Is your process consuming too much fluid?

On a day-to-day basis, companies are consuming 20-30% more fluid than necessary.

Product over-usage erodes profitability, it puts the process at risk, presents un managed health and safety risk and negatively impacts plant sustainability.

What’s the number 1 source of this waste?

Well in fact there are three main reasons that companies are consuming more product than they require, representing a major source of waste in their manufacturing process.

1) Poor concentration control
2) Poor contamination management strategies
3) Poor product choice

Concentration control will be the focus of this discussion since it is often the most misunderstood and toughest to manage aspect of the fluid use process.

Fluid systems are extremely dynamic with many factors impacting their day to day condition. There are three “zones” that a fluid system could find itself in on any given day. Fluids are either within spec, costing more than necessary or putting your process or people at risk. We call these three zones the target zone, the waste zone and the danger zone. The Target zone is the ideal, its where fluid condition is properly balancing fluid/waste cost with process performance. This is the desired zone, where direct costs are being managed with process performance and Health and Safety Risk. In the waste zone, too much product is being used and too much waste is being generated. Concentrations and therefore the on-going direct costs are much higher than they need to be, hurting the profitability of the facility. The danger zone is when fluid condition itself is potentially impacting the production process, or presenting H&S risk in a negative way.

Why is it so hard to stay in the target zone? Because fluid condition is so dynamic and can be impacted by so many different variables in an active manufacturing environment. Rate of evaporation, rate of carry out, rate of top, nature of top up, contamination levels, type of contamination, spills, overflows, change-outs, product volatility etc., all change day to day and impact fluid condition on an ongoing basis (in some cases on a hour to hour basis). Without the necessary infra structure and condition based management, fluids wander in and out of the target, waste and danger zones.

Due to the fiscal impact and risk of operating within the danger zone, companies have put in procedures that work to keep their systems out of this zone. PM’s are often used in a proactive manner in their efforts to avoid having to react to a fluid related event. PM’s however can be wasteful since they have to be conservative by nature. Performing too many PM’s consumes precious resources and generates expensive waste (labor, fluids, etc.). Excessive PM’s negatively impacts plant OEE by reducing process availability.

The Target Zone sits right next to the danger zone, and if process volatility is left un-managed, its very east to slip from the target zone into the danger zone. The waste zone is big. It creates a large buffer between the target zone and the danger zone and therefore the more volatile the process, the larger the plant needs to run in the waste zone to prevent a fluid related event.

So what’s the number 1 reason that plants are consuming far more fluid than necessary? The cost of a fluid related event is so significant, that plants default to a large waste buffer between the target zone and the danger zone. The on-going cost of operating within the waste zone however is significant and hurts profitability and long term plant sustainability.

The key then to optimization is to take the on-going volatility out of the fluid use process, so that its possible to run sustainability within the target zone, minimizing the risk that the process will slip into the danger zone and cause a fluid related event.

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