Vortex system helps Remlinger Manufacturing manage rapid growth
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 8:00 PM
KALIDA - Remlinger Manufacturing is on a roll. The Ohio manufacturer of agricultural tillage equipment has enjoyed significant sales growth in recent years. In fact, production demands have tripled the size of their manual welding department in the last two years alone. The downside? More welding produced more smoke and the increased production hours pushed the welding ventilation system to its limit. Remlinger was outgrowing its ventilation system very quickly.Remlinger's old welding ventilation system utilized components from various manufacturers. It was essentially a "homemade" system consisting of several small collectors that pulled air at the ceiling level and a series of wall-mounted exhaust fans. Although the equipment performed satisfactorily, the system was not designed to handle the volume of smoke now being produced by Remlinger's welding operation on a regular basis. The problem was especially noticeable during the winter months when the building was kept closed. According to Project Manager Jim McElwain, the management team recognized that a system upgrade was needed. Remlinger anticipated continued growth and, based on current EPA guidelines, knew the old exhaust system just wouldn't be adequate for the future. When management began researching possible vendors, RoboVent was on the short list.
The two companies had already worked together in 2008 when RoboVent provided dust collection equipment for Remlinger's laser cutting operation. Remlinger was very satisfied with RoboVent's performance on the earlier project and readily considered them for the ventilation upgrade needed now. "Their past performance earned them the opportunity to bid on the next project," said McElwain. "But they still had to earn the new work!" Ultimately Remlinger invited four companies to submit proposals for the new system.
RoboVent Sales Engineer Scot Wooten and Project Manager Dean Anhorn worked closely with Remlinger to assess the current situation and determine the most effective solution. They monitored air quality, utilized sampling techniques to measure the amount of smoke in the air, and determined the level of air quality that was desired. RoboVent utilizes a proprietary system to analyze the air quality and design a solution that has the right amount of airflow at the correct points, to guarantee results. This "RoboVent Calculator" program has been tried and proven in over 300 applications, and has been confirmed to be accurate in predicting results within 8.7 percent on average. This break-through calculation method is changing the industry, by allowing companies, for the first time, to predict the outcome of the air quality ahead of their investment.
Wooten and Anhorn also noted that the plant contained physical obstructions that could affect system specifications. Overhead cranes and pallet rack storage units against the walls presented issues for a full plant ventilation system requiring standard ductwork. McElwain says that the Remlinger team really noticed "the amount of effort RoboVent put in to choosing the proper system. They seemed to pay more attention to our specific needs and requirements." RoboVent's Vortex System provided the winning solution, offering several advantages perfectly suited for Remlinger's welding operation. The Vortex System features a proprietary engineering design that creates a circulating air flow that effectively captures and filters particulates. Clean air is then re-introduced to the plant through a series of nozzles that can be adjusted directionally and project the filtered air away from the unit. And because the Vortex System eliminates the need for traditional ductwork, it doesn't interfere with overhead obstructions or the pallet storage units used in the plant.
The Vortex System also provides maximum flexibility. It satisfies Remlinger's current ventilation needs and is scalable to accommodate future growth. As the welding operation expands and air filtration requirements increase, Remlinger can easily install additional units throughout the plant as needed.
The Vortex System offers Remlinger a significant economic benefit as well. The section of the plant used for welding and laser cutting operations uses a radiant heat system. After completion of the Vortex installation in December 2011, the heating system did not operate at all during production hours. The plant received adequate heat from the filtered air circulated by the Vortex System alone. Did Remlinger notice a difference in overall heating costs? "Absolutely," says McElwain. Although cost saving was not a primary goal, "We were amazed that we were able to use process heat!"
RoboVent returned to the plant after installation and conducted an education session for employees in the welding operation. They also offer strong phone support whenever needed. From Remlinger's point of view, RoboVent has demonstrated a true team effort, providing total support from first call through installation and training. The successful application of the Vortex System at Remlinger Manufacturing is an example of RoboVent at its very best - addressing unique customer ventilation needs with a strong engineering solution and delivering excellent service from start to finish. But perhaps the best testimonial is that Remlinger and RoboVent are now working together on a new project. They will be enhancing the weld ventilation system so that it will exhaust air during the summer to help keep the plant cool. And this time around, Remlinger didn't bother shopping for competitive proposals. RoboVent was their first and only choice. Jim McElwain sums it up perfectly. "This time we didn't call anyone else!"