Preventing Hand Injuries in the Workplace

Did you know that, according to recent reports, hand and finger injuries account for over 25% of all accidents in the workplace?*

home_pic5While the safety and wellbeing of employees should be the number one concern and driving force behind safety plans, there are also financial implications when it comes to employee injuries. The same reports concluded that each hand injury could cost employers up to $25,000. From lost time to workers’ compensation claims, hand injuries can have a major impact on the bottom line.

There are ways to help prevent this—for the safety of workers, of course, and for the productivity of a business. Here are some ways to minimize and prevent hand injuries in manufacturing facilities:

  • Analyze patterns: Are there certain trends that are related to hand injuries? Look at when, where, and how hand injuries occurred, as well as risk-reduction methods that worked (and those that didn’t).
  • Assess and analyze the job hazards: Identify the sources of these injuries, and thoroughly monitor and measure all potential risks. Once you identify risks, conduct an analysis that can study all components thoroughly and lead to concrete methods of prevention.
  • Employee training: Be sure every single employee takes part in ongoing hand-injury prevention training and awareness. They should be aware of all prevention techniques as well as all hand protection requirements and methods of use, and ways of identifying risks.
  • Provide proper hand protection: Identify the right kind of protection (i.e. safety gloves when necessary) and be sure the protection meets all requirements and standards, is appropriate to the particular job, and is the right size for each employee.
  • Continuous compliance and improvement: Regularly perform assessments of your safety plan and observations of all employee compliance. Keep communication open about safety procedures and goals, and adjust certain behaviors if necessary. Also be sure to communicate when positive behavior is being observed, as well as when negative behaviors are. Keep the conversations and plans ongoing and regular.



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Filtration: Keeping Coolants Clean

Fortunately, the United States manufacturing sector has been seeing an increase in business month over month after the Great Recession of 2008.  One company that has been seeing an ever increasing work load is a leading supplier of a range of components and systems for the aerospace industry.  Focusing on the global commercial, military aviation, military weapons, marine, and off-road markets, this company found itself with a booming business in the mid-2000s.

The company has an in-house machine shop that provides precise cutting of metals for extremely tight tolerances.  Working with CNC machines to get those exact cuts is their fabrication method for each component.  Their machines in the cutting process require a great deal of coolants to keep the high-speed equipment operational at maximum efficiency.

finlowwCaptureThe challenge for the company has been keeping the coolants clean at all times.  Clean coolants operate and perform the best and most efficient.  With the amount of work the firm has been taking on, keeping coolants free of grime (build-up of oils, metal fines, and other materials) have been a constant struggle in order to maintain the exactness of their tight tolerance requirements from their machining.

The traditional way the company had been addressing the dirty coolant issue was to frequently dispose of the used grime-filled coolant and then replace it with a fresh clean supply on a frequent basis.  Their boom in business came with some cost — the increasing need to dispose of thousands of gallons of dirty coolant at a $10,000 a year cost.

The company’s environmental, health, safety, and facilities manager remarked, “We were in a predicament at the time and paying over $200 a barrel to get rid of the coolant as a hazardous waste.  The increased volumes of waste were also going to result in our losing our status as a small quantity generator of waste, and we were about to be classified as a large quantity generator. That’s the type of classification that an oil refinery will typically receive.  We did not want to go there.  Something needed to be done.”

Fortunately, a solution was created within the company itself.  They had a filtration division that created a portable cart that contained a pump with filters and filter bags.  By connecting it directly to each of the machines it was completely self-contained and began to pump and filter the coolant without added electrical costs.  It can be moved from one machine to another and then sucks out the dirty coolant.  The used coolant is placed in a drum and then slowly moved through the filtering system.  It runs over night and then in the morning the coolant is clean enough to be reused.

This new filtration device has eliminated the company’s need to dispose of 44 drums of dirty coolant a year or about 20,000 pounds of waste.  In order to declare the system a success, the company worked with their coolant company to test the filtered coolant to see if it lubricity performance was still intact and wouldn’t harm the machinery.

This success story not only affected the financials of the company, but also the overall work flow, and the environment to boot.  Great job on the innovative solution!

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Switching Filters to Improve Safety

breadOn a scale of 1 to 10, how dangerous would you say a bagel is? I’m inclined to give it a 1, but I suppose since there is a knife involved in the cutting process I could justify giving it a 2. Generally though, the word ‘dangerous’ doesn’t come to mind at the sight of a bagel. If, however, you look at the process that goes into making the bagel, the words ‘dangerous’ or ‘hazardous’ may very well come up.

During that process, employees are required to manually change the filter bags which collect debris like sesame seeds, bits of dough, and corn meal. The problem is that the water running through the filters is dangerously hot, creating a real hazard for the employees every time they swap the bags.

In Alberta, Canada, the maintenance supervisor for a bread manufacturing company decided that such a hazard was unacceptable. He worked with Eaton to find a solution that didn’t require constant operator intervention. Eaton was able to offer a great solution to the problem: the DCF 800 filter. It not only saves the employees from having to work near the hot water, but also increases the overall filtering quality and efficiency.

The DCF can do all of this because it continuously cleans the debris off the filter and automatically purges the collected debris. Thus, there are no bags that need replacing and there’s no debris on the filter to affect the flow rate of the water. Ultimately, this automation also leads to a financial gain because it reduces labor and disposal costs. The two DCF filters installed at the Alberta plant were so successful that the company decided to install them at its facility in Langley, British Columbia as well.

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Filtration for Paint Manufacturing

PaintDroppingThe right kind of fluid filtration—specifically designed to answer any and all filtration problems—is integral to a number of industries.  One of the industries for which this is extremely important is the paint industry.  When problems arise, they can affect the quality of the product as well as the health and safety of employees, consumers, and the environment; therefore, proper filtration solutions are vital.

Recently, a large manufacturer of paints, dedicated to both continuous quality improvements and environmental safety, came to us with a challenge.  They required a new process for filtering impurities from soy-based resins used in some of their manufacturing processes.  The three types of impurities requiring filtering—naturally-occurring oversized particles, fine foreign fiber matters, and quality-affecting colloidal haze buildup—were proving quite challenging.

Prior to coming to us, their filtration process involved labor-intensive manual dismantlement of the equipment, along with dangerous exposure to gases and high temperatures.  The system created excess costs and time management issues, was overly bulky, and was highly outdated.  Even worse were the health and safety risks.

Working closely with them, and analyzing all of their specific challenges and needs, we installed an Eaton DCF-1600 mechanically cleaned filter, which met the challenges of the first two problematic types of impurities.  Next, we installed an Eaton LOFDISC™ Module filter, which successfully took care of the colloidal haze buildup.  The installed filters—ideal for viscous, abrasive, and sticky liquids—were perfect solutions to the manufacturers’ problems. Their self-cleaning functions and automatic debris purging created an effective, updated, highly advanced method for filtration that was just right for their product.

As a result, the company’s process is now safer, more environmentally-friendly, and much more cost-effective. Time and money have not only been saved, but any hazards have been eliminated—and as a bonus, the paint’s quality is now better than ever. It’s just one example of how the right filtration can make such a huge difference.

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A Soap Story

findlowCapture1Ever hop in for a shower, and you go to use your new bar of soap but find that there is stuff on it, like some form of dirt? Soap contains glycerin, which contains moisturizing properties. When it is being manufactured, if the soap is not heated correctly during the process, it can turn brown or form brown specs, which to the human eye looks like dirt.

Our Company has designed a filtration system in order to solve this unsightful dilemma. The device is a self-cleaning filter that can eliminate the use of consumables such as filter bags or cartridges. In addition, while also helping to save money, this high quality filter doesn’t halt production because it cleans itself automatically and reduces operator intervention.

One soap manufacturing company had a trial run with the filtration system and was very pleased with the results. Bruce law, regional sales manager said, “Removal of the glycerin impurities was very successful. The test unit delivered everything that it said it would.” There are hundreds of applications for these filters- not just for soap. They can be used for any type of hazardous chemicals or fluids where you want to reduce operator exposure.

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Biodiesel Fuel Filters: A Case Study

Alternative fuels continue to make strides in the marketplace, despite ongoing competition from the standard gasoline we all are used to relying on.  But just as gasoline had to go through a refinement process and adherence to set standards for its production, today’s alternative fuels are also undergoing similar demands for tighter scrutiny, standards, and controls.

Biodiesel is just one of the alternative fuels that are undergoing increased quality requirements and standards conformity.  By way of example, here’s the story of a biodiesel manufacturer that had originally installed a vertical duplex cartridge unit to filter biodiesel from a storage tank into trucks and rail cars.

The challenge for the company was to be able to filter out any impurities from the storage tank before it was transported to customers.  Unfortunately, the tank was configured in a way that required heavy expensive filter cartridges to be used and that had to be repeatedly replaced.  This expensive and cumbersome filter system became a burden and the company needed a better alternative.

Fortunately, a local distributor had a great idea to use a trailer mounted Eaton QIC LOCK ™ MAXILINE ™ Filter to show the customer how quickly and easily this system could work for them.  It had a quick opening cover and low profile design that offered both operational and safety improvements over their current filter situation.

After various tests and usage, the company decided that the Eaton Filter Housing improved their filtration efficiency and reduced costs.

Alternative fuels is just that – an alternative to what is already in place either because of cost, availability, usage or other factors.  Filters are the same – depending upon the situation, the substance being filtered and the costs, alternative filters can be the difference between a very difficult, cumbersome and expensive situation and one that is not.

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Increase Mining Efficiency with Quality Dewatering Filters

findlow capChoosing the right dewatering system is extremely important in the mining process. A quality filter can help save time and costs while increasing output and productivity.

What is Dewatering?

The dewatering process essentially separates liquids and solids through a filter. The solids are retained in the filter while the water is discarded. Many mines are located in climates where snow and rain are frequent, which can be an issue since only dry materials need to be extracted. The substances that are retained on the filter are referred to as filter cake, and the quality of the filter can drastically change how successful a mining project is. A good filter is needed to form filter cakes that are dry enough to meet transport moisture limits.

Why Choose an ErtelAlsop Filter Press?

EA-Series filter presses form filter cakes of 25-60% total concentration and are 32mm thick. Our presses come in several different sizes and can handle capacities as small as 1 ft³ to 300 cu ft and larger. We also have the largest selection of filter plates and filter plate cloth. We offer a 6 year unconditional framework warranty and start-up assistance on all of our presses to help you get the most out of your press.

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