For many manufacturing plants, following EPA’s requirements on pollution control and staying within the demands of EPA’s operating permits can be both costly and challenging.

Plant managers not only have to ensure compliance but also tackle various human errors and material limitations regarding the operation of the abatement equipment and volatile organic compound (VOC) control systems, such as:

  • Unintentional adjustment of the equipment that causes sub-optimal functioning.
  • Lack of knowledge in the pollution control procedure that leads to the shutting down of a production process.
  • Equipment fatigue and failure that causes a device to shut down or operate under unsafe conditions.
  • Failure to resolve abatement equipment issues in a timely manner due to the lack of proper planning procedures.

An unplanned shutdown of abatement equipment can be costly. Not only can it put the entire manufacturing process to a halt but the plant could also face a hefty penalty from the EPA.

In addition, a control system that’s not running at optimal condition can increase energy consumption and therefore, the cost of operation.

It’s therefore important to have a preventive maintenance plan in place to ensure that the abatement equipment and VOC control systems are operating reliably so there’s minimal interference to the production process.

How To Design a Maintenance Plan For Manufacturing Abatement Equipment

Implementing a preventive maintenance program can help a manufacturing plant ensure that the pollution control system is operating at optimal efficiency. Here are some key aspects to focus on:

  • Keep a range of spare parts at the facility so that if a component in the abatement system is damaged or stops working, it can be replaced as quickly as possible to minimize downtime.
  • Use a portable VOC analyzer for frequent “quick checks” of VOC emissions to ensure that the system is functioning as expected.
  • Follow a monthly inspection schedule. These short routine inspections can take place during scheduled downtime to minimize disruption to the manufacturing process.
  • Create a checklist of preventive maintenance functions that technicians should complete during routine inspections, such as lubricating parts, dressing belts, and replacing worn components.
  • Minimize electrical draw by regularly running the system, measuring air flow, and adjusting the blower motor during routine maintenance.
  • Adjust the combustion system by precisely tuning air and gas ratios so the proper temperature can be maintained with a minimum amount of natural gas.
  • Schedule extensive and rigorous semi-annual and annual inspections, during which technicians should examine the equipment and systems thoroughly.
  • Keep proper electronic records of the results of and maintenance actions taken during each inspection. This maintenance log is required under the facility’s operating permit to avoid incurring a penalty.
  • Provide thorough onboarding and refresher training to operators and maintenance staff on the latest technologies and best practices.

Implementing a properly designed preventive maintenance program for manufacturing abatement equipment is the key to improving uptime, increasing production throughput, lowering the cost of operation, ensuring EPA compliance, avoiding hefty penalties, minimizing costly equipment failures, and increasing long-term equipment life.

Resource:

Reducing Air Pollution from: Paint and Coating Manufacturing

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