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Trim Paper Recycling Systems: Waste Not, Want Not

November 2013 By Erik Cagle, Senior Editor
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So, you want to install a scrap paper and dust collection recycling system? Well, you're in luck. We've assembled a coterie of scrap/dust collection experts who have long addressed your fellow printers' needs with installations tailored to meet their specific needs.

Your company is unique with its own set of needs that probably don't match up all that well with other firms, even those that are roughly the same size as your shop. So grab a cup of Joe, have a seat and we'll help you get started on conducting a feasibility study…or at least give you something to think about as you ponder what a greenfield install or improvement over an existing system could mean to your printing business.

Gregg Puhl, founder and CEO of G.F. Puhl Co., notes there are a number of considerations to take into account when planning for a paper recycling system installation. They include, but aren't limited to, local building codes, system sizing and backup, durability and reliability.

In terms of the codes, Puhl notes that your city or county may place restrictions on cyclone height, noise levels or the external appearance of your facility. And while an accurately sized system is important for the design of the system, Puhl warns against eliminating equipment redundancy in order to save a few bucks up front.

While the terms "durable and reliable" uttered by a salesperson generally make a printer's eyes gloss over, Puhl shows just how much a flimsy and unpredictable system can weasel its way into your piggy bank.

"If a trim system isn't built heavy enough to withstand peak waste 'slugs,' frequent breakdowns can lead to delays and unhappy customers," Puhl says. "But the problems don't stop there. Crews accustomed to the downtime created by unreliable trim systems may not be motivated to meet production goals when the system is up and running. When your trim system is unreliable, that sucking sound you hear is not the cyclone, it's the sound of profit dollars slipping away."

Puhl encourages printers to use a qualified air system vendor, one that can provide a basic level of support, including access to spare parts, a customer service rep and a post-startup warranty on system performance. Also, he notes that small printers who are kicking around the idea of adding a system often require reassurance that the payout, in the long run, will offset the cost.

For the medium-sized printer, this is the optimal time to target a new or updated system. "Recent plant closures have increased the availability of remanufactured equipment, which costs less than new and often comes with the same warranty as new equipment," Puhl points out.

"Large printers can leverage scale to drive down costs. Now is the time to evaluate where you might combine multiple machines on a trim collection system in order to consume less energy. If your system is set up for segregation and your scrap contract does not pay a premium for segregated waste, it may be worth looking at un-segregating the system to group waste systems and reduce energy consumption."

G.F. Puhl designs, manufactures and installs trim waste and dust collection systems for the printing, packaging and corrugated industries. With 30 years of industry experience, Puhl also offers remanufactured balers, blowers, filters and shredders with warranty.

Things to Keep in Mind

What are some of the more common mistakes printers make while assessing the needs of their system? Jeff Dietterich, president of Advanced Equipment Sales (AES), offers his views on some of the pitfalls to be avoided:

  • Stay abreast of environmental, NFPA and other compliance requirements, as well as their costs.
  • Understand the cost of ownership—system operation and maintenance. Budget for utilities and maintenance services.

Also, Dietterich recommends printers take into account the impact that paper recycling systems have on electrical and HVAC systems. "Some system designs squander heated and air conditioned air, making the facility uncomfortable and expensive to heat and cool," he says.

Some considerations to ponder in the planning phase, he notes, include safety, proximity to the production areas and loading docks, and the track record of the supplier, along with its knowledge of the manufacturing process. "After all, the goal is for the paper recycling system to be a complementary part of the overall manufacturing process," he stresses. "It all starts with choosing a reputable, highly experienced company for your system design and installation."

A system's safety and cleanliness will appeal to the quality-minded buyer, Dietterich remarks, as it generally ensures the system design process will not only be thoughtful, but engage the client. Also, he points out that automation can provide benefits by getting the best system performance for the lowest cost of ownership during the life of the system.

Advanced Equipment Sales provides automated scrap handling systems, and specializes in helping clients achieve efficiency and profitability in their recycling programs. Its latest product is the AirShark, a high-capacity rotary material separator for paper and film.

Annual waste tonnage, the value of waste paper in the marketplace (baled or loose) and deciding between a mill-direct program or a recycler/broker are among the top considerations for printers to ponder, notes Mark Kunz, WEIMA America's business development and regional sales manager.

Speaking of the value of scrap, Kunz says he has seen too many companies opt for a particular recycler/broker based solely on tonnage pricing, only to find out the company cannot handle the logistics of the volume moving from the printer's facility. Trailers may be unavailable for hauling or the outlet mill may be at capacity.

According to Kunz, new business opportunities can also play a role on the type of system that's installed, particularly if that influx of work calls for greater security measures than is required by the current customer list. Client jobs with sensitive information—coupons, barcodes, secured data and medical records, for example—may call for a higher level destruction of waste.

Kunz also points out that plant real estate comes at a premium and that a little design creativity can help bolster underutilized and flat-out wasted space. Leveraging unused rail sidings, storage buildings and outdoor installs provides a system that is unobtrusive and allows the printer to focus on the valued space for printing.

"The most important part in setting up a quality paper recycling system is support from all of the manufacturers involved," Kunz remarks. "Throughout the implementation process you should be confident that the team you brought together has your best interests in mind. The goal is for the system to exceed the customer's expectations."

Machines Built to Last

WEIMA America specializes in size reduction technologies, including shredders and briqueting equipment. WEIMA can process large or small quantities of paper, cardboard, sheets, rolls, documents or labels. Its machines are said to be designed to withstand the strength of stacked paper while also preventing paper jams and reducing dust emissions.

Aside from considering future capacity, Bob Zacary Jr., of Air Systems Design (ASDI), feels printers should consider the increase in horsepower and maintenance cost. With cooled or heated air leaving the building, there will be negative pressure issues, along with resulting costs from heating or cooling.

"Undersizing the trim duct and hp are the most common mistakes," Zacary says. "Printers should have a spec sheet and list how much waste per hour for each pickup location and largest size of product. Therefore, a trim system removal company should have no excuse when it comes to sizing it properly."

Zacary also recommends building a system that features 20 percent capacity in excess of current levels for future needs. Other suggestions include a system with low back pressure while everything is running, as well as an ample baler chute between the baler and separator. Above all, he cautions to take great care with the filter, as it is the most important aspect of the system.

"The filter must be sized correctly, one that has no confined space, and uses an air handling fan for a negative air system," he says. "New NFPA regulations must be followed; sprinklers and explosion vents are not just the only items required."

ASDI has been focusing on significant ways to decrease the dust in the baler rooms with more efficient separators and cyclones. ASDI offers filter systems with a constant back pressure, which will not add more work for the trim fans to overcome. This type of system offers continuous, maximum suction on the trim fans, which increases production.

Matt Everhart, national sales manager of the paper and secure materials recycling division at Vecoplan LLC, echoes many with his admonition regarding one-size-fits-all systems. Folding carton and book printers churn out with ridges, and other specialty materials can make it difficult to be moved through an air system. He emphasizes the importance of properly locating a system within the facility and making sure the materials from the generators throughout the production line are accessible and can be fed to a central recycling point.

The changing face of printing companies doesn't always take into account evolving needs in a given printer's recycling system, Everhart states. When a printer acquires a company that may produce a new product, can the acquiring firm's system properly deal with the new yield/variety of waste?

One of the biggest advantages is having a system that boasts dump-and-run capabilities, Everhart remarks, but that comes at a cost. "Not having the operator constantly standing there and feeding the machine, and having an auto-tie baler instead of manual," he says. "Baler ties are more expensive, but you don't have to mess with them. As soon as the bale is full, the machine cycles, wraps the bale, pushes it out and is ready to go to the next one without any operator intervention. That allows a 24-hour facility to genuinely be able to process materials 24 hours a day, even though the operator is only feeding and unloading the machine every few hours."

Vecoplan's line of paper shredders provide dump-and-run operation without the need of guillotines or floor sweeps. Ideal for baler preparation, the shredders are jam-free, eliminating the need for manual labor in the feeding system and are also integrated into existing processing systems such as pneumatic material handling systems.

A failure to evaluate the type of filtration being offered is one of the biggest sticking points with printers, according to John Prouty, president of Paper and Dust Pros. Too often, smaller printers are handcuffed by cost considerations, and filtration gets short-shrifted. That can be a major mistake.

"The first area that is cut is the filtration," he says. "So, they end up with hanging bags and tend to regret it. Dealing with the dust is a problem not only with the plant environment, but the quality of the product they are producing. There are several types of collectors, from hanging bags to compressed air cleaning to wet scrubber-style collectors. Our job as system designers is to educate the customer on all of the various options, as well as the federal regulations that apply."

The ease of operation and the training of key personnel in the operation of the system and what they can expect are hallmarks of a quality paper recycling system, Prouty notes. More often than not, if the system installer spends quality time with the customer during the commissioning of the system, it can help to avoid many headaches, he adds.

Paper and Dust Pros manufactures the Air Product Separator (APS). The APS allows for installations to remain under the roof; no bulky cyclones and support structures. It keeps the positive pressure at the baler to a minimum by only allowing the scrap to drop into the baler, not the high pressure air in the system. Air and dust are sent to the filter. PI


 
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