Client: Ceramics Manufacturer
Location: New York, USA
Stripping out humidity for critical last stage
This ceramics plant creates catalytic converters, and to make sure these can withstand vibration and diesel fumes, the plant tests them in a simulator at the final stage of production.
The problem with this is that in the summer months, humidity in the testing area was rising above spec. Moisture was getting trapped inside the honeycomb shape of the ceramic parts, which blocked the diesel from getting through.
Parts that were perfectly fine were getting a "fail" stamp and had to be destroyed, costing the plant hundreds of thousands of dollars every month.
Temporary dehumidifiers in the testing area
When we explored the site, we realized that the air conditioning unit used to cool the testing area wasn't designed to handle summer humidity thresholds. To fix this, we brought in a heavy duty dehumidifier, plus air handlers and low-temp chiller, which would keep humidity within spec for the summer months of the year.For the first run, we also supplied a diesel-power generator, but we soon realized that the company would save even more by using low-emission natural gas as fuel. Despite this cutting into our profits (as we would no longer be the fuel provider), we designed a long-term switch to natural gas and helped the plant to implement it safely.
Scaled-up production and profits at the same time
The system worked perfectly, saving the plant $158,540 a month in diesel fuel costs alone. Over the three month duration of the project, this added up to nearly half a million dollars!
Even better, the company could now step up rates of production without this increasing the heat and humidity levels in the testing area, helping to grow the business even faster.