“Palace Chemicals has long been a driver in setting the industry benchmark for sustainability – even before it became the ‘trendy’ thing to do,” the company says. Its latest environmental measures include the installation of a closed-loop dust extraction system.
Long before Palace Chemicals gained its ISO 14001 BSI accreditation for environmental management systems objectives for improvement programme in 2004, the company focused on sustainability.
The company says it’s continually searched for any means possible to reduce its eco footprint and create better manufacturing systems, better working conditions and a healthier planet. The recent installation of its closed-loop dust extraction and recycling system is one such investment by the company.
The system ensures all airborne dust emissions are contained and collected within a complex network of extraction ducting around all powder manufacturing and packing processes on site.
Collected emissions are then monitored, stored and automatically re-processed incrementally back into the manufacturing plant under refined dosing arrangements. The technology reportedly operates within known and approved control limits to ensure product consistency and performance outcomes while improving environmental outcomes – additionally providing cleaner air and housekeeping standards at the Liverpool plant.
Steve Ball, commercial director for the firm, says the system represented a huge step forward compared with previously available technologies.
“Beforehand, collecting airborne dust required some degree of routine manual intervention for the dust to be gathered across a network of individual small extraction units, to be either disposed of or diverted to an alternative use,” he says.
“Now, all manual and assisted lifting operations have been eliminated, as all dust emissions are returned through a high velocity, singular and centralised extraction system, where it goes through screening and subsequent weight-controlled storage within our automated bulk silo storage system.
“It really is a first class and unique example of how investment in sustainable technology can have tangible and long-lasting benefits”.
Combined with numerous other processes on site that utilise robotic automation and bulk handling facilities, Palace has already managed to remove in excess of 95% of manual intervention and handling of its processed raw materials.
The firm also recently worked with its packaging suppliers to convert over two million containers so they are now produced entirely from post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR). In the same vein, the company removed more than 80,000 composite paper sacks from its waste system last year, with almost 100% of its raw materials now handled via an automated bulk transfer system. This alone has resulted in a huge reduction in waste, the company says, as well as reducing the volume and frequency of transportation to and from the plant.
“Our dogged drive to introduce continual improvements in our mixing, blending, packing, storage and distribution processes rarely affects just one process in terms of sustainability,” says Ball.
“When we improve one area of the operation, we will usually see huge knock-on effects elsewhere, achieving a double or triple whammy of environmental improvements. As well as benefiting the planet in general, we’ve also found that our programme of eco improvements greatly benefit our operational performance too. It really is a win-win!”
Palace is also removing energy-intensive raw materials from its production and replacing them with waste by-products from other industrial processes. The company’s Extra-Lite range of adhesives, for example, contains over 40% of sustainable raw materials taken from low carbon production processes – yet it still provides the same performance while doubling its coverage capability, meaning users can transport smaller volumes to each job.
A significant part of Palace’s success in achieving its sustainability goals lies in the “culture of continuity” among its work force, the company says. The average length of employment among current staff members is 14 years.
“We’re definitely heading in the right direction, and we’ll continue to do more of the same,” says Ball. “There are no losers when your main objective is to protect the planet”.