Read real-life stories on how Galaxy has helped our customers resolve challenging problems.


CS 1 – OEM Emulsion Conversion

Situation

  • Customer’s original process was designed for emulsion chemistry but converted to a traditional water system due to high operating costs and limited capability with increased production
  • Previous competitor’s traditional program was unable to successfully operate five tank system – system had poor water quality/high suspended solids resulting in increased cleaning costs
  • The system’s inability to remove the paint solids caused booth balance issues and affected vehicle paint quality

Background

  • A new automotive assembly plant was constructed in the mid-2000’s
  • The paint booths were set up to run on an emulsion system rather than traditional water – thus the tanks had very small tank volumes, were shallow and had short retention times
  • A competitor attempted to operate the system without success. Galaxy was brought in when the customer wanted to improve their performance

Solution

  • Paint samples were screened against the Galaxy detack chemistries and the program with the best kill, clarity and floatation was selected
  • GCC 836, a high-performing product, was chosen based on the system’s operating challenges
  • Various application points were evaluated to mesh with the new sludge handling equipment – and the process was optimized
  • Brought in technology from the textile industry to deal with some of the customer’s challenges

Results

  • Galaxy was able to successfully transition the system to the Galaxy program, dramatically improving booth performance
  • System now operates with very low suspended solids (20-50 ppm) going back to the booths
  • Operating Cost per Unit well below competitive program

CS 1 – OEM Emulsion Conversion

 

CS 2 – Paint Sludge as Alternative Fuel

Situation

  • An automotive assembly plant was being gutted and retooled to build sub-compact cars using a three coat wet-on-wet coating system
  • The plant’s objective was to be “green” and for the sludge system to be landfill-free

Background

  • The paint sludge system was redesigned to utilize 10% of the old system’s capacity to dramatically reduce water usage
  • New sludge consolidation and drying equipment was installed
  • 40 yard roll-off boxes with additional dewatering capabilities were utilized

Solution

  • Paint samples were screened and evaluated in the Galaxy lab for kill, floatation, water clarity and dewatering ability
  • GCC 870, a high-performing liquid paint detackifier, was chosen based on testing and the system mechanics
  • The sludge system and the dewatering and drying equipment were optimized to create dry sludge

Results

  • Paint sludge solids are consistently over 50% and contain greater than 5,500 BTU per pound
  • Sludge is being sent to a local coal fired generating station where it is burned as “alternative fuel”
  • Titanium dioxide in the paint helps reduce mercury emissions from the generating station

CS 2 – Paint Sludge as Alternative Fuel

CS 3 – Booth Balance Improvement

Situation

  • OEM was operating 6 bumper booths using a high cost emulsion-based program which suspends the paint
  • Sludge was building up in the small integrated booth tanks, which had very limited access for cleaning or sludge removal

Background

  • The paint booths were set up to run on an emulsion system rather than traditional water chemistry
  • Thus the tanks had very small tank volumes with no way to access them while the booths were in operation
  • Static pressures ran as low as 0.2 inches WC in the scrubber – very poor booth air flow

Solution

  • Galaxy consulted with a prominent consolidator manufacturer and recommended the addition of a weir and an oversized consolidator to each system
  • This added water volume/retention time as well as a means to remove sludge continuously

Results

  • Static pressures in the scrubber average 3.5 to 4.0 inches WC (design 4.0)
  • Galaxy converted the first line and was able to successfully operate these systems using traditional water chemistry – now removes the paint sludge on a consistent basis
  • Sludge is dewatered in bags and further dewatered in covered roll off boxes – no wet sludge
  • Mist eliminator cleanings dropped from twice weekly to once per month – and in most cases, once a quarter
  • Booth cleanouts are now done by 3 people digging out the booth – in the past, the sludge was pumped into vac boxes
  • The Galaxy program is 25% lower in cost than the prior emulsion chemistry

CS 3 – Booth Balance Improvement

CS 4 – OEM Paint Shop Improves Sludge Removal

Situation

  • Facing increased production demand an automotive assembly plant had limited sludge removal equipment that could not handle the increased loading
  • Sludge bags had to be changed many times per shift which often overflowed causing safety issues as well as increased manpower to clean it up – costs were high

Background

  • OEM was operating at a production rate of 600 units per day and wanted to increase to 900 per day
  • The system was manually operated and labor intensive
  • The sludge system’s removal equipment had already been retrofitted from the original “drum” design to a scraper system
  • This was acceptable for the 600 unit per day production rate but would not be capable of handling the 900 rate

Solution

  • Galaxy consulted with a prominent sludge removal equipment manufacturer and had them contact the OEM
  • A proposal was developed to retrofit the sludge systems with new pumps, consolidators, and a sludge dryer that would handle the solids loading

Results

  • Galaxy operates the sludge removal system with 10% less chemistry due to the increased effectiveness of the mechanics
  • Labor has been reduced to the simple changing of the collection gondola twice per day
  • Sludge solids increased from 30% to over 50% thus lowering disposal costs
  • Sludge pit cleanout frequency has been extended by 50%

CS 4 – OEM Paint Shop Improves Sludge Removal

CS 5 – Water Conservation in Paint Sludge System

Situation

  • Galaxy noticed that the conductivity of a 150,000 gallon sludge pit was not cycling up as it normally should
  • It was suspected the water was being dumped to waste water treatment somehow and the plant was likely losing a lot of water

Background

  • Galaxy was treating an automotive assembly plant paint sludge system
  • Galaxy began to look for ways that the booth water could be getting out of the system because the water chemistry was not cycling up
  • The process was studied and it was found that water was being added to the sludge system when the booth went into entry mode – the reduced air volume allowed water to fill the booth impact pond
  • This dropped the water level in the sludge pit, causing the auto water fill to add fresh water
  • When the booth came out of entry mode, the increased air velocity blew the excess water out of the impact pond
  • This caused the sludge pit level to increase and activated the automatic blow down to waste water

Solution

  • The PLC was programed to disable the make-up water to the sludge system while the booth was in auto mode

Results

  • The automaker verified that over 15.5 million gallons of fresh water was saved on an annual basis
  • The annual flow to the waste treatment plant was reduced by the above amount

CS 5 – Water Conservation in Paint Sludge System

CS 6 – Conversion from Melamine Formaldehyde to GCC 831

Situation

  • A supplier and chemistry change was desired when a new Chemical Manager came in and took over this location
  • The Chemical Manager was looking for a more current technology that was also more environmentally friendly

Background

  • Production was going to increase from roughly 240,000 to 300,000+ units/year
  • No major issues at the plant but the new Chemical Manager knew that there would be benefits to newer chemistries that were more “green”

Solution

  • Better performance by changing over old melamine formaldehyde chemistry to all-organic GCC 831 using their performance criteria

Results

Numerous process improvements were realized by the customer:

  • Water quality to booth improved
    • 23 ppm to 7 ppm suspended solids – 66% Improvement
  • Collection Efficiency Improved
    • 2.1 dry lb. per unit to 3.2 dry lb. per unit – 52% Improvement
  • % Solids Achieved in Sludge Bins
    • 39% baseline melamine
    • 47% with GCC 831 – 20% Improvement
  • Pit Cleanouts
    • Annually with melamine
    • Currently more than 2 years – 100+% Improvement

CS 6 – Conversion from Melamine Formaldehyde to GCC 831

CS 7 – Reduced Air House Filter Changes

Situation

  • An automaker was experiencing filter failure in the recycle air house and deposition in the RTO

Background

  • One of Galaxy’s customers was experiencing higher failure and plugging of the primary, secondary and tertiary filters in the clear coat recycle air house
  • Inspections done by plant personnel showed a little water on the air house floor but clean air coming into the air house

Solution

  • Galaxy verified the day and time of the inspections
  • Galaxy monitored the weekend cleaning and start-up protocol
  • Galaxy determined that the start-up and chemical treatment protocols were causing the plant to start-up under an upset condition.
  • This caused initial foaming and high velocity air to coat the filters
  • Once the plant had run for a few hours, the foaming went away and everything looked normal

Results

  • Once the new protocol was installed, filter life was extended and filter failure stopped
  • An estimated $138,000 in filter costs were realized on an annual basis

CS 7 – Reduced Air House Filter Changes

CS 8 – OEM Problems with Paint Collection and Foam

Situation

  • Chemical Manager at an OEM was experiencing problems with paint sludge collection
  • Paint particles were exiting the stacks and going into the parking lot

Background

  • A chemical manager was having performance problems in an assembly plant with paint sludge collection
  • Paint particles were also exiting the stacks and going into the parking lot leading to numerous complaints
  • Suspended solids levels in the system were high which led to excessive foam
  • Since it was a chemical manager using Galaxy products, they did not ask for assistance until they were in trouble

Solution

  • Galaxy audited the system and found there was a problem with the product selection and application point
  • Galaxy performed product selection screening to determine the proper product mix
  • Galaxy changed a product and a feed point

Results

  • Total suspended solids to the booth dropped from 155 ppm to less than 30 ppm
  • Foaming tendencies were completely eliminated
  • No more complaints from the parking lot from stack emissions

CS 8 – Foam and High TSS in Booth Supply

CS 9 – Continuous Improvement Project Leads to Reduced Sludge Disposal Costs

Situation

  • An OEM facility was experiencing high incineration and freight costs for paint sludge disposal

Background

  • Galaxy replaced another chemical supplier at an OEM facility. Once the start-up conversion was completed, Galaxy implemented a continuous improvement program.
  • Galaxy discovered that the facility was experiencing high disposal costs due to low solids sludge

Solution

  • Galaxy audited the system and found problems with the sludge dewatering equipment, sludge consolidator and lab testing procedure
  • Galaxy found that the lab procedure was giving erroneous readings due to large sample size and short drying time. The OEM purchased an ASTM approved total solids analyzer.
  • Phase one: The plant was not running the blowers on the vacuum assist filter because they found no benefit to the sludge solids. Galaxy found that the original filter installation did not properly set the hydraulic seal on the filter which prevented the filter from pulling a vacuum. The seal was extended below the pit water surface. The vacuum blowers were started and then were able to generate a vacuum. Note: This equipment company is no longer in business.
  • Phase two: The consolidator had a rotary strainer that was plugged and no longer working to help dewater the sludge prior to the filter. Since the consolidator discharged the sludge by increasing the water level in the consolidator, this caused a deluge of water to hit the filter and overflow the filter. The sludge discharge from the consolidator was replaced with a mechanical scraper.

Results

  • Since this process was completed in phases, the plant went from generating very little sludge to dry sludge over a period of six months
  • Phase one: The sludge solids removal increased dramatically. Sludge cake is now able to build to 25.4% using a gravity drain.
  • Phase two: Repairing the blowers and installing scraper gave them a 57.7% sludge cake

CS 9 – Continuous Improvement Project Leads to High Sigh Solids Sludge

CS 10 – Booth Balance Improved with Continuous Improvement Project

Situation

  • An OEM facility was experiencing poor booth balance in the primer booth

Background

  • Galaxy replaced another chemical supplier at an OEM facility
  • Once the start-up conversion was completed, Galaxy initiated a continuous improvement program
  • Galaxy discovered the facility had issues maintaining the booth balance in the primer booth

Solution

  • Galaxy audited the system and found the facility had problems with both water flow and water distribution
  • Galaxy measured the water flow using an ultrasonic flow meter and discovered the booth supply pumps were 30% below design, even though the plant was less than six years old
  • Galaxy worked with maintenance and found that the original impellers were cast iron. The previous chemical supplier had constant issues with foam, which damaged the impellers due to cavitation.
  • Phase one: The plant started a PM program to begin replacing impellers with stainless steel
  • Phase two: Water distribution was a problem due to sludge deposition on the troughs and flood sheets due to a poor chemical treatment program from the previous supplier. Once the deposition was gone, Galaxy was able to rebalance the water distribution and greatly improve the booth balance.

Results

  • Improved booth balance allowed operations to focus on new paint shop challenges
  • The outside contractor in charge of booth balance stated that they could now actually balance the booth

CS 10 – Booth Balance Improved with Continuous Improvement Project

CS 11 – Odor Issue Resolved

Situation

  • An OEM facility was experiencing an objectionable, mysterious odor during start-up

Background

  • Galaxy was furnishing a Chemical manager with paint sludge treatment chemicals
  • The booth maintenance personnel were experiencing a foul odor during booth start-up on Sundays. The odor would go away and not return until the next start-up
  • The chemical manager was keeping the bug count below 10,000 cfu

Solution

  • Galaxy audited the system and found the facility had an unusual design where the central pit had booth supply and return pumps. Typically booth water returns by gravity to a central pit
  • Galaxy discovered that the plant had siphon breaks that allowed 10,000 to 15,000 gallons of water to stay in the piping. After setting a while, the water would lose air and anaerobic bacteria would only grow in the isolated water in the piping
  • When booth maintenance started up the system, the septic water would come into the booth. The booth had an air recycle house that would strip the smell from the water and return it to the booth
  • Since the odor was stripped in the booth and only the water in the isolated piping was septic, the operators could not find the problem at the pit
  • Galaxy recommended feeding a bio-dispersant, GCC 045, with the biocide prior to the weekend shut-down

Results

  • Odor complaints were eliminated

CS 11 – Odor Issue Resolved

CS 12 – Paint Shop Effluent Issues Resolved by Galaxy

Situation

  • An OEM waste water treatment plant was unable to keep up with treatment of the paint shop effluent

Background

  • Galaxy had the chemical treatment and operations of one line in a two line assembly plant
  • The waste treatment plant manager complained that she was unable to keep up with the treatment of the paint shop effluent

Solution

  • Galaxy began an investigation and determined that the chemical company in the other line was using blow down to control their suspended solids problem
  • Instead of solving the problem they resorted to blowing down the system to control the solids
  • The OEM began a point source sampling program and discovered what Galaxy already knew
  • The other chemical company was given six months to solve their problems

Results

  • The other chemical company was unable to resolve their suspended solids problem
  • Galaxy was awarded the second plant nine months later and got the other system under control
  • Issues at the waste treatment plant were resolved
  • The waste treatment plant should not be used as a crutch when systems are not in control – fix the system

CS 12 – Paint Shop Effluent Issues Resolved by Galaxy

CS 13 – Maintenance Savings after Galaxy Conversion

Situation

  • An OEM fascia plant converted to Galaxy Chemicals for treatment of the paint sludge system
  • The plant was concerned with a white powdery substance that began to appear on the roof

Background

  • Galaxy converted an OEM fascia plant paint sludge treatment program
  • After six months, operations was completely happy with the better performance of the system, but were concerned that white specks began to show up on the roof

Solution

  • Galaxy began an investigation and test panels were placed on the roof
  • After one month, the panels were collected and analyzed

Results

  • The white spots were coming from water drops that were coming out of the stack and evaporating, leaving hardness minerals behind
  • The plant had never seen this before as they were used to blowing paint out the stack and now they had clean water mist coming out
  • Prior to Galaxy’s involvement, maintenance was changing the bearings on the exhaust fans every three months
  • They stated that they had not changed a bearing since Galaxy started treatment
  • The plant was out sourced three years later without having to change bearings

CS 13 – Maintenance Savings after Galaxy Conversion

CS 14 – Water Savings

Situation

  • An OEM plant was concerned with increasing conductivity in the booth water system and that water usage may be increasing. “We never had to blow down water with the other chemical company!”

Background

  • Galaxy converted an OEM plant paint sludge treatment system.  After six months of operations, the conductivity had increased to the level where water needed to be sent to the waste treatment plant.  This plant was using an RO system to recycle waste water back to the plant.
  • Some paint shop personnel were concerned because they never had to blow down the sludge system with the other company

Solution

  • Investigations began and it was determined the other company had maintained conductivity between 1,000 and 2,000 for years, apparently with no blow down
  • This facility has a system where the booth water is pumped to and from the booth
  • Further investigation of the process by Galaxy determined that the previous company had multiple events where the under booth had plugged with live paint and flooded the basement.  This water then ran into the drain and to the waste water treatment plant.

Results

  • Waste water operations records showed that the amount of water treated after Galaxy came on board had actually decreased compared to the previous company
  • In conclusion, the other company was blowing down water, but in an uncontrolled manner

CS 14 – Water Savings