In Focus: The Benefits of Prevention
This is based on an actual example: Coating "A"-a "traditional" coating-has total solids by volume of 32.62% (the rest being largely eventual waste) and costs just $13.67 per gallon.
Coating "B" has total solids by volume of 99.69% but costs over twice as much, or $35 per gallon.
Assuming similar transfer efficiencies and coating thickness on the application of 1,604 square feet per gallon per mil-Coating "B," the more expensive product per gallon, actually has a lower applied cost. In fact, it represents a substantial double-digit dollar savings in this application.
This small example says a lot. It says that Coating B is economical because it ultimately costs less. It's efficient because a substantial volume of material is not processed simply to become eventual waste. It saves energy because the finishing process does not have to handle the elimination of waste products. And it's environmentally friendly since it virtually eliminates emissions.
Interestingly, a popular business paradigm, lean manufacturing, and environmental cause, pollution prevention (P2), while different in practice, both accurately describe this process in similar terms. A lean manufacturing technique can be defined as the minimizing of resources required for production by eliminating waste that inflates costs, lead times and inventory requirements. Similarly, pollution prevention is the reduction or elimination of pollutants by means of increased efficiency in the use of raw materials, energy or other resources.
No matter what you call it, Jeffrey Burke, executive director of the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable, points out that the "business logic of (these types of) pollution-prevention efforts continually pay dividends, while pollution-control costs continue to rise. Pollution prevention typically offers a permanent solution for sustainable production that increases productivity and dispenses with compliance costs and the liability of pollution."
Ultraviolet- (UV) and electron beam- (EB) cured coatings, inks, adhesives and composites are pollution-prevention technologies, and they are lean, sustainable processes. In the case of Coating B above, use of UV technology not only offered the manufacturer lower costs, but a host of operational benefits characteristic of P2 and lean techniques.
More powerfully, however, effective use of P2 and lean technologies does not mean tradeoffs in terms of performance properties. The recent R&D survey by Industrial Paint & Powder magazine (February) shows an increase in the percentage of manufacturers producing UV/EB-cure formulations-as product development continues to accelerate.
It is interesting to note that many users are now switching to the growing portfolio of UV and EB materials for the very reasons they may have had concerns about the technology a few years ago. Superior characteristics of UV and EB that offer improvements over traditional methods in terms of durability, scratch resistance, odor, health and safety, and cost-are now some of the major reasons users are adopting the technology.
There is no question that adopting lean techniques, P2, and UV/EB requires a new way of approaching the production process. But we often ask ourselves if there is a greater risk in not investing in change and improvements. In the case of UV/EB, with thousands of installations and well-developed materials and methods, the support structure exists to assist your exploration of the technology. Please contact us at RadTech International if we may be of service.
Efficient, enabling, economical, energy savings, environmentally friendly, or "e|5," describe P2 and lean manufacturing-and UV and EB Technology. I hope you check out e|5 in action and hear what successful users of the technology have to say at the 2004 UV and EB biennial trade show and conference, May 2 to 5, in Charlotte, NC. For more information, go to www.radtech.org.