Why do we constantly need to give our equipment maintenance?
In the world of plastics, you can find an infinite number of processes to transform raw materials into finished products for various applications. Companies acquire PVC equipment that allows them to meet their operating needs and that guarantees a finished product according to market demands.
We all know that PVC equipment should be busy all the time, since the opposite represents a cost for the company. This counteracts the need for regular maintenance to attend equipment wear, which unless it means an urgent matter, it should be previously planned.
There are cases in companies where preventive maintenance programs do not even exist and only critical repairs are made to keep the equipment working. What they do not realize is that, by not doing a thorough maintenance, the operational activity gets complicated over time and makes work of the production manager more difficult. Because these repairs are not deemed urgent and involve a high economic cost, the saying "If it works, why fix it?" applies.
What's the effect of PVC on our equipment?
Referring to PVC, we should know that this is a highly corrosive material due to the hydrochloric acid (HCL) it emits and that, depending on the formula used, there may be high friction wear on the equipment. Also, mineral fillers used in PVC tend to promote equipment wear. Of course they're also used when seeking melt structure, ductility, and cost reduction. It is important to check filler cut and particle size to avoid major issues in the long run regarding equipment wear.
In a rigid PVC formula for drain waste pipe, usually the space between the screw and the barrel inside the extruder becomes wider over time, which makes it difficult for the material to fuse properly. By not having the equipment for PVC in proper condition, the company must reinforce the formula with lubricants to help improve the fusion, which in turn increase the costs of formulation. Surely it would be of interest to the production manager to have the comparison between major maintenance on a periodic basis against the additional costs due to formulation adjustments.
Of course, there are tricks to reduce the above problem as much as possible. Sometimes it is common to see customers lower the extrusion speed to increase the residence time of the melt in the equipment. It is also common to place a mesh to compensate for the compression required in the process.
Another very common case is that the injection and/or extrusion equipment does not have ammeters or pyrometers as guide to the operator to ensure that he is working under ideal process parameters. This in addition complicates the operator’s work since it causes frequent machine stoppages and requires constantly adjustments in the process conditions. Plus, this considerably increases process scrap.
To make things worse, many companies acquire refurbished equipment and also follow these bad practices that only complicate the operation. Additionally, not carrying out a correct in-depth maintenance represents the possibility of hidden defects that not even the company is aware of.
To sum up, we recommend generating a preventive maintenance program for your PVC equipment and identifying unanticipated repairs to reinforce this point. This in turn will help reduce hidden costs and improve the profitability of your operation.
At Chemical Additives, our technicians suggest carrying out face-to-face tests with our clients to anticipate any situation of this type, be able to communicate it and thus offer a product that adapts to their needs and their process.
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Chemical Additives S.A. de C.V.