Solvents are crucial in many industrial processes and provide key functionalities for a wide variety of everyday product applications – from personal care cosmetics and pharmaceuticals to adhesives, cleaners, paint, and inks. Without solvents, such products would not perform effectively. While solvents are multifunctional, at the same time they are high-risk materials jeopardizing safety, health and the environment if not handled appropriately. In recognition of the need to mitigate potential hazards and address regulatory requirements, Caldic Benelux has made a significant investment in a new installation that enables bottom loading of trucks: an investment that delivers a triple win from safety, health and environment perspective.
Safe bottom bulk loading method
One of the main hazards of industrial oxygenated and hydrocarbon solvents is flammability. To ensure an accident-free environment, Caldic is committed to the highest safety standards to protect employees from exposure to harmful substances. The new bottom bulk method ensures safe loading processes of flammable substances. The new installation has been fully engineered in-house by the local Caldic team. Their long-lasting expertise with handling solvents was instrumental in developing the engineering concept, whilst the production and installation were outsourced.
“Safety is paramount to secure an accident-free working environment. In contrast with splash loading at the upper side of the truck, the bottom bulk loading method is conducted via the bottom of the truck. This new installation enables us to minimize the static charge, vapor formations and product contamination,” explains Stefaan de Leebeeck, Plant Manager at the Hemiksem site in Belgium. “The upscale of the weighing bridge facility ensures permanent monitoring of loading activities. An electronic device serves as independent overfill protection and automatically stops at the required volume load. In short, a significant risk management to the reliability of our bulk loading system,” underlines Stefaan de Leebeeck.
Highly reduced pollution of VOCs
As the problem of global warming and climate change intensifies, the specialty chemicals industry is facing major challenges in reducing, and preferably, eliminating pollution. While the need arose for additional safety measures, Caldic Benelux felt the urge to take the opportunity to improve the health of our employees and environmental impact at the same time. As a result, the investment was extended to incorporate a fume extraction which is redirected to an active carbon filtering to capture Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). This carbon filtering system shields employees and partners working on-site from inhaling toxic volatile vapors and helps to ensure a clean, healthy working environment.
“By providing a cone with an extraction system, we guarantee that the loading area remains vapor-free. The extraction system, which is connected to an active carbon filter, combined with the under-level loading ensures a minimal environmental impact of VOCs. This offers the possibility to manipulate strong-scented products,” says Stefaan de Leebeeck. “The actual capacity of the carbon filtering anticipates the potential to capture VOCs from other operational activities on the same site in the future. Our current VOC reduction amounts to two tons per year. Ultimately we can triple the VOC capture to deliver our contribution to the planet. This installation is future-proof for safety, health and environmental requirements. A triple win,” emphasizes Stefaan while overlooking the newly built system.