SURPRISING SUSTAINABILITY OUTCOMES
When plants consider the benefits of operating more sustainably, the expected outcomes frequently include saving water, chemicals and energy. However, there are some unexpected outcomes that are also worth considering, and most can be achieved with some simple changes.
Making your operations more sustainable can help realize other plant priorities including increased uptime, greater efficiency, and reduced labor costs. Here are six unexpected outcomes of optimizing sustainability.
Reducing Unscheduled Downtime
How can improving the sustainability of your spray operations increase uptime? At first, the connection may not seem apparent. However, the simple answer is maintenance. A regular maintenance program is an essential component of an effective sustainability strategy. It can help increase production and throughput while reducing repair costs. 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. You can learn more about the tangible benefits of a sustainability strategy in our case studies.
Saving Money on Every Shift
Did you know that 336,000 gallons of water can flow through one new full cone spray nozzle every year? If that seems like a large amount for a single nozzle, consider that most operations have nozzles throughout the plant and their water use multiplies exponentially. For example, if there are 150 nozzles in operation, it adds up to 50,400,000 gallons per year.*
If those 150 full cone nozzles are 15% worn, the plant will waste 7,560,000 gallons per year. The bottom line is that using worn nozzles — even those slightly worn — can cost the plant thousands of dollars, if not hundreds of thousands, annually. Conversely, making sure nozzles are spraying at the rated capacity will save water, chemicals and energy on every shift. Learn more about the cost of poor spray performance.
*Flow rate dependent on nozzle type, size and operating conditions.
Operating More Efficiently
Plant personnel may initially be skeptical about the role of sustainability in improving operational efficiency. However, efficiency enhancements are almost always possible through sustainability initiatives, and range from small changes to total process automation. 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. If you are considering efficiency improvements, Spraying Systems Co. recommends an on-site sustainability assessment which offers actionable ways to increase savings and reduce waste.
Reducing Labor Costs
The current labor market shortage is top of mind with many plants. Any initiative that can make the workforce more productive and reduce labor costs is worth investigating. A sustainability program can offer ways to achieve those goals 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.
Where’s the waste? That’s often the mantra when a plant examines its applications in search of improvements. You may be surprised to learn that some basic steps can often yield significant improvements. Simple changes in nozzle type, placement and spray direction can make a big difference on the volume of fluid used. By optimizing spray nozzle performance, the use of chemicals, coatings and ingredients can likely be reduced. Some operations have realized more dramatic results by adding a spray controller. It monitors and adjusts nozzle performance based on operating conditions. You can learn more about reducing consumption, waste and risk here.
Enhancing Positive Company Perception
Many companies post their sustainability goals on their websites and in annual reports. They clearly understand that today’s customers, employees and shareholders are all keenly aware of the actions a company takes. Operating sustainably helps to shape the perception of a company because it sends a positive message to every key stakeholder and the community.