Sustainability Simplified

Unexpected Outcomes of Making Your Operations More Sustainable

Sustainability Simplified

Unexpected Outcomes of Making Your Operations More Sustainable

Operating more sustainably will help you save water, chemicals and energy. Those are the expected outcomes. However, sustainable enhancements can also help you achieve some other key objectives in your operations.

In many industries, the short list of plant priorities includes productivity, efficiency, savings, product quality and safety.

That’s not surprising, but this may be: Increasing your plant’s sustainable practices can actually help you achieve every one of those priorities. In fact, some simple changes can yield significant results for your operations and pay for themselves in a matter of months, if not weeks. In addition, sustainable enhancements can also help you achieve some other key objectives in your operation. Below are six unexpected outcomes of making your operations more sustainable.

1. Reduce unscheduled downtime

Insight: At first, the connection between sustainability and uptime may not be apparent. However, an essential component of an effective sustainability strategy is a regular maintenance program. Like any precision equipment, spray nozzles and systems need to be maintained to operate at peak efficiency. Since nozzles are enclosed in other equipment or out of sight, they are often overlooked when it comes to maintenance.

Outcomes: More uptime, increased production and throughput, reduced maintenance costs

2. Save money on every shift

Insight: 336,000 gallons. That’s how much water could flow through one new full cone spray nozzle every year. Now, let’s assume 150 nozzles are in operation. That adds up to 50,400,000 gallons per year.* Spray nozzles, like any precision component, will wear with use and nozzles will gradually begin to spray over capacity. Using worn nozzles — even those slightly worn — can cost the plant thousands of dollars, if not hundreds of thousands, annually. For example, if you’re using 150 full cone nozzles that are 10% worn, you’ll waste 5,040,000 gallons per year. If the nozzles are 15% worn, you’ll waste 7,560,000 gallons per year. Making sure nozzles are spraying at the rated capacity will save water, chemicals and energy on every shift.

*Flow rate dependent on nozzle type, size and operating conditions.

Outcomes: Cost savings, less wasted resources

3. Operate more efficiently

Insight: The conservation of resources, reduction of waste/scrap and optimization of the workforce are all benchmarks of an efficient and sustainable operation. Efficiency begins by examining cleaning, coating, cooling, lubricating, drying and other operations that use spray technology or manual labor. Improving operational efficiency is almost always possible and ranges from small changes to total process automation.

Outcomes: Ongoing, measurable efficiency and savings

4. Reduce labor costs

Insight: The most important resource any company has is its people, especially with the labor market so tight. A sustainability program can offer ways to make the workforce more productive by automating certain spraying applications. In some applications, a completely automated system may be possible and workers can be deployed to other tasks. Automation also brings consistency and repeatability to most operations and contributes to better product and process quality.

Outcomes: Labor cost savings, reduced waste

5. Reduce waste

Insight: Changes in nozzle type, placement and spray direction can make a big difference on the volume of fluid used. By optimizing spray nozzle performance, use of chemicals, coatings and ingredients can likely be reduced. In some operations, adding a spray controller can yield even more dramatic results by monitoring and adjusting nozzle performance based on operating conditions.

Outcomes: Dramatic reductions in waste

6. Enhance positive company perception

Insight: Your customers, employees and shareholders are very aware of the actions your company takes. Operating sustainably sends a positive message to every key stakeholder and the community.

Outcomes: Enhance brand reputation, improve customer and employee satisfaction

When Kevin, one of our sustainability specialists, presented our findings to a leading snack foods company, the projections were met with skepticism.

“They thought it was too good to be true,” Kevin recalled. “Basically, they told us if they reached half of those numbers, it would be amazing.” As it turned out, the company actually surpassed the projections.

“We helped them save 500 million gallons (1,892,706 kiloliters) of water per year and US$10 million dollars in water and energy. They definitely believe in the results now.”

How much can your plant save? Find out with a sustainability assessment  Schedule your assessment