by Gennaro A. D'Alterio, Fybroc, Met-Pro Global Pump Solutions

ChemTreat, Inc., boosts manufacturing efficiency and improves customer service.

At some point in the development of most businesses, through hard work and a commitment to customer satisfaction, growth begins to accelerate, and customer demands reach a level never before experienced. Whether this occurs steadily through the years or seemingly overnight, it creates a host of new opportunities and possibilities and, naturally, raises questions about how well current capabilities can support a growing business.

Meet Growing Demand

This was the situation faced by ChemTreat, Inc., one of the world's largest suppliers of acid- and caustic-based industrial water treatment products. Because ChemTreat custom blends raw materials to meet the unique needs of customers across a wide array of industries—including chemical, food and beverage, automotive and fuel processing—its manufacturing processes are designed to address only the specific requirements of one particular order at a time.

The benefits of close-coupled, sealless magnetic drive pumps

Since one manufacturing approach or one blend of chemicals, did not apply across the board, the pumps that facilitated these processes had to be quickly removed, reset and reinstalled each time a blend was completed and a new order was queued. However, when years of steady business growth resulted in an unprecedented amount of new orders, it soon became clear that ChemTreat's existing pumps would not be capable of processing materials in the volume needed to address the accelerated customer demand.

“For years, we have promised our customers turnaround on an order in no more than three or four days,” says Dave Nuttall, senior equipment and plant process engineer at ChemTreat. “But when we reached a point where the pumps we had in place, because of factors such as repair time, gallons per minute and overall downtime, were jeopardizing our ability to meet these service commitments, I knew it was time to look for something new.”

Make the Best Pump Choice

Nuttall began his search for a pump that would enable ChemTreat to capitalize on new business opportunities—while continuing to deliver finished products within its established service levels—by testing the options available on the market against such criteria as compatibily, flow rate, reliability and manufacturers' turnaround times. In the end, Nuttall determined that close-coupled, sealless, magnetic drive pumps were best suited to ChemTreat's specific requirements.

For example, the chosen pump's solid, one-piece molded thermoset construction, which featured no welded, sealed or lined parts, delivered chemical compatibilities and resisted internal and external corrosion, which enabled it to handle the 55 acid- and caustic-based raw materials ChemTreat uses in its manufacturing processes without issue.

These high levels of corrosion resistance and broad chemical compatibilities, when coupled with the pump's high temperature thresholds and robust solids-handling capabilities, provided unparalleled reliability that eliminated much of the unplanned maintenance required by ChemTreat's previous pumps.

Because the majority of ChemTreat's orders are processed on a batch-by-batch basis, it is easy to predict when a particular pump will need to be replaced. As such, Nuttall appreciated the manufacturer's ability to quickly deliver new pumps as needed. “Because these pumps are available on an on-demand basis, we are able to order a new pump, install it and move forward with the next order, all without having to keep upward of $100,000 of spare pumps on the shelf,” he says.

Close-coupled, sealless magnetic drive pump installed at ChemTreat, Inc.

Close-coupled, sealless magnetic drive pump installed at ChemTreat, Inc.

Reduce Downtime, Improve Productivity and Customer Service

In the four years since ChemTreat installed its first magnetic drive pumps, Nuttall has been consistently impressed by how well they stand up to the rigors of the company's manufacturing processes. In fact, Nuttall can recall only a few times when the new pumps required service—a considerable change from ChemTreat's previous pumps, which would unexpectedly fail several times per week toward the end of their lifespans.

Not only have the pumps delivered impressive reliability, but they have also helped ChemTreat limit the number of hours that company technicians must dedicate toward preventative maintenance.

Because the pump is sealless and resists both internal and external corrosion, the amount of scheduled maintenance, as required by the manufacturer, is much lower than other models. This has enabled ChemTreat to fill a higher volume of orders between service downtime.

Together, these factors have reduced the total amount of downtime experienced in ChemTreat's manufacturing processes by more than 80 percent. As the frequency of both planned and unplanned interruptions has dropped, Nuttall has seen a significant rise in productivity, which has translated into a greater number of orders going out the door at a faster rate.