If this past year has taught us anything, it's that there are so many things we cannot control. IT is still early to know the extent of the the side-effects of the pandemic, including the downturn in economy, the decline in the hospitality industry, the drastic loss of jobs. How do we prevent these?
As we navigate through a time where there are so many things we can’t control, I wanted to focus on what we can control. The plastics industry in particular has been affected whether it be loss of production or loss of jobs, and cost savings right now are more important than ever. In many cases you may already have a cost saving at your fingertips (like a purge compound), BUT are you truly getting the most out of your purge? Are you maximizing your savings? Are you using the purge to its full potential? It does not cost you anything to review your purge program, and here are a few things I suggest you check.
1.) Are you using the right product?
Product selection is key, you may have been using a commercial purge compound for several years, you have not tried to switch or enquire about an alternative because the purge works fine. However, have you added new resins OR even new processes to your production capabilities? If so, it is possible there are new and improved purge compounds available that are a better fit for your application.
Making sure you are using the correct purge can be the difference between saving 20% in reduced waste and downtime to saving 80%. Whenever you add anything new to your production, it is always a good idea to find out if there is a better purge for the job.
2.) Are you using the product to its maximum potential?
Were you provided with purge training for your CPC? Some processors like to use purge compounds because they can throw it in and it works, but did you know that if you follow the suppliers purging tips you may be able to complete the purge using up to 50% less product. Depending on the type of purge there are several ways to achieve this. For example, a mechanical purge can improve its cleaning capabilities by increasing the pressure in the barrel. By simply increasing your screw speed you can clean in just 1-2 barrel capacities. For chemical purge compounds best results are achieved at higher temperatures, so increasing heats in your problematic regions can again improve cleaning and may reduce the need for a repeat purge. Following purging tips can truly maximize on your cost savings by reducing the amount of product you use, meaning your purge supply goes the extra mile.
3.) Are there any other areas in which you can save?
Are there aspects where you are not utilizing the purge. For example, you may be purging on your changeovers (reducing waste on color or resin changes) but do you purge to seal your machine at shutdown, to save on the waste at start-up? When a machine is left empty, residue left in the barrel will degrade over time causing black specks at start up. The best practice here is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. This can be done by simply sealing your machine with a purge every time it is shutdown. Remember a purge can also work while the machine is asleep not just when it is running.
If you are not using a purge compound at all, there are a lot of untapped cost savings that can be achieved, but even if you are using a purge, there is always room for improvement. Maximizing on cost savings are always important, in any industry at any given time, but now more than ever, we simply can’t afford not to be vigilant.
Ready to reduce your production downtime to protect your profits? Learn more about how purging compounds and process efficiency work in tandem.