LAPP Insulators was looking for a system that provided constant, consistent recycling in order to keep the manufacturing line running efficiently.
Founded in 1916, LAPP Insulators has a history of extending limits. One of the most progressive porcelain manufacturing plants in North America, LAPP boasts a workcell production flow and state-of-the art pug mills and kilns. It has a long history of product innovation and improvement and is a leader in quality, high voltage insulators.
The LeRoy, NY, site of LAPP Insulators serves as the company headquarters and production facility for station and line post insulators and porcelain housings. The site maintains three shifts daily and employs approximately 400 at the locality.
Within the manufacturing process, a base ceramic cylinder has approximately 60% of the clay log lathed off the molded insulator. These clay turnings are then recycled and reprocessed. Screw pump conveyors that were in place were inefficient and maintenance-dominated. Cost for replacement parts and upkeep was running approximately $20,000 per year not including the losses for downtime. With uninsulated convey lines running for as far as one hundred feet and passing through the ceiling and across the roof, extreme temperature changes needed to be considered. LAPP was looking for a system that provided constant, consistent recycling in order to keep the manufacturing line running efficiently.
Additionally, when LAPP reviewed their product flow and revised their plant layout, they needed to eliminate manual and forklift material handling of dust collected by air filtration equipment.
Previously, LAPP was emptying the collectors with forklifts, causing dusting at the origination, along the transportation route and at the destination site.
Cyclonaire Corporation provided dense phase, gravity filled pneumatic conveyors (DPG), which were installed under the collection hoppers. With 5 cubic foot capacity hoppers, the DPG-5B is fitted with a 6″ inlet and conveys in a 2.5″ line at a rate of 3,400 PPH. LAPP Insulators replaced two screw pumps with DPG-5B’s. The DPG-5B receives the clay turnings and returns them directly into the manufacturing process. Six DPG-3B dense phase conveyers are also installed under dust collection hoppers. The dust from the collectors is recycled back to the inventory storage silo.
LAPP Insulator’s process is now a continuous cycle from extrusion to kiln with no cue areas. It has allowed for production to double, with most orders filled in 6 weeks rather than the 10-12 weeks it took before installing the Cyclonaire dense phase conveyors.
The environmental concerns of manually dumping the dust collectors has been eliminated and working conditions have significantly improved.
Payback of the purchase was between 12 and 18 months, and with the equipment in place for more than 5 years, LAPP has experienced the benefits of a reliable, well-engineered system that performs consistently. According to Tom Heaman, Director of Manufacturing Engineering for LAPP Insulators, all concerns regarding equipment downtime for screw pumps were virtually eliminated.
“Sometimes, something like a cleaning pad might get left in the wrong place and get dropped in, but the Cyclonaire system is simple to dismantle and clean. It works so well it’s been like gaining a full-time maintenance person,” said Heaman.