Ballast Phoenix improves housekeeping standards with a SkipVAC
- 02 December 2011
- Company & Industry News
Ballast Phoenix has improved on its own tough dust removal and housekeeping standards, thanks to a Gotland SkipVAC, the market leading name in industrial vacuum cleaning and waste removal equipment.
Ballast Phoenix is the UK's leading producer of Incinerator Bottom Ash Aggregate (IBAA), manufacturing around 300,000 tonnes of recycled aggregates a year. As glass, brick, stone, concrete, ceramics and fused clinker are used in the IBAA manufacturing process, large quantities of dust are generated and in turn need constant removal.
Dealing with dust on this scale means manual techniques are simply far too slow, laborious and costly for modern and highly efficient IBAA manufacturing plants like Ballast Phoenix's new one at Tilbury. That's where modern high powered compact and portable industrial vacuum technology like Gotland's SkipVAC makes all the difference.
General housekeeping techniques
As one of those responsible for keeping the plant clean and as dust-free as possible, Jim Tarling knows what just what the old manual ways of dealing with dust and waste removal were like: "When we were operating the previous IBAA plant, it was all outside, no protection and a lot of dust. Sweeping it up as best we could with brooms and brushes was about the least popular housekeeping task you could ask anyone to do."
"When the new plant opened we had a number of advantages, such as having the whole operation inside a large building. Being inside meant we also have misters to help keep the atmosphere relatively dust-free, but being inside of course where it's all nice and dry and windless also means there's that much more dust to deal with."
Three tonnes of dust removed every week
Jim continues: "To remove it all as efficiently as possible we've got a SkipVAC and we're using it everyday around the plant at various levels, and emptying it at least three times a week. That's the equivalent of around three tonnes or so of dust and waste from all the raw materials being processed into IBA aggregate."
Recycling dust and waste made much easier
Jim appreciates how much easier it is now to recycle the waste: "Of course, being IBAA, we can recycle all this waste back into the process, so it's highly efficient and makes for even greener credentials for the IBAA itself. The SkipVAC's separate hopper makes this easy to do, as it is just a matter of using the forklift and tipping the waste back into the process."
"The SkipVAC's excellent, and in this environment it's an amazing bit of kit. It's saved us all so much work compared to the old manual ways of cleaning up dust. The SkipVAC's very powerful as well, and the material we're sucking up is dry of course, which the SkipVAC's ideally suited for."
Flexibility and user-friendliness built in
With its 60' flexible suction hose and ability to pick up power from any of the 32 amp welding sockets around the plant, the SkipVAC's making life much easier for Jim and his team, and making housekeeping far more effective wherever dust gathers: "We've got various catwalks and all sorts of awkward places that are much easier to sort out when you've got the flexibility of the SkipVAC's portability and the extensions and nozzle accessories that come with the machine."
"The SkipVAC's also remarkable easy to use, and the lads actually like using it now. At first it was seen as 'another job', but when they started using it they soon realised it was going to help them do the housekeeping so much faster and more easily ó and there was none of the old manual handling, forever pushing dust around with brooms and shovels and barrows, which used to be very laborious and back breaking work to do."
"The net result is that along with the new IBAA plant and its technological advances, the SkipVAC is helping make all our working lives easier and better and safer. We have all sorts of external environmental and health and safety inspections and standards to pass in order to maintain the plant's ISO 14001 approval."
With his experience of old and new ways of doing things, Jim's well placed to appreciate the differences nowadays: "Ballast Phoenix is also very progressive when it comes to employee safety and those sorts of workplace issues, and the SkipVAC's all part and parcel of modern working techniques, much better housekeeping and of course the importance of recycling. Making IBAA is always going to be a bit dirty and dusty, but it's good to see just how much better things have become when technologies like the new plant and the SkipVAC are exploited properly."