Build-up of sludge in various locations in the system can wreak havoc with the operation of the booth itself. Sludge build-up on the flood sheets will lead to poor water distribution and open gaps where live paint overspray can make its way into the scrubbing chamber and up the stacks. Booth balance will also be affected potentially impacting paint finish quality. Sludge in the piping will clog off water flow and have a similar effect. Paint sludge getting up the stacks is a huge signal that booth balance is off – with the potential for the sludge to exit the stacks and go out to the parking lot.
Sludge build-up in booth sumps, holding tanks, and pits can go unnoticed until it’s time for a cleanout – or the system starts to experience ramping up of suspended solids; and proliferation of bad odors from anaerobic bacteria that get stirred up during Monday morning start-ups. The key to resolving this buildup is running the process so that the detackification “detack” chemistry and paint sludge removal equipment are working in sync. If either one gets out of whack, sludge will build up in the system. Ultimately the plant will need to shut down the system, clean out the sludge and haul it off for disposal. This costs money and adds to the overall cost to run the paint system. Of course, over extended periods of time all systems will require sump/pit clean-outs.
All industrial equipment requires maintenance. The key question to ask is what is a reasonable frequency and what will that cost in lost production and manpower/resource costs. Every system is different so there is no magical answer – and most plants learn through experience what their schedule should be. Having said that, a poorly run chemical treatment program coupled with system inattention is a formula for disaster. Both need to be managed and run properly to keep plant costs to a minimum.
Being more “green” can mean a variety of things – such as a more environmentally-friendly detack program, creating a drier sludge reducing disposal costs and impact on the waste processing facility, using less water for conservation reasons or to reduce the impact on the waste treatment plant, or creating a sludge that can be receptive to a fuels blending program. Galaxy can work with the plant to come up with a plan to deal with any or all of these challenges.
Foam in the booth can interfere with booth balance and impact the painting operation. Foam in the pit/sump can lead to sludge removal problems. Foam getting out the stacks can lead to paint deposits on surfaces outside the plant. Sources of foam are many – but a few include high dissolved and suspended solids, increased organic loading, solvent dumps, chemical treatment that is improper or out of control, and highly aerated situations, such as pump cavitation. Galaxy understands the sources of foam and also has products to control it.
No paint detack and sludge conditioning program will be successful if the sludge removal equipment is not working properly. Whether it’s a flotation/dewatering device, centrifuge, gravity filter, etc., the equipment must be maintained regularly and operated to its design specs. Some key aspects of running the equipment within design include proper flow rates, solids loading levels matched to the equipment, and correct filter media and processing cycles, to name a few.
What to do with the resulting paint sludge is a challenge presented to all painting facilities. Each plant may have its own issues with the sludge – whether it’s dealing with a sludge that is too wet to landfill, trying to avoid landfilling completely, or coming up with a solution where the sludge could potentially be recycled or used as a fuel. As a working partner, Galaxy can assist your plant to come up with a solution that best matches your sludge disposition needs.
There are many types of sludge consolidation equipment out there – including skimmers, gravity and vacuum filters, flotation/dewatering units, centrifuges, sludge dryers, home-made devices, and more. Some equipment requires dispersion of paint solids in the booth while others require flotation – and in some instances, the plant needs to sink the sludge. Galaxy can tailor the paint detack and sludge conditioning chemistry to best match with the equipment you have through lab screening and on-site tests.
Nothing is more important than having a safe production work place. Paint booth systems are wet and as such, present safety challenges that could potentially result in personal injury. Although many safety issues can be controlled through good housekeeping practices, there are instances where the support of Galaxy expertise can be brought in to gain better control of a wet or foaming situation.