For manufacturers in the paint and coatings industry, volatile organic compounds or VOCs are part of doing business. From solvents to colorants, nearly all coatings in the world contain VOCs, which are released during the manufacturing process all the way through application and outgassing/drying.

In fact, paint and coatings production and use is the second largest source of VOC emissions into the atmosphere after automobiles, responsible for roughly 11 billion pounds every year.

With this in mind, regulators and industry associations have spent decades drafting rules, guidelines, and regulations for coatings manufacturers, designed to minimize the creation or release of VOCs into the environment.

In preparation for our upcoming whitepaper on VOC Abatement for the paint and coatings industry, we would today like to explore part of the solution—rotary concentrator systems—and why they are so important for manufacturers looking to keep operating costs low while destroying VOCs and complying with regulations.

The Role of the Environmental Protection Agency

Over the past 50 years, the Environmental Protection Agency has created and enforced regulations on manufacturers and producers and their impact on the environment. Through the Clean Air Act, its amendments and clarification letters, this regulatory body controls what you can emit into the air, how much of it you can emit, and how to monitor your emissions. Using National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), they set an acceptable volatile organic compound emission and pollution control standards for paint manufacturers across the country.

For many manufacturers, cost of compliance isn’t cheap, but it’s cheaper than the potential fines or even jail time that come with violations. To address this, manufacturers select and implement pollution control systems that destroy pollutants using high temperatures that range from 1,500F° (815°C) to 1,800°F (980°C), only producing water, gas, and heat as byproducts.

Rotary Concentrators Make VOC Abatement in the Paint and Coatings Industry More Affordable

Your customers rely on you providing high quality products at a competitive price, and in order to keep these prices competitive, you need to control your outlays wherever possible. From the price of raw materials to the price of labor, everything needs to be accounted for—including cost of compliance.

Cost of compliance is a common challenge—necessary to stay in business but unrelated to the product price itself. While there are many places where these costs are uncontrollable, your ability to become and stay compliant with EPA regulations is something that you can mitigate.

For paint and coatings, emissions are usually steady, often featuring high volumes of exhaust air with lower concentration. Due to the high volume and low concentration, destroying pollutants is often inefficient and manufacturers see diminishing returns on their investment. However, more paint and coatings manufacturers are using rotary concentrator systems to increase the efficiency of their pollution control.

In combination with a regenerative thermal oxidizer, Rotary Concentrator Systems begin by directing the process exhaust through a ductwork collection system, multi-stage filter, and then to a hydrophobic Zeolite media wheel where the pollutants are concentrated into a smaller airstream. Lastly, this concentrated airstream is destroyed by an oxidizer.

As stated above, these systems ultimately concentrate the polluted air, resulting not only in increased destruction and cost efficiency but reductions to oxidizer size as well. For example, we recently worked with the country’s largest paint manufacturer to design and implement a custom-fitted rotary concentrator system/RTO to handle a 50,000 scfm exhaust stream to efficiently meet regulatory compliance. At The CMM Group, we know pollution control and have worked with manufacturers in the paint and coatings industry since our founding. Learn more about our work, contact us to learn more, and stay tuned for our upcoming guide on pollution control in the paint industry.

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