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Past Project in Detail

Bandag Manufacturing - analysis of dust collection system

30/06/2003

Matthew & Peter in front of Bandag's primary & secondary dust collection cyclones   L to R: Matthew Sharland (UQ student) with Peter Longland (Bandag Mfg)  

BANDAG MANUFACTURING

Project duration: 1st semester, 2003

Student: Matthew Sharland, UQ B.Mechanical Engineering

BACKGROUND

Bandag Manufacturing Pty Ltd is Australia’s leading manufacturer of cold process tyre retread products, sold under license in Australia by Bridgestone. The company produces over 80 different tread patterns to suit a variety of vehicles, including light and heavy, on or off road (OTR) vehicles. Bandag use highly specialised and controlled production methods to make a tyre retread renowned for its long life, low cost/km and great performance.

During production, the ‘buffing’ process (creates an abrasive surface so that the retread bonds better with the tyre casing) produces a large quantity of rubber dust, which is potentially hazardous to both workers and machinery. To overcome this problem, a dust collection system is in place. The current system comprises an initial large low-pressure cyclone separator followed by a pair of smaller higher pressure cyclones joined in parallel. The dust caught by these cyclones is fed back into the primary machine. A series of shaker screens are also incorporated to catch the dust. A fourth cyclone filters air purely from the OTR buff line. Its collected dust and air is transferred back into the main primary cyclone.

During this process, a moderate level of heat is generated in the cyclone during the separation process. These temperatures ensure condensation doesn’t occur in the cyclone chamber which would clog up the walls with wet rubber deposits, affecting the airflow and hence the efficiency. This rubber is quite hot when it exits the system, and occasionally smoulders and begins to burn. An automatic fire fighting system is in place, in the event of a fire.

Peter Longland, Production Manager, Bandag Mfg decided that Bandag needed to re-consider the basic design of the cyclones, fans and ducting, etc in the system and recommend improvements.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

Peter liked the idea of giving this project to a CEED student as a training opportunity. Peter also felt that Bandag could benefit from the student’s up to date knowledge, at a reasonable cost.

The aim of Matthew’s project was to analyse the current buff dust collection system in operation at Bandag Mfg’s Wacol production facility, assess its effectiveness, and design either modifications or a replacement system.

METHODOLOGY

To achieve the above objectives, Matthew followed these steps:

· Find out dust sizes and temperatures throughout the system

· Document all acceptable levels of pollutants and noise as well as safety requirements set by Australian Standards and laws and those seen as desirable by the company

· Locate the source and point of ignition of fire in the current system

· Carry out a safety and risk assessment and identify any interim measures that could be taken to improve the safety of the current system

· Do calculations based on the current system and compare to test data. Identify any interim measures that could be taken to improve the safety of the current system

· Clearly define any changes that are required to the buffing machines or their positioning in the factory and calculate effect on the current system

· Investigate alternative designs, list pro’s and con’s (i.e. costs, reliability, efficiency, life, noise, use of resources, power consumption)

· Propose final design for system and its layout

RESULTS

Matthew delivered his report tabling all the test results and analysis, plus recommendations for improving the dust collection system at Bandag.

Amongst his recommendation, Matthew suggested that the primary cyclone is not required, as the secondary cyclones are adequate for the task of filtering dust during the production process. This was a surprising outcome of the project and is currently under consideration by Bandag.

If Matthew’s recommendations are implemented, he anticipated the benefits to Bandag would be:

· Lower operational and maintenance costs (approx. $1800pa saving on electric motor costs alone or ~25% saving)

· Lower noise levels due to a new smaller fan

· Better working environment for production personnel

· Reduced fire risk due to a reduction in air cycling, therefore lower temperature inside the unit

Peter Longland was happy with the results of Matthew’s project as Bandag now has an assessment of their dust collection system using high level measurement and analysis. The data that was collected and analysed, together with Matthew’s recommendations for improvement of the system provides a base from which Bandag can make future decisions.

Matthew’s report and recommendations are currently being considered by Bandag, for future capital expenditure.

MATTHEW'S ACHIEVEMENTS

It wasn’t all smooth sailing during Matthew’s project – January was the busiest time at Bandag for the last 2 years, so it was difficult to get access to people during that time. Matthew also found it a challenge to ‘marry’ all the requirements, eg. environmental, health & safety and the system’s functionality. However, Peter Longland was very satisfied with the results that Matthew achieved and he thought that the quality of Matthew’s work was “quite good and in-depth”. The University of Queensland awarded Matthew a Distinction (6) for his project.

Matthew lists his project achievements as follows:

· His suggested solutions, coupled with further testing would be of financial benefit to Bandag

· He outlined safety issues with the system and advised how these could be eliminated or controlled

· He developed a flow model of inlet ducting which can be used for the design of future systems

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