Manufacturing PVC dryblends demands a great level of accuracy in processes. A “filler,” such as calcium carbonate, is required as well as minor ingredients that vary depending on the end-product. In order to accomplish a successful PVC dryblend, the right ingredients must be introduced to the process at the right time. This requirement is at the heart of most challenges that PVC dryblend manufacturers face -- whether manufacturing roofing membrane, windows, flexible hose cables or decking material.
As heating-cooling mixers infuse oil into the product, other equipment must weigh and feed small quantities of material. Modifiers and stabilizers must be introduced correctly during the feeding of the product. Additives and “fillers” also are handled by robust equipment during the process. Relying on trustworthy equipment to facilitate the manufacturing of PVC dryblends so that the actual product comes out “dry” is a challenge unique to this industry.
In some cases, but not all, specialty ingredients are used in PVC manufacturing to adjust the color of the product. For some, white may be the only color put into a mixer. Others, like bookbinder material manufacturers, may run half a shift with red coloring and then change to blue. Many in the industry only put color in an extruder at the end of the system, but a portion of PVC dryblends face the added challenge of handling different color-enabling minors that could prove tricky to handle.
A recent trend in the PVC dryblends industry involves incorporating as much regrind material in processes as possible. This is both used to cut waste costs and aims to aid the environment. Product that isn’t in spec is being put back into the beginning stage of a product (as filler) can help manufacturers avoid quality losses in material.
Cleanliness is always a concern in any PVC plant for worker safety. When manufacturing medical products, such as IV bags, cleanliness also becomes more critical for the consumer. Whether constructing PVC pipe for windows or medical products, introducing automation can provide benefits beyond purely operational measures. For instance, while our quick research hasn't uncovered any instances where it has been clearly adjudicated in court, some suggest that a company's proactive dust control measures may offer some protection against workers' compensation claims.
OSHA, state agencies and trade associations often offer guidance on this matter. Compliance with this guidance is only a first step in total safety assurance. Companies can take further steps in efforts to not only help protect employee safety, but also protect the company should a claim arise.
Investing in equipment and technologies is one way to aggressively manage the inhalation and health risks of airborne dust. It could be worth a conversation with insurance, safety and legal advisors for their opinion on how these investments benefit the safety of employees. As in any industry in the world of ingredient automation, it’s at least advisable for blend plants to keep up with NFPA standards by performing a dust hazard analysis. Multiple case studies have focused on the severity and importance of maintaining dust control.
Different configurations can be made based on the height of a PVC manufacturer’s facility. Many possibilities are available for plants with capacity for a hundred-foot tower.
From AZO specifically, multiple linear AZO COMPONENTERs can be installed in a plant with these towers. Product can then be weighed and dropped into the mixer from a higher-end system. Docked bag dump stations that drop down and are accessed by an elevator can also be installed in these types of facilities.
Still, quality systems with bag dumps and COMPONENTER machines can also be designed when these manufacturers don’t have as much height in their facility. Knowing height limitations early on will help us, the equipment manufacturer, design an effective system for a PVC plant.
Blend plants face the unique challenge of properly measuring combinations of ingredients in bulk. At the same time, successful blend plants often implement easy-to-clean systems to avoid cross-contamination between these combinations of ingredients
A partner like AZO is made up of employees driven to discover solutions for our clients. What AZO brings to the table for PVC dryblends is process repeatability, reliability, cleanliness and quality. We’re known for providing exceptional service and sophisticated handling systems that can:
AZO solutions are individually fit to our customer’s requirements and optimized for the most economical and flexible results. Silos, material handling and weighing equipment can be provided by AZO to work in tandem with mixer heater-coolers in a PVC dryblend operation.
With direction and assistance from AZO, your PVC process can seamlessly fit together to introduce the right ingredients at the right time: