Plastic production Improved

A manufacturer of PVC building products has improved filtration of its process water and made significant cost savings. Steve Cupples, managing director of Industrial Purification Systems, explains

Gwent-based Custom Extrusions, part of the Epwin Group, produces 10,000t of PVC profile per year. It supplies PVC building products to some of the best known brands in new build, social housing and home improvements. The company was on a mission to be the best in the market and part of the strategy was to invest in water filtration to clean up its process water.

The company wanted to reduce customer complaints about surface scratching and reduce down time. As it turned out, the results of this investment actually far exceeded any of the company's expectations.

Surface scratching was caused by biological matter in the process water.

Although this was seen not to be a major issue, it was something that the company felt it should address. On closer scrutiny it was identified that in fact, some 80% of the problems were surface quality related, with up to 20 minutes down time per incident being recorded.

A representative from the management team at Custom Extrusions, said: "As part of our quality drive we wanted to have the best quality process water. To do this we wanted to eradicate the bacteria present in the water rather than just treat it. For the past 15 years our SpinClean filter has been filtering down to 50 microns, but our filtration specialists, Industrial Purification Systems (IPS), had developed more advanced filtration technology specifically to filter out microscopic contaminants.

"IPS was able to provide us with its new high efficiency Crossflow AMF sand filter which had the ability to reliably filter to down to 0.45 micron. But there has been a lot more to this investment, far more.

"Not only did we see a dramatic 75% drop in customer complaints, but since its installation we have had no issue with surface scratching whatsoever. So the increase in production time has been phenomenal and process scrap has been reduced by 20%. Putting these factors together Custom Extrusions is seeing a staggering financial saving in excess of £100,000 per annum.

"We recognise that customer expectation on quality is greater than it used to be so we have invested to meet the expectations of these customers and the market. In so doing our company has seen a significant saving in running costs and environmentally we are saving as well."

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