Waste Handling Systems : Paper’s Special DeliveryNovember 2011 By Erik Cagle
Purchasing a waste paper handling system is, for some printers, a bit of a letdown. After all, a good paper-and-dust handling setup does not directly impact the quality of product, yet an ineffective system can have negative consequences for your final pieces and bottom lines.
Still, paper recycling lacks the sexiness of a new press. Ever get jealous about the size of your competitor's baler? Didn't think so. Sure, it is a necessary evil, but if your shop prides itself on quality and attention to detail, then you can't short-arm your paper handling system requirements.
We've turned to the experts—the manufacturers of shredders and balers, along with the firms that install waste paper handling systems—to solicit their advice on the ins and outs of obtaining the most effective and efficient systems.
Key Points to Ponder
Deciding on a vendor to provide your shop with a new waste paper handling system can be something of a challenging task, and some printers may view cyclones, shredders and balers as rather vanilla gear, indistinguishable from one vendor's offering to another. Jeff Dietterich, president of Advanced Equipment Sales, cites five selling points that can help a printer differentiate between A, B and C.
1) Is the system compliant with current safety and environmental regulations? The ever-changing regulatory landscape plays a huge role here.
“The key is the interpretation of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards by the local authority having jurisdiction,” Dietterich says. “That could mean OSHA, the local fire marshal or the building inspector needs to interpret the NFPA requirements for the kind of trim and dust collecting system that is very common to printers.”
For example, there are 11 NFPA standards that could be applied to dust collecting systems, he adds, and within each standard there's a certain latitude for safety equipment, fire protection equipment and explosion protection gear. Advanced Equipment recently performed two large dust collection systems at plants in different Virginia counties. In each county, the fire marshal used a different NFPA standard and, within that standard, had different interpretations of the fire safety equipment needed on the dust collector.
John Prouty, president of Paper and Dust Pros, believes the system manufacturer should play a critical role in educating the customer on the ins and outs of the NFPA standards. “I have been in this business for almost 30 years, and have only seen one fire in a dust collector due to the fact that someone sent a small piece of metal through the system. But, in the unlikely event that there is an explosion or fire, protecting your equipment and personnel are the most important things.
“Not all system installations require all of the equipment that is available. Talk with your insurance carrier or local fire inspector to get their opinion,” he adds. “Always get at least two bids on the project, discuss the options with both vendors and make sure that you are looking at apples-to-apples bids. Have them rebid to make sure all items are covered.”
2) System reliability. Dietterich suggests you view the system as a utility, like compressed air or electricity, and neither the press nor the bindery can run without it.
3) Energy efficiency. “It used to be that more horsepower was a good thing because it allowed you to do more,” Dietterich remarks. “Now, you want to get as much work done with as little energy consumption as possible. Energy efficiency has become a big selling point.”
4) Redundancy. If a system component breaks down, are you going to be able to operate the system?
5) Capacity. Is the amount of trim waste that you produce today going to be the same amount in five or 10 years? No one has a crystal ball, so a modular design to add future capacity or building in extra capacity in anticipation of future growth is advisable.
“Establish what size/capacity of system is required to service the current needs, as well as planned future requirements looking three to five years out,” advises John Jurk, vice president of Kernic Systems. “The up-front cost to allow for future expansion is minimal compared to reworking or replacing the system at a later date.”
Jurk notes that it is a common practice in the industry for the printer's paper recycler to finance the system, with its cost paid down against the paper revenue. Many printers opt for this, since it requires no out-of-pocket expense, but Jurk warns against becoming too detached from the process.
“The down side: If printers are not actively involved in the design and the procurement of the system, they will often end up with just the bare minimum,” Jurk notes. “So, six months down the road—when the printer purchases a new saddlestitcher for his bindery or possibly a new in-line trimmer at the press delivery—he’s told there is no capacity allowance for the addition. Now, the printer is faced with unexpected additional costs to expand or replace the system.”
Since a key to a quality recycling system is to reduce labor cost and increase production (not to mention finding a better use for the Gaylord boxes), it behooves the printer to ask questions about the system and its components, notes Bob Zacary Jr., president of Air Systems Design (ASDI).
For example, Zacary points out that each ASDI system is designed with conveying velocities that include an extra margin of safety, which is also designed into the main components of the system (separator, fans, dust filters). They help prevent costly clogs in the system and costly shut downs.
“Printers should ask questions about the inside of the components—why is one vendor’s separator or cyclone so much larger and the other’s so much smaller?” he poses. “Why does one vendor have 24 cartridge filters and the other have only 18? How do they come out? (Printers) should ask for these drawings, understand what each one does and how it works.”
Gregg Puhl, founder and CEO of G.F. Puhl Co., warns against basing a purchasing decision solely on cost. Systems with a lower price point, he says, are often missing critical components that can lead to expensive issues down the road.
Low-priced systems may be designed with below-recommended conveying velocities or substandard materials like thin-gauge metal or short-radius elbows. In each instance, the up-front costs are less, but printers are destined to pay a higher price on the back end due to metal fatigue cracking, reduced suction, increased energy usage and—of course—more system plugs.
“The old adage, ‘You get what you pay for’ applies here,” he remarks. “If, on paper, it looks to be a lot cheaper system, it’s important to make an apples-to-apples comparison between system proposals. I would ask vendors to explain in detail what their quotes include, and how differences in filter media square footage, air-to-cloth ratios, horsepower, inlet CFMs and velocities affect system cost and performance.
“It’s also critical to break out and compare the cost of the auxiliary items such as access platforms and ladders, lift equipment, freight, electrical and building modifications. Some proposals include these auxiliary items; others don’t,” according to Puhl. “Low-priced vendors often quietly omit these items from their proposals in order to appear to be the low-cost bidder. Because the inclusion or omission of these items can make a significant difference in the total cost of the project, the apples-to-apples comparison is the most important way to avoid these unpleasant surprises.”
Not over-emphasizing cost is a caveat shared by Roger Williams, sales manager for American Baler. When considering the overall value proposition of an offering, Williams cautions not to overlook the post-installation service component.
“The end user has to determine that if the equipment being considered is close to being equal, which company is going to provide better service, both in troubleshooting assistance and in repair parts,” Williams says. “Does the company have dealers or service centers nearby that can provide assistance? The customer also needs to consider how much of a nuisance the system is going to be in his everyday business.”
Some other intangibles Williams believes should be considered by clients include the marketability of bales; can they be sold domestically and exported internationally? Also, the printer needs to know whether the finished product is within acceptable limits in regard to contamination.
An efficient waste system and recycling program can certainly help give a printing establishment the edge in an era when green manufacturing can sway an environmentally-conscious customer. It can portray your firm as a good steward and corporate neighbor, states Mark Kunz, manager of business development for WEIMA America.
“The big advantage of green marketing is the competitive posture your sales team has approaching new opportunities,” he says. “If you are bidding on jobs against a competitor that already has an efficient waste management system in place, they are receiving revenues for their waste stream that you are not. This provides for more attractive pricing, since they can work off of slimmer margins due to the higher waste paper revenues. These revenues represent dollars that should not be ignored.”
Ed Fakeris, president and CEO of Ohio Blow Pipe, underscores the importance of having the scrap paper supplier involved in the decision-making process as early as possible with a new installation or when relocating to a different facility, particularly for under-roof systems in an environment where space is a premium. Most of all, it behooves the printer to become educated on the subject of paper recycling systems.
“Go out and visit sites. Take a look at different vendors and make comparisons,” he advises. “Get references. No two companies do things the same way, so you need to kick the tires. Don’t trust just anybody. Make sure you’re educated about the various options.” PI