We find out how the addition of Bohle sedimentors to its glass processing lines by Wholesale Glass has increased productivity by more than 10 per cent.
It’s the range of stock that is instantly striking. Lines of Lacobel and Lacobel T back painted glass, create an explosion of colour running almost along the full length of Wholesale Glass’ Ossett warehouse. Stillages full of float and mirrored glass sitting neatly alongside them.
This ‘neatness’ creates an overriding sense of order. Machinery is new and the operation is slick. Adjoining, but separated from, the main storage area are two Bottero straight-line edgers. The set up again evidences the same focus on order and process and as part of this system-driven operation, two Bohle sedimentors.
“Waste coolant was simply going down the drain”, says Tony Garrett, Managing Director, Wholesale Glass. “We used to spend every Friday afternoon cleaning down the system, so around 10 per cent of our potential production time was lost every week.”
The UK’s largest stockist of Lacobel and Lacobel T, Wholesale Glass holds more than 50,000 tonnes of glass in stock, working with glass processors and furniture manufacturers nationwide. “We stock 29 different colours of Lacobel and 15 different colours of Lacobel T”, continues Tony.
“We do float glass in 4 to 15mm, silvered glass, Matelac and Matelux, Opti Clear and Low iron in 4mm to 12mm – we’re active in a whole range of different markets and time is important as is quality and the service life of machinery and tooling.”
Clean cooling water increases the performance of machinery by up to 20 per cent and the service life of tools by up to 30 per cent - but it can all too easily become contaminated with glass finings from drilling, polishing and grinding.
The cost of replacing contaminated water or coolant also quickly adds up. Using just 400 litres of water as part of your weekly cleaning cycle equates to a yearly water consumption of approx. 20,000 litres as well as high cost for its disposal.
Tony continues: “The volumes of edging that we do are quite staggering – 4,000 linear metres per day. The finished quality of the product and tooling can deteriorate very quickly if coolant isn’t clean. In straight edge working, you’re looking for a really high-quality finish.”
This makes replacing water and coolants used in glass processing a high but sometimes unseen cost. Irregular cleaning of water and machinery properly also carries a potentially far higher price tag in lost man hours, falling product quality, and reduced service life of equipment.
Although the industry has traditionally relied on centrifugal water cleaning systems these can’t filter glass particles < 5 µm. This is something which, can over time, contribute to lower product quality and a build-up of concretion in the machine and its tanks. Sedimentors not only filter glass particles of < 5 µm or less but do so using far less energy.
Wholesale Glass added its two Bohle Sedimentors to its Bottero straight-edge processing lines last year. “There are lots of reasons why if you haven’t done so already, as a glass processor, it’s worth looking at your management of coolant.
“It can have a very real impact on quality and the service life of your operation but the downtime lost to cleaning has the potential to really add up. Sedimentors eliminate all of that.”
Bohle’s range of Sedimentors are suitable for a wide assortment of grinding, drilling and sawing glass equipment, using a sophisticated multi-stage process to remove contaminants from coolants and water.
First, water is pumped into a specially contoured settling tank allowing coarse, higher density glass particles to be separated from the coolant and settle to the bottom. Simple, low energy but highly effective, the settling process removes more than 70 per cent of contaminants.
Then fine particles are separated out in the flocculant dosing process. Aided by optimised dispensing of granulated flocculant and controlled agitation of the coolant, the system then captures and binds even the finest glass particles. The particles then sink to the bottom of the Sedimentor in an automated cycle producing virtually clear process water. Importantly, any coolant products used with the water are retained.
At the end of the cleaning process, a timed valve at the floor of the tank opens and the accumulated sludge of glass finings and flocculant is flushed into a filter bag by the water pressure. This leaves the cleaned cooling water ready to be returned back into the cooling circuit.
Bohle MD Dave Broxton explains: “A key feature of the Sedimentor range is that it uses a ‘bypass system’ for batch cleansing. This isolates water, coolant and flocculant, from the line during the cleaning process, preserving coolant whilst completely eliminating the potential risk from flocculant contamination and tool damage.”
Bohle manufactures and supplies three different sedimentors, the 2.4, which has a filling quantity of 2100 litres, the 1.0, (1,000 litres) and the 0.3, which has a filling capacity of 320 litres. Its technical team working closely with its customers to identify the right model to meet their requirements, also offers training and through-life support.
“The Sedimentors are saving us around 10 per cent a year in lost down time, lower running costs and the extension of the service life of component tooling and diamond cutters”, adds Tony.
He concludes: “What it also does is to help us sustain product quality and put us ahead of regulatory change. It helps us to future proof our business.”
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