Increase Yield While Consuming Fewer Resources
|When customers rely on your products for fighting fires, it is critical that your product is made correctly. That is the case for The Solberg Co., a manufacturer of firefighting foam concentrates and custom foam suppression systems and hardware|
Solberg foam concentrates are a firefighting foam product, packaged and sold in 5-gallon pails, 55-gallon drums and 265-gallon totes. Firefighting foams are used to suppress or extinguish Class A (ordinary combustibles) and Class B (flammable liquid) fires. Firefighters use Class B foam to fight industrial fires in industries, such as aerospace, chemical production, defense, energy generation, marine, mining, pharmaceuticals and others.
Correct blending is critical
For Solberg, poor batch quality caused by inaccurate blending means expensive finite materials are wasted. Solberg must dispose of any bad batches because they can cause more than just reputational damage to the company; bad batches can have life or death consequences. If firefighting foam concentrates are incorrectly blended, the product could fail to suppress fires as designed, with devastating results.
When Solberg opened its new facility in Green Bay, Wisconsin, it took a hard look at the design of its blending operation to control production in a sustainable and economical way. The company turned to its local measurement and process control equipment distributor, Valley Scale Service, Inc., for advice. The IND780batch controller from METTLER TOLEDO was a natural fit because it ensures that Solberg’s foam concentrates always are made with the correct amount of raw materials, which ensures top quality and helps improve the company’s ecological footprint by reducing waste.
Improved productivity and reduced waste
Valley Scale installed the IND780batch terminal to control two heavy capacity METTLER TOLEDO weighing platforms—one for each of Solberg’s twin 5,500 gallon blend tanks. With the new equipment, operations are running much more smoothly and productivity has improved, says The Solberg Co. Vice President of Engineering Steve Hansen.
Blending accuracy is critical to producing the best product at the lowest cost with minimal waste, says The Solberg Co. Vice President of Global Marketing Dave Pelton. “Precise blending is important not only for the performance of the product, but also because of the cost of the raw materials that go into the products. We want to maximize yield and reduce waste,” he says.
Consistent quality ensured
Hansen agrees that perfect blending is key in the firefighting foam industry. “As our products carry multiple agency listings and approvals, the ability to blend consistently is paramount,” he says. “The IND780 batching process allows us to set tolerances on each raw material addition to achieve the required quality.” The IND780batch has shortened the blend time for products while increasing throughput and capacity.
Precise blending allows Solberg to produce a consistent, high-quality product for a critical application while maintaining an efficient and environmentally conscience operation. "The IND780batch has been dead-on accurate,” Pelton says. “For us it’s all about improved efficiencies.”