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A customer of Glaston’s for just over 2 years, Poppies Europe Ltd is a disposable table ware and napkin manufacturer located in St Helens. Poppies has over 60 staff operating out of their 4 acre manufacturing site. On a monthly basis production can reach volumes of 250 million napkins, 5 million table covers and 2,000 miles of banqueting roll.
Poppies operates in a highly competitive, high turnover market place. Their impressive production capabilities rely heavily on lots of contributing factors; the most important one being, the smooth and efficient operation of machinery on a day to day basis, to enable them to achieve the ever increasing production demands. Poppies had commissioned three new machines as the demand and volume of napkin production continued to increase. So when Poppies approached Glaston to look at what was becoming a major manufacturing issue, the outcome was not what the customer was expecting.
Following Glaston’s introduction to the site 2 years previously, they had fitted a HPC Kaeser 37kW HPC BSD72 SFC energy efficient variable speed air compressor to provide efficient, cost effective production.
HPC Kaeser compressors are known worldwide as a class leading, low specific energy consumption compressor, which ensures the lowest possible operating cost. (The lower the specific power the better the MPG of the compressor). The HPC Kaeser compressor systems are renowned throughout the industry for their reliability and resilience. Quiet in operation and low in maintenance costs they are designed to operate at full load 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
This was mirrored at Poppies, as the HPC Kaeser compressor that Glaston fitted proved to be an energy efficient, high performing solution which had already resulted in great cost savings in just 2 years.
However Poppies recently advised Glaston that the compressor was now too small, which they believed, was causing problems with other machinery within the factory. Danny Jones, Efficiency Engineer at Glaston Compressor Services visited the site and met with Axel Dehy. On walking to the compressor room Mr Dehy pointed out that during full production the compressor would struggle to keep up with demand and that some air sensitive machines in the factory were shutting down.
This was costing Poppies thousands in production losses and they felt they needed to increase the compressor size by 50% to rectify the shortfalls. To purchase and service a larger 18.5kW compressor for the first year would cost the customer in the region of £9k.
Danny Jones of Glaston comments “I asked the customer if he had ever looked at leaks and the way the pipe work was configured. The answer to my question was “no”. As we walked into the compressor room I was aware of a lot of hissing noises which can quite easily be missed day to day, as the environment is such, that a lot of machine noise exists”.
Danny advised the client to do the following test over the weekend to avoid any unscheduled downtime. It involved filling the air system with the compressor, switching it off and then timing how long it takes to become empty with no demand in the factory. The results were alarming.
Glaston’s team instructed in leak detection and Poppies maintenance staff set to work fixing them. New 1” pipe work was fitted to replace the old, and new pipe work was installed in areas that had none, but were dependant on compressed air, and were previously being fed by 12mm nylon air line. (This is why the machines were stopping; as the compressed air feed was too weak through such a small diameter pipe, the compressor was struggling to maintain production requirements and leaks).
Following the introduction of new pipe work and the repair of all the air leaks, the original HPC Kaeser compressor is back to running at 60% of its capacity, providing a highly cost effective, energy efficient solution. This means the site is once again running efficiently and a large monetary outlay was avoided due to Glaston’s knowledge of systems and taking a different approach.
Danny Jones, Efficiency Engineer at Glaston comments “Air leaks are responsible for 5% of an industry’s energy spend per annum and are too often overlooked due to an “air is free” attitude. Our service engineers are committed to providing a solution to every problem, we pride ourselves on offering fast, expert, impartial advice”.