Energy savings with activated carbon filters

DMC Coatings in Leimuiden undertakes specialist priming and spraying work for yacht builders that primarily work on building large exclusive yachts. The DMC Coatings premises, a former timber yard, were fully adapted back in 2011 so that it matched the latest ergonomic and environmental stipulations and developments. One of the most striking aspects is the top-down air treatment system; an idea devised by the director of DMC Coatings, Martien Kuijpers, that he developed further together with CF Industrial (CFI) and Wim de Vos Spuitcabines/Luchttechniek. The result: a unique air treatment system in the Netherlands that more than pays for itself.

Gangways, treads, marine cranes, sliding doors, boarding ladders… in all shapes and sizes, an extensive range of luxury yacht and boat components are primed, sanded and sprayed by DMC Coatings experts until they meet the most stringent quality stipulations. Prominent Dutch yacht builders such as Royal Van Lent Shipyard and Akerboom Yacht Equipments, who are global market leaders, can be counted among the customer base in Leimuiden.

Top-down extraction
Upon entering the DMC Coatings work area it’s the floor that immediately stands out. Work is undertaken on a floating 40cm high slatted floor, beneath which there’s an extraction system that filters all emitted dust particles and fumes from the top down. A technique that isn’t yet used in the Netherlands, but does however yield many benefits. “By opting for vertical extraction, the air covers a shorter distance. Thus sanding dust and fumes exit the work area quicker.” Top-down air extraction is also deployed in the spray-painting booths. “In conventional spray-painting booths the air is diagonally filtered. As such the spray painter must always spray in the direction of the extraction wall. With larger yacht components such as gangplanks or boarding ladders, the distance to the extraction wall is considerable therefore. This results in overspray, which is to the detriment of the spray work. That’s no longer an issue with top-down extraction.”

1300 CFI filters
DMC Coatings has four air treatment units that purify the filtered air. For the spray-painting booths there are two large units, each with 468 activated carbon filters. There are two smaller ones for the work area, each with 180 filters. So in total there are around 1300 activated carbon filters supplied by CFI. According to Martien Kuijpers the decision to use activated carbon filters was an easy one to make. “I know one of the founders of CFI and knew that many years ago he’d developed an air filtration system with activated carbon filters especially for a car spray-painting booth. When the plan came about to handle a premises for DMC Coatings, I discussed my ideas for the air treatment and heat recovery with him. As of that moment CFI –and subsequently Wim de Vos Spuitcabines/Luchttechniek too – were closely involved in the further development and realisation of our current air treatment system.”

Heat recovery
Within the air treatment system the CFI activated carbon filters play a vital role. “Thanks to these activated carbon filters the air can be recycled and so heat recovery is also an option. Once the air has been purified by the carbon filters it is additionally heated via an open incinerator and then reused; responsible recirculation of the air, with which we attain an incredible 80% saving on energy costs. As a rule a work area of this size with an external temperature of 10 °C would use around 30 m3 natural gas per hour. That now sees 80% cost savings. Just consider the immense saving that yields each year!”

More stringent regulation
The DMC Coatings air treatment system easily exceeds the environmental stipulations the Dutch government currently imposes on paint spraying businesses. For example, the use of activated carbon filters isn’t yet mandatory. The founder of DMC Coatings advocates tightening up regulation and making the use of activated carbon filters obligatory for paint spraying businesses. “Take all the thinner that’s released. Dust and odour filters do not absorb the thinner, meaning it’s eventually emitted into the atmosphere. Thinner is heavier than air, so ultimately it precipitates onto houses, gardens and the countryside. It would be fantastic if the government amended its environmental policy for paint spraying businesses and made the use of activated carbon filters obligatory. That would benefit humankind, the environment and of course the paint spraying business itself. This not only due to the ergonomic and environmental benefits, but most assuredly because of the prudential benefits too; as over and above the energy cost savings, heat recovery investments are eligible for an Energy Investment Allowance. Which is a great thing for any company to know”, states Martien Kuijpers.