Reduce the percentage of un-saleable starch

Problem

The starch manufacturer was producing 140 tons of B starch per week costing $2.8M per year in un-saleable product exclusive of wasted production costs. The project team investigated drain bulk transport storage tanks, extraction and refining processes, water vacuum filtration, drain brush filtration during grinding, dust catchers during drying and drains throughout the process.

They discovered that there were flow and density measurement issues and significant time to time variation in the amount of B starch produced in the vacuum filter section. Analysis showed that the majority of unusable B starch was produced in the drying section.  The team applied statistical testing to identify which dryers produced most B starch and which vacuum filter gauzes leaked most.

Solutions

The team discovered that vacuum filter number six was leaking and renewed the filter gauze.  They also found a blocked cyclone which caused extensive starch to be blown to the dust catcher which caused a significant amount of B starch.  The blocked cyclone was cleaned. A Total Productive Maintenance programme was implemented for dust catchers, cyclones, vacuum filters and gauzes and drain brushes. Controls were implemented for regulation of flow and density, drying time with related standard operating procedures and education for operators.

Business benefits

Un-saleable B starch production was reduced by 30% saving $820k per year.  Having established controlled parameters for suspension and dried starch a spin off project was identified to further refine remaining B starch for sale to customers. 

  • Reduce microbiology test time
  • Reduce number of dryer sieve gauze breakdowns
  • Reduce non-dust related rejects
  • Optimise capacity in drum drying

 

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