFID-Scafftag&utm_source=msl&utm_medium=web-advertorial&utm_content=case-asset-inspections-unitag-safetrak

https://www.scafftag.co.uk/form-optimise-equipment-safety?sfdc=7014V000002lfOA&utm_campaign=SFID-Scafftag&utm_source=msl&utm_medium=web-advertorial&utm_content=case-asset-inspections-unitag-safetrak

Ultimo’s EAM platform ensures efficient maintenance at a Swiss recycling plant

When Switzerland's second-largest waste-to-energy starts operation in 2025, Ultimo’s EAM solution is in place to enable long service lives, optimised maintenance management and enhanced collaboration.

KEBAG AG, the operator of the second-largest waste recycling plant in Switzerland, has chosen Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) platform to manage maintenance activities in its new facility, which is currently being built. The KEBAG Enova plant will use the cloud-based software solution to optimise maintenance management and collaboration around the plant, ensuring uninterrupted waste disposal and reliable production of electricity and district heating. The rollout has already begun.

KEBAG AG recycles 265,000 tons of waste per year at its existing Zuchwil site in the canton of Solothurn. The incineration plant manages waste from around 178 municipalities and over 500,000 inhabitants from Solothurn and the neighbouring canton of Bern. Its environmentally-friendly waste disposal process generates electricity and district heating for the region. Now, the company is constructing a new plant to meet these requirements even better in the future. The new KEBAG Enova waste recycling plant will have the same disposal capacity as the old facility but aims to achieve a 15 percent higher energy efficiency, allowing it to generate around 150 GWh of electricity and 140 GWh of district heating per year.

The state-of-the-art facility will start using the Ultimo cloud platform already before its expected commissioning date in 2025. Featuring innovative technologies and functionalities, the software helps optimise maintenance and servicing processes, improve cooperation between operations and maintenance personnel, and contribute to maximum plant availability.

"KEBAG Enova replaces our existing waste processing plant, which is coming to the end of its life after approximately 50 years of operation. The number of unexpected plant failures is naturally increasing, which leads to costly disruption and bottlenecks in waste disposal. The cloud-based software solution Ultimo, together with our new building, is a central building block in ensuring uninterrupted waste disposal and reliable energy generation in the future," says Remo Fahrni, Head of Maintenance, KEBAG AG.

Before the end of the year, the first users will have their Ultimo licenses and join training courses Ultimo arranges in close cooperation with KEBAG. Ultimo is expected to be used by 42 employees, who will rely on it to manage all assets, including machinery, buildings and infrastructure, and optimise and document maintenance, servicing and compliance processes.

Initially, 19 employees will have full access to all the data in Ultimo and will be able to plan, review and analyse activities. Additionally, 23 users will have limited access, allowing them to view information and create messages. They will also have access to functions for recording downtime and autonomous maintenance, shift handover, lockout/tagout, and registration of work permits and change requests. The introduction of Ultimo's HSE module for managing tasks relating to Health, Safety and Environment is planned for later this year.

"By choosing Ultimo, KEBAG is laying the foundation for achieving maximum availability, improved cooperation between the operators and the maintenance department, and the highest level of occupational safety. The early implementation is a prerequisite for a successful start to operation," says Oliver Kaiser, Sales Director, Ultimo Software Solutions.

The Ultimo cloud platform is highly customisable and offers modules for managing assets, work orders and projects, processes relating to HSE, and planning long-term maintenance management. With vital data collected and hosted in one central location, the same information is always available to everyone involved. The cloud platform and the Android and iOS apps make the data available anywhere at any time, whether on a PC, laptop, or directly on site with a mobile device. Ultimo also provides comprehensive reports and dashboards to simplify the analysis and interpretation of asset data.

To find out more, visit www.ultimo.com.

Mixing matters for Eco’s sustainable solution

Comprehensive mixing of biogas digesters is playing a crucial role at one of the most dynamic and well-run food-waste-to-energy facilities in Europe.

Typically operating at more than 90% efficiency, Eco Sustainable Solutions’ plant near Dorchester in southwest England, produces biogas at an average of 140m3 per tonne of food waste, which is sourced from 60,000 domestic kerbside collections in Dorset.

Processing 42,000 tonnes of food waste per annum (posting its best performance results since opening in 2014), Eco’s two 2600m3 digesters are each fitted with Landia’s externally-mounted mixing system, comprising 18.5kW chopper pumps (invented by Landia in 1950) and venturi nozzles.

Running for just 20 minutes per hour, the mixing system’s chopper pumps benefit from a unique knife design that prevents solids from entering the casing.

Helping us improve our biogas yields by more than 10%, and keeps our team safe’

“We much prefer a mixing system that is outside the tank”, said Eco’s Operations Manager, Kieran Purkis.

“I’m really not sure why some biogas systems still require mixers to be lifted out of a tank. We are health and safety led, so it’s a no for us. It involves far too many risks. It also doesn’t make sense financially. In addition to helping us improve our biogas yields by more than 10%, another benefit of the Landia digester mixing system is that it keeps our team safe”.

The initial upswing in biogas came in 2014, when Landia was chosen for a new, second digester. As well as greatly reducing the health and safety risks, the boost in producing more biogas with consistent concentration of methane circa 58-62% saw Eco move to upgrade the equipment on its first, existing digester. Here, a rotary submerged system had been in operation, but the considerable downside of downtime became very apparent when an internal mixer broke, meaning that the digester had to be drained down to retrieve it. During days of lost production, this type of scenario can cost a biogas plant a loss of in the region of £250,000. As with all biogas digesters – even when very well managed – draining down to remove accumulated grit every two to three years is a very costly exercise in going offline.

“Since then,”, added Eco’s Kieran Purkis, “we have continuously improved our processes, and today keep fine-tuning to reach optimum levels. We have outstanding operators, whose tremendous work and pride in the plant makes it one of the very best in the business”.

He continued: “With our onsite labs, we are constantly testing, carefully balancing and maintaining levels; knowing the whole time that our digesters are being comprehensively mixed by a safe and very robust system”.

Compared to mixers that have to run 24/7, the Landia units make energy savings, and at only 20 minutes per hour operation, means far less wear and tear, greater longevity and less requirement for spare parts. Landia has also worked with Eco on modifying the inlet flange into the pumps so that the food waste feedstock goes straight to the macerating blades of the chopper pumps at the lower half of the digesters; improving the infeed with specially adapted pipework to enhance the process.

In what has become a real science at innovative Eco, half of the clean, renewable energy (12,000 MW per annum) is utilised by the neighbouring Dorchester Feed Mill; (owned by the Mole Valley famers co-operative) the first feed mill in the UK to be powered completely by renewable power. The other 50% from the 2.5 acres site is sold to the National Grid. From its nutrient-rich digestate, Eco also produces and supplies a diverse range of sustainable landscaping products that return goodness back into soils.

 

Having both digesters mixed properly is crucial’

Ed Johnson, Eco’s AD Manager, said: “Even when you are running a plant with relatively low solids (4-6%) as we do, effective mixing is very important.  Even a five percent rise in our production can mean an extra £200,000 in PPA (purchase power agreements). As part of our ongoing drive to maximising production and be one of the best performing plants in Europe, we have upgraded our screening, but having both digesters mixed properly is crucial. The Landia system is very good and robust. It doesn’t require rebuilds. We also have no issues in obtaining spares”.

‘No issues in eight years. Digesters completely mixed’

Eco’s Site Supervisor, Antonio Rodrigues, has been at the site near Dorchester since day one.  Together with his colleague, Filipe Evora, they said: “in eight years, the Landia digester mixing system has been brilliant. It’s a great idea. Apart from replacing a couple of solenoids, we’ve had no issues in eight years. We know that our digesters benefit from being completely mixed”.

As such a successful operation that has already recycled over 4,000,000 tonnes of organic material, it is no surprise that family-run Eco Sustainable Solutions is looking to expand with a new biogas facility to add to its plant near Dorchester.  As part of its firm ethos in providing a safer, happier and healthier working environment, mixing will continue to play an important part in the company’s firm commitment to making its processes more carbon efficient.

Saving energy and protecting the environment with the right compressed air solution

With Europe experiencing soaring energy prices, and compressed air accountable for between 12 to as much as 40 per cent of all the industrial energy consumed[1], many businesses are considering what steps they can take to minimise costs and improve the efficiency of their operations. Now is an opportune moment for energy-intensive organisations to take advantage of heat recovery, oil-free technology and digital analytics, says one of the industrial compressed air leaders, CompAir.

In the first quarter of 2022, short-term gas prices on the largest European exchange were five times higher than their 2021 average[2], and future markets are pricing European gas at up to three times its 2021 levels for at least the next three years. However, CompAir is advising compressed air users that action can be taken now to help protect their investments for the future.

Here are some top tips that CompAir recommends, with advice on the company’s latest compressed air technologies, to help lower energy costs and optimise efficiency levels.

 

Opt for oil-free screw compressors

While most production-sensitive environments, such as those in the food and beverage or pharmaceutical sectors, will opt for an oil-free compressor, many other businesses would benefit from the efficiencies that an oil-free model can deliver. In many cases, whole life costs are reduced, with businesses able to save on the cost of oil replacement, and there’s no requirement for additional products such as oil separators.

CompAir offers a wide range of oil-free compressor technologies, including screw and piston machines.  Its advanced Ultima compressor operates completely oil-free, with the cooling of components achieved via a closed water circuit.

Each airend is driven individually by a variable speed, permanent magnet synchronous motor, offering exceptional levels of efficiency versus traditional oil-free technology.

Take advantage of the latest oil-lubricated screw compressor technology

However, for those seeking an upgrade to an oil-lubricated system plus air treatment, the latest oil-lubricated technologies have been developed to optimise sustainability throughout the compressor’s lifecycle. CompAir’s FourCore range combines best-in-class compressed air efficiency with a small footprint and sustainable design for eco-conscious businesses.

For example, when carbon emissions from a new 160 kW FourCore model are compared with a traditional compressor, running for 8,000 hours a year, the FourCore system reduces the equivalent greenhouse gas emissions of 32 passenger cars, or 371,800 miles driven by a passenger car, over the course of one year. This is the same amount of carbon sequestered by 181 acres of forest.

Furthermore, when compared with a conventional two-stage compressor, the new 200 kW model uses 22 per cent less materials and can help cut waste by up to 19 per cent.

And when compared with previous single-stage compressors in this size range from CompAir, the new models are up to 8 per cent more efficient, offering a best-in-class oil-lubricated solution for decision makers.

Treat air correctly

Modern production systems and processes demand compressed air of ever-increasing purity. The proper specification of downstream equipment will not only further improve the quality and efficiency of a compressed air system but reduce its environmental impact too.

CompAir offers a wide range of compressed air treatment solutions including filtration, refrigeration and absorption dryers and condensate management systems. High-quality consumables, such as filter elements with a long service life, ensure low component wear and consistently low differential pressure.

Heat recovery

Meanwhile, taking advantage of measures such as heat recovery represents a considerable opportunity to lower energy costs, by recycling excess heat and using it to a site’s advantage. With typically only 10 per cent of the electrical energy input being converted into compressed air, the remaining 90 per cent is generally wasted as heat. By fitting a heat recovery unit to a compressor, the system can ‘recapture’ energy lost during the compression process and use it for other useful purposes. For example, it can supplement the electricity, gas or oil needed to generate hot water for washrooms or process water. Alternatively, it can be transferred as direct warm air into a workspace or facility.

CompAir offers multiple turnkey heat-recovery solutions for its oil-free and oil-lubricated screw compressors, both factory fitted and retrofittable. This allows for easy ‘plug-and-play’ installation and an immediate realisation of energy and cost savings.

Drive improvements with digital insights

The Internet of Things and data analytics can help operators to understand how efficiently a compressor is running, and whether any improvements can be made. These insights will not only help highlight any potential issues now, but also enable operators to forecast any potential future problems, based on deteriorating machine performance.

Predictive maintenance models based on real-time data can be established to help reduce energy consumption, improve process efficiencies and limit any risks. Connectivity continues to be a key focus in the CompAir portfolio, with the company’s iConn service offering intelligent insights that help operators monitor a system’s performance in both real-time and remotely.

 

Accessible from smartphones and tablets, the browser-based system ensures users can proactively manage any potential issues that arise at all times, reducing associated downtime and guaranteeing the system is performing as required.

Guaranteed assurance with service agreements

To help companies avoid unplanned and unbudgeted downtime, as well as production interruptions, CompAir has launched a series of new Assure service agreements. Available to all compressed air users, no matter the manufacturer or age of the equipment, these help businesses optimise operational efficiencies, mitigate risks, and streamline working practices by ensuring customers only need to deal with one compressed air supplier.

From the entry level, AssurePLAN, which covers the timely replacement of consumable components such as oil and air filters, separators, and oil, with a 12-month warranty on these assets, to the most comprehensive, AssureCOMPLETE, which ensures all operational risk for a compressed air system is transferred to CompAir, a service agreement is available to meet a business’ exact needs.

In addition, these agreements include genuine spare parts. While a non-genuine part may be cheaper, it can compromise the compressed air investment in the long run and end up costing a business more. In contrast, genuine parts are manufactured to meet the same high standards as the compressors they are intended for.

 

Don’t leak profit

It’s essential to manage pipework leaks. Air leaks are the leading cause of energy loss in industrial air systems, wasting as much as 20 to 30 per cent of the system’s output. There are many reasons for leaks in a compressed air system, including shut-off valves and manual condensate valves being left open, as well as leaking hoses, couplings, pipes, flanges and pipe joints.

With a leak as small as 3mm potentially costing over €800 in wasted energy[3], one solution is a simple leak detection survey, which can identify any problems quickly so remedial action can be taken. Alternatively, a flow meter is a reliable means of evaluating compressed air generation and downstream inefficiency costs. Indeed, finding and repairing one 3mm leak could potentially save enough money to cover the cost of purchasing one.

Undertake an energy audit

Whether it’s buying a new compressor or upgrading an existing system, a sensible starting point is to always undertake a full site energy audit. This will establish current compressed air usage and costs, help identify air leaks to determine where energy is being lost and where cost savings could be made, and test air quality to ensure the compressed air generated meets the right standards. Not only does an energy audit help lower a business’ total cost of ownership, it also helps reduce environmental impact too.

To find out more, please visit https://www.compair.com/en-gb/sustainable-compressed-air

 

[1] British Compressed Air Society

[2] McKinsey, ‘Outsprinting the energy crisis’, https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/operations/our-insights/outsprinting-the-energy-crisis

[3] The Carbon Trust, ‘How companies can save money from thin air’, https://www.carbontrust.com/news-and-events/news/how-companies-can-save-money-from-thin-air

Sandvik CRIBWISE launches white paper to help tackle cybersecurity in machine shops

Sandvik CRIBWISE, the tooling inventory management software business, has published an in-depth white paper addressing the cybersecurity concerns of machine shops that are preventing the adoption of the latest technology, including cloud-based software.

Elvira Cedergren, Head of cybersecurity at Sandvik’s Design & Planning Automation division, which includes CRIBWISE, explains how machine shop vigilance needs to start with the basics after escalating cyberattacks over the last year.

The white paper addresses cybercrime, specifically for manufacturers, and the straightforward, common-sense steps that can be taken on-site to protect machine shops of all sizes.

Elvira says: “Supply chain attack which affected 40,000 businesses worldwide and infected over a million systems, caused a lot of disruption last year. It is a myth that criminals only target large businesses; cybercrime can affect all businesses, both large and small and it is necessary to have basic processes in place to mitigate risk.”

Elvira’s insights in the white paper, will reassure manufacturers reluctant to move to digitalisation as it outlines the questions that should be asked of vendors at the procurement phase to mitigate risk.

She adds: “It is natural for businesses to be wary about investing in cloud-based software and services that run on the Internet. After all, if you limit the exposure of your business to the Internet, you also limit your exposure to the criminals that inhabit it. You would, however, also be seriously limiting the potential of your business to grow. Systems like CRIBWISE are invaluable tools for improving operational efficiency and reducing costs. There are advantages of adopting cloud-based systems —both from security and productivity perspectives."

She concludes: “Cybercrime should be taken seriously and there are simple processes that businesses can take, on-site, to protect its machine shop. A responsible software company, like CRIBWISE, takes a great deal of pride in the levels of security it provides its customers. This white paper provides clear and practical advice that can protect CNC machines and other systems, so that manufacturers can reap the benefits while still protecting its supply chain and business.”

CRIBWISE helps manufacturers to take control of their tooling inventory and related processes. It is modular, customisable and easy to integrate for all sizes of machine shops. It helps improve productivity and machine life by reducing administrative time, hours spent searching for tools and production and maintenance delays. It also cuts unnecessary expenditure due to over-purchasing and over-stocking. 

Head of CRIBWISE, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., says: “The pandemic has led to manufacturers really embracing cloud-based solutions over the last couple of years and are seeing the cost-saving benefits from reduced tooling and equipment inventory costs. Some companies have seen costs go down by as much as 20%.

He adds: “Manufacturers should be concerned about cybersecurity but by planning and understanding how to manage any potential risk, businesses should embrace new technology and cloud-based software. This will undoubtedly help businesses stay competitive in challenging times.”

To find out more about how CRIBWISE protects your data and to download the white paper visit: www.cribwise.com/resources

 

Whitepaper shows how EAM technologies can help logistics operators tackle the threat of downtime

Ultimo has published a new whitepaper to help logistics businesses optimise uptime and cut costs. According to a recent survey (EAM Trend Report 2021), 42% of asset managers in the logistics sector suffered unplanned downtime last year. Worryingly, only 4% knew how much downtime cost their organisation, highlighting the risks inefficient maintenance practices and lack of operational data pose to profitability. The whitepaper explores these challenges and explains how leveraging the latest Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) technologies can help give logistics managers better control over the cost and performance of fixed and mobile assets.

Logistics sector: Vulnerable to risks

“The logistics sector is very vulnerable to the risks associated with downtime, as any incident can quickly escalate down the supply chain,” says Chris van den Belt, Team Leader Project Management, Ultimo. “Access to reliable asset data is vital for mitigating these risks and protecting profitability. However, 56% of logistics managers lack the data they need to benchmark performance, making identifying and correcting inefficient and costly maintenance practices difficult. The figure is high compared to many other sectors, highlighting the urgent need for the logistics industry to adopt a more data-driven approach to maintenance. This whitepaper highlights the issue and explains why data needs to play a key role in all futureproofing efforts.”

What are the causes of downtime – and how to address them

The whitepaper explores typical causes of downtime in the sector, such as ageing assets and poor communication between teams. It then explains how operators can leverage cloud-based EAM technologies to address them, reducing risks and cutting costs.

It also discusses why operational data is an invaluable tool in helping improve knowledge-sharing – a crucial step in enhancing the response to unprecedented events, mitigating the challenges associated with experienced workers retiring, and bridging the emerging skills gap in the industry.

To download the whitepaper, visit https://www.ultimo.com/efficiency-in-logistics.

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