Optimising production rates and air consumption in solvent manufacturing

As IndoChem’s customer base has increased, several operational challenges have begun to hamper its ability to reliably and efficiently meet its production quotas:

  • The time needed to fill one 45,000-liter holding tank has approached seven hours, which is unacceptable for IndoChem’s clients
  • The capacity of IndoChem’s air-compressor unit has been maxed out and it is not possible to add another compressor from both an economic and available-space standpoint
  • Perhaps most importantly, the solvents produced by IndoChem are highly flammable, and some of them self-spark, so it is important from a safety standpoint that they are contained adequately
Installing the revolutionary Pro-Flo® SHIFT ADS on a Wilden® Advanced™ Series AODD Pump gave IndoChem the flow rates, air consumption and product-containment capabilities that it requires in its solvent-handling operations.
 
“Our current transfer time is approximately three hours for transferring input and three hours for transferring output, plus half-an-hour for mixing and half-an-hour for preparation,” said Erwin Juardi, General Manager of Operations for IndoChem. “Since we’re planning on some improvements, we wanted to add more pumps, but we want to stay with the same air-compressor capacity. I’d love to see whether it’s possible that I can save air even though I’m adding pumps and getting more pumping capacity.”

To facilitate the transfer of solvents, Juardi utilises a total of 60 pumps between his three manufacturing facilities. He had been strictly relying on a single brand of AODD pump, but over time he had come to find the pumps unreliable and costly to operate.

“They have a high cost of replacement parts, and I have a hard time getting diaphragms; I’m fed up with these pumps,” he said flatly. “The diaphragms don’t hold up and it’s hard to work on them. It takes two guys to simply change a diaphragm and I don’t want manpower wasted on pump maintenance. We needed a simpler, more reliable, higher-performing alternative.”

In the search for a better solution, Juardi turned to Winston Engineering Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia. Since 2005, Winston Engineering Jakarta, which is an operating company within Singapore-based Winston Engineering Company (PTE) Ltd., has been a pump distributor specialising in pump technology designed for use in general industrial-pumping applications, including the handling of solvents, glues and inks.

The sheer volume of solvents that IndoChem handles annually made the need for a more efficient pump a critical consideration.

 

Seeing is believing

Juardi worked with Peter Koh, Regional Product Manager for Winston Engineering, who was quick to suggest the new Pro-Flo® SHIFT AODD Pump from Wilden®, Grand Terrace, CA, USA. Wilden invented AODD pump technology in 1955, and since 2008 has been a leading brand from PSG®, a Dover company, Oakbrook Terrace, IL, USA. The Pro-Flo SHIFT is an AODD pump air distribution system (ADS) that can deliver as much as 60% savings in air consumption when compared to other brands (see Sidebar).

“Winston Engineering has a long relationship with Wilden and PSG, and we have been selling their products for more than 20 years,” said Koh. “With the latest Pro-Flo SHIFT technology it is bringing Wilden to the next level. This pump really, really has an edge when it comes to energy savings.”

But rather than simply have Juardi take his word for it, Koh arranged to have an on-site test and demonstration of the Pro-Flo SHIFT technology done at one of IndoChem’s facilities in April. The test involved three separate trials in which both a Wilden Pro-Flo SHIFT pump—specifically, a 51-mm (2-inch) PS800 Advanced™ Series (bolted) aluminium AODD pump—and a competitive model would pump 200 litres (52.8 gallons) of water, with all pumping done at a pressure of 4 bar (58 psi). Measured would be the time it took to pump the water along with the amount of air that would be required to complete the pumping process.

Extrapolating the results for one of IndoChem’s standard 45,000-liter tanks, the test results showed that the Wilden pump would be able to fill the larger tank in 78 minutes less than the competitive model, while needing 2,164.08 fewer standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM) to complete the transfer process. Juardi was easily convinced.

“I know that Wilden pumps are very reliable,” said Juardi. “We’ve had one here for 20 years and we haven’t found any problems with it so. So, I’m thinking, let’s change the old pumps to Wilden. What we’re learning from the old Wilden pump is that it has been here forever, but with no problems. I was also looking for air savings because I cannot afford to buy any more air compressors.”

Over its 30-plus years of operation, PT. Indochemical Citra Kimia, better known has “IndoChem,” has grown into a recognised leader in solvent, glue and ink production for use in a number of industrial markets in Southeast Asia.

 

Operational benefits

In addition to the air-consumption improvements that the Pro-Flo SHIFT ADS can provide to the Advanced Series AODD Pumps, there are a number of operational benefits that IndoChem will be able to take advantage of. The bolted configuration of the Advanced pumps ensures total product containment, a key consideration with the hazardous materials that IndoChem creates and handles. Additionally, the Advanced pumps have a redesigned friction-reducing liquid path that contributes greatly to their ability to deliver maximised flow rates. In fact, the PS800 (51 mm) pump can achieve flow rates as high as 704 L/min (186 gpm), while the larger PS1500 (76 mm) model has flows to 1,045 L/min (276 gpm).

A variety of elastomer options, including PTFE (Teflon®), are available to meet abrasion, temperature and chemical-compatibility concerns, with IndoChem choosing the full-stroke Neoprene diaphragm with Wil-Flex™ (Santoprene) backup diaphragms for its pumps.

Too often, the easy suggestion when a manufacturing facility has reached the limits of its operational capacity is this one: Find a bigger facility. In the case of IndoChem, though, that was not a feasible solution. So, that meant the solvent manufacturer needed to find a way to optimise its productivity in terms of time, air consumption and energy usage while operating from the same footprint.

IndoChem found the answer in the new Advanced Series Pro-Flo SHIFT AODD Pump from Wilden, which will enable it to simultaneously improve both its fluid-transfer times and energy savings while working out of the same facility with the same air compressor.

“The unique features of Wilden pumps are very easy for maintenance, portable and with a very unique high-efficiency ADS, which is the heart of the pump,” said Koh. “Every part is replaceable, even for pumps that have been in the factory for more than 10 years. That’s part of why customers stay with the Wilden brand. Wilden is the unique market leader in diaphragm pumps.”