Specialties Tapes Manufacturing Uses VOCs as a Fuel Source

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Ship & Shore Clean Tech oxidizer is expected to save $100,000 per year in natural gas usage. In addition, the upfront investment was reduced by $200,000 through receipt of a cash rebate/incentive.

The Ship & Shore Clean Tech oxidizer is expected to save $100,000 per year in natural gas usage. In addition, the upfront investment was reduced by $200,000 through receipt of a cash rebate/incentive.

Specialty Tapes is an innovative manufacturer of pressure sensitive adhesive tapes for a wide variety of assembly, bonding, mounting, sealing, and protection applications. Founded in 1977, they specialize in high performance adhesive solutions, coated on a variety of film, paper, tissue and foam substrates. Their products are used in a multitude of applications, in markets such as Industrial, Automotive, Electronics, Framing, Sign and Awards. Specialty Tapes broad range of products provides the perfect match for demanding applications.

During the tape manufacturing process adhesive is applied to a substrate. As the adhesive cures in the drying tunnel it releases solvents. These solvent emissions, also known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), are collected through a ducting system and transported to a thermal oxidizer for destruction.

After meeting with Ship & Shore Environmental, Inc. team of engineers, process measurements were performed. The data collected was used to determine the energy efficiency baseline and the VOC emissions during the manufacturing process.

This particular process solution is very unique, as the solvent emissions also contain silicon-laden VOCs. When silicon-laden VOCs are combusted a fine silicon ash results which built-up inside the recuperative thermal oxidizer and system required constant maintenance to remove the ash deposits from inside the recuperative thermal oxidizer. Natural gas utility consumption for recuperative thermal oxidizer required more than 80 therms per hour for the oxidizer burner to maintain the required abatement operating temperature.

After thorough evaluation of the data an energy baseline and process emissions report was created. Then the Ship & Shore Environmental team recommended a custom designed Clean Tech Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO) to replace the existing recuperative thermal oxidizer. This unique highly energy-efficient system was estimated to cost more than $500,000, to destroy the VOCs generated in tape manufacturing process.

The new custom designed RTO also uses natural gas to maintain operating temperature. After start-up and the RTO temperature reaches the preset operating temperature, the VOCs in the emissions are then introduced into the RTO and used as a fuel source. The RTO automatically switches from burning natural gas to burning VOCs. This is possible because VOCs have a BTU value similar to natural gas.

The Ship & Shore Clean Tech RTO has two built-in heat exchange chambers, which are insulated and contain highly efficient structured ceramic heat exchange media. The heat exchange media is used to capture approximately 95% of the heat of combustion from the thermal oxidation process. This is accomplished by the RTO poppet valve system which alternates combustion exhaust flow through each media bed to preheat the bed. As VOCs emissions are introduced in the pre-heated bed it raises the temperature of the emission stream prior to entering the combustion chamber. The BTUs in the pre-heated emissions steam provide the fuel needed to maintain operating temperate. Then the poppet valve system switches to transfer the combustion exhaust for pre-heating the alternate bed before it is switched again to handle VOC emissions. The energy-efficient design of the Clean Tech RTO provides for almost zero therm (no natural gas) operation during steady-state processing.

The Clean Tech RTO also provides a welcomed reduction in maintenance and downtime when compared to the old thermal recuperative oxidizer. This unique custom designed RTO was supplied with an evacuation system to reduce build-up of white ash in the oxidizer, resulting in a significant reduction in maintenance and operating costs.

During a recent interview Specialty Tapes Operations Manager, Frank van den Berge, said, "The Ship & Shore Clean Tech oxidizer is expected to save $100,000 per year in natural gas usage. In addition, the upfront investment was reduced by $200,000 through receipt of a cash rebate/incentive. Ship & Shore Environmental was instrumental in assisting Specialty Tapes with the application and prequalification process through their local utility. They received approval for the maximum incentive, $200,000, for a single project by Wisconsin utilities’ statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program."

Frank van den Berge added that besides saving energy and money, the oxidizer will help with production: “The old one had to be shut down every third Friday for cleaning and maintenance. The new unit should need maintenance only twice a year.”

The Ship & Shore Environmental mission is to provide energy efficient, innovative, quality products and services that help our customers meet the increasing demands of environmental regulation while enhancing productivity and profitability.

Ship & Shore Environmental is actively involved with several professional trade organizations and frequently provides valuable insight and advice regarding environmental issues facing manufacturing facilities today.

Ship & Shore Environmental will be participating in the upcoming Flexographic Technical Associations Annual Conference and Exhibition next week, known as INFO FLEX 2014, in Baltimore, Maryland, April 28-29 2014. We invite all to stop by Booth No. 827 for a chance to meet with us. Please contact us for a "free" exhibition pass.

Our hope is to share our many years of knowledge and expertise to help others attain a successful solution to environmental challenges. It would be our pleasure to schedule a private consultation to discuss how we may help develop a strategy to get manufacturers into compliance with environmental regulations and help them stay in compliance while improving energy-efficiency, and reducing their carbon footprint.

The FTA show is an event in North America that includes the entire package printing industry gathered under one roof. More than 240 industries will be there to give you a remarkable marketing and technology forecast about what is coming. Read more:

ARTICLE in Local Paper – Racine Journal Times April 18 2014


RAYMOND — Specialty Tapes Manufacturing still burns off the volatile organic compounds given off by the solvents it uses. But now the company is paying a lot less to do it.

Specialty Tapes, an employer of about 30 people at 4221 Courtney Road, makes adhesive tapes for numerous markets.

The privately held company recently finished installing a more than $500,000 regenerative thermal oxidizer to destroy the VOCs generated in tape manufacturing. An oxidizer is a pollution-control unit for the abatement of industrial emissions including VOCs which are harmful to humans, animals and the environment.

The oxidizer is expected to save about $100,000 a year in natural gas usage, Specialty Tapes Operations Manager Frank van den Berge said.

The new oxidizer went fully into use in mid-March.

In return for its substantial investment in saving energy, Focus on Energy, Wisconsin utilities’ statewide energy efficiency and renewable
resource program, has granted Specialty Tapes the maximum incentive for a single project: $200,000. The check is expected in mid-May.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, VOCs can have many harmful effects on health in humans and animals. They also contribute to the formation of harmful ground-level ozone and degradation of the protective ozone layer.

Specialty Tapes’ previous oxidizer was old and highly inefficient, van den Berge said. And it burned off the VOCs strictly with natural gas heat.

But the new oxidizer, made by Ship & Shore Environmental of Signal Hill, Calif., works differently, he explained. It uses natural gas to reach operating temperature of about 1,700 degrees.

At that temperature, the energy contained in the VOCs themselves becomes the fuel source, van den Berge continued. When it reaches operating temperature, the oxidizer automatically switches from burning natural gas to burning VOCs.

The unit, which is about three to four stories tall, does have to be kept on “idle” at about 1,000 degrees when not in use, van den Berge said. Otherwise it would take too long to reach full operating temperature on a Monday morning after the weekend.

Besides saving energy and money, van den Berge said the oxidizer will help with production: The old one had to be shut down every third Friday for cleaning and maintenance. The new unit should need maintenance only twice a year.

Specialty Tapes, which is based here, has six U.S. locations and four distribution points in Europe and China.

It makes 15 core product families of tapes and has another 300 different formulations in its repertoire, van den Berge said.

“Our main market is high-temperature masking, but we are also a big player in splicing tapes for web printing, automotive and other industrial applications,” he said. The company also sells tapes used for arts and crafts.

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Corinne Miller
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