Industry challenge: Consistent quality
Process challenges involve numerous variables. Surfactor, a manufacturer of surface materials, is not alone in facing the challenges of ensuring process quality. The biggest challenge for the industry is to produce consistent quality, as the diverse and not homogenous raw materials.
Surfactor Finland Oy has been manufacturing resin coating films since 1983. The special coating films are based on amino and phenol and manufactured in Puhos at Kitee by coating the paper with resin. The membrane film that is produced is suitable for coating veneer and other types of plywood. Surfactor supplies these membrane films for various applications within the construction and automotive industries, which demand durable and quality consistent products.
Stabile accurate dosing flow helps optimize the process
“Due to the variations in the quality of the paper, resin and additives, as well as humidity, the process needs to be monitored continuously. The fewer variables there are in the process, the easier the work of the operator becomes. The operators can then focus on overall process control instead of worrying about the performance of the auxiliaries,” explains Eino Kuronen, Operations Manager, Surfactor Finland.
To ensure accurate and reliable operations, Surfactor ordered seven new LPP-D hose pumps from Flowrox. The purchase decision was made after successful three months of testing the Flowrox LPP-D pump for colour pigment dosing.
Hose pumps also for resin dosing
The successful trial period with the Flowrox LPP-D hose pumps for colour pigment dosing encouraged Surfactor to extend the application to resin dosing. The diaphragm pumps that Surfactor used previously faced a typical performance challenge, jamming of the diaphragms. The viscosity of the pigments caused an inconsistent and inaccurate flow rate.
“We were not satisfied with the air-operated diaphragm pumps because of the challenges of adjusting accurate flow with the pump. With the new hose pumps the dosing is very accurate,” Kuronen confirms.
The availability of spare diaphragms for the air-operated diaphragm pumps was also a challenge. “The new hose pumps are very easy to maintain, as the hoses need to be replaced only twice a year and spare parts are available nearby,” Kuronen adds. “Spare parts for our hose pumps are always available off the shelf,” ensures Matti Saloranta, Flowrox Area Sales Manager.
As a responsible manufacturer, Surfactor keeps its own spare parts stock. “We really do appreciate the fact that the spare parts provider is nearby, so if something major would happen, the needed spare parts can be delivered to us fast,” Kuronen states.
The quality of hose materials is essential for durability
Flowrox has over 40 years of experience in elastomer technology. When delivering a solution to the customer, each process and application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis and the customer is offered the most suitable solution with the optimal materials.
Flowrox recommended to Surfactor an NBR hose for the feed of the chemical used in film molding. The chemical is almost pure oil, so a nitrile hose was the best option. The reliability of Flowrox products is based on process expertise and the optimal selection of materials.
Surfactor has successfully extended the usage of its new hose pumps into different process areas. “When we started co-operation with Flowrox, we had some issues with the hoses of the film molding chemical pump. Together we were able to resolve the issues quickly and since then equipment has been working very well. Recently we have ordered a new hose pump for the feed of lye (sodium hydroxide). I can recommend Flowrox products, as they have worked very well in our applications and processes,” Kuronen continues.
The focus on operational efficiency and quality at Surfactor reflects a positive development in the company. Surfactor’s main markets are in Finland, where there is strong demand for its products.