Critical Spare Parts
The spring season has arrived! I hope everyone is ready for a great summer. I can’t wait to start putting miles on the bicycle. The arrival of spring has a special meaning to me, since it is when I started my employment with ENTEK. This year marks my first anniversary of many to come. We had an exciting 2016 and a great start to 2017 and I hope the same is true for you.
For this issue of Extrusion Solutions, I would like to focus on the idea or concept of critical spare parts. Critical spare parts are those parts identified during a critical analysis which are essential to the operation of production equipment. When completing the analysis, you reveal the direct impact on employee safety, nature or environment, and the production process a given failure may have.
Keeping Parts in Stock
After deeming you have critical spare parts, the next step is to identify the acceptable amount of downtime. In most cases this will be 24 hours or less. Then working with your vendors, you should confirm the availability of the critical spare parts. If the vendors stock them and can guarantee delivery within your desired time frame, then inventory, at your site, is not necessary. However, our experience shows that in most cases the critical spare parts will need to be purchased and inventoried at your site.
Most production compounding lines are made up of equipment from multiple vendors. There are the feeders and material handling systems, the extruder or compounder, and the downstream equipment. Let’s consider a strand pelletization production line. One critical piece of equipment would be the pelletizer itself. Without the pelletizer you are not able to produce pellets. One option is to have redundancy or a second pelletizer. Another option is to stock the critical spares for the pelletizer unit. These could be the rotary and stationary blades, drive belts, drive motor, etc.
Consider the heating and cooling on twin-screw extruder barrel sections. In most cases the barrel heating and cooling has a big impact on the ability to produce the final compound with desired properties. In the picture below you will see an L plate barrel heater, cartridge heater, and thermocouple wire. In particular, a thermocouple wire is required in order to supply feedback on the actual temperature. The cost to keep extra thermocouple wires on hand is justified by the potential lost revenue that would occur if the production line is not operational.
ENTEK’S Pilot Plant is At Your Service!
If you are interested in running material compounding trials on the QC3-43mm Twin Screw Extruder at the ENTEK Pilot Plant, or on your machine at your facility, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you make the trip to visit us in Lebanon, OR not only will we complete your trial but you will also have the opportunity to see ENTEK’s extruder manufacturing operations.