Wouldn’t it be great if you could have it all? With no more decisions about where to allocate your equipment budget or which purchases to prioritize, you could simply fill your facility with everything you need to maximize efficiency and increase profitability.
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as an industrial operation that has access to endless financial resources. At least we’ve never encountered one in the history of our company, which spans more than 65 years and thousands of equipment installations around the world. When the rubber hits the road, decision-makers will understandably allocate funds to the front-line systems that keep their primary operation running. The systems that deal with the byproducts of the operation – specifically scrap metal and spent fluids – are often regarded as nice to have or written off as an afterthought.
Give Me an R, Give Me an O, Give Me an I
With any expenditure, the question that comes to mind most frequently is “what is the return on investment?” How long will it take you to recoup the money you originally spent on the asset, and might that asset’s ROI be so favorable that it can actually fund other expenditures down the road?
The second part of that question probably sounds like another “perfect world” scenario, and we know things are never perfect in business. But it’s also well within the realm of possibility, especially when you move scrap processing, fluid recycling, and wastewater reclaim systems closer to the top of your priority list.
Here are two examples of this approach in action:
Changing Attitudes About Wastewater
Wastewater treatment in the metalworking industry is typically implemented for cost reduction, plant safety, environmental compliance, and risk mitigation related to avoiding financial penalties and liability. Historically, as metalworking companies have evaluated their wastewater treatment goals against a return on investment objective, the two have not always been aligned. PRAB’s broad-spectrum of industrial wastewater treatment technologies have diminished this dilemma. Now, achieving goals and meeting reasonable ROI expectations are feasible with tailored wastewater treatment systems.
Recently we partnered with a machine tool manufacturer to change its wastewater management processes to mitigate increasing water use and to virtually eliminate the need for hazardous waste disposal. The client was on the cusp of crossing a threshold of hazardous waste generation where the EPA enforces more stringent regulation requirements and larger potential fines. By implementing a new wastewater recycle and reuse process, the company could maintain a small waste producer status while saving an estimated 300 gallons of water usage per day.
The solution was a custom-engineered Ultrafiltration Wastewater Treatment System from PRAB, which has been in operation since November 2014. The system has proved effective at slashing new water costs and dramatically cutting the expense of waste hauling and water recovery. In addition, it has reduced Chromium levels in the wastewater from 40PPM to 0.05 PPM (EPA requires < 5 PPM) and delivered an estimated total return on investment of 18 months.
The Benefits of Briquetting
On the scrap side, compacting loose chips into briquettes is just one way to maximize ROI with scrap processing. When an aerospace manufacturing client of ours increased its machining capacity by 800 percent, the corresponding rise in the volume of aluminum chips warranted a re-examination of its scrap handling process. The client took a closer look at briquetting, evaluated several equipment options, and ultimately selected our Dualpak™ briquetter based on its features and benefits as well as PRAB’s reputation.
The Dualpak solution created a reduction in scrap volume of 12.5 times compared to loose aluminum chips, as well as a 17 percent increase in the amount the client’s metal recycler was willing to pay for the scrap. Additional benefits included increased savings from coolant recovery and recycling made possible by the briquetting process, and improved productivity of the machinists who previously had to spend a considerable amount of time handling chips both inside and outside the facility. All told, the client saw a 100 percent return on investment in less than 30 months, with 100 percent profit from the Dualpak system after that.
Reinvesting Those Profits
When a wastewater or scrap system reaches the point where it has paid for itself and is generating pure profit, that’s when you can use the additional revenue – which wouldn’t have existed without the wastewater or scrap system – to fund your other equipment expenditures. At PRAB, we understand that prioritizing these systems requires a reversal of conventional thinking, as well as a leap of faith. The examples we’ve related here are just two of the real-world ROI success stories we’ve achieved for our customers; there are hundreds more where those came from. We welcome the opportunity to partner with you and add your story to the list.