“Good things are here to stay for those who wait” could be the modern version of the well-known saying, particularly when referring to air cleaning technology from the Zehnder Group.
With its “Clean Air Solutions” division, Zehnder is one of Europe's leading innovators and has had many years of success in the field of industrial air cleaning. A recent dust concentration measurement taken in the production area at POLYTEC Car Styling GmbH in the Austrian town of Hörsching confirmed the effectiveness of Zehnder's air cleaning systems: years after installation, they still reliably extract the dust from the air and reduce the particulate-matter load. Dust is a touchy subject for POLYTEC Car Styling GmbH in Hörsching, which supplies renowned global brands in the automotive industry with genuine plastic accessories. As a specialist in all things plastic, the POLYTEC GROUP operates at 21 locations with 3,500 employees worldwide. Injection moulding, fibre-reinforced plastics and customized industrial solutions using polyurethane are among the core competencies of the company, which has been listed on the stock exchange since 2006. Among other things, the POLYTEC GROUP owes its success to its excellent performance in downstream production processes such as paintwork and polishing as well as the just-in-time and just-in-sequence delivery of its products. Zehnder air cleaning systems played a significant role in perfecting this performance – as a recent study of the paint shop and polishing room of the production facilities in Hörsching has demonstrated. It confirms that the average particulate-matter load has effectively and sustainably been reduced by approx. 85 % since the installation of the Zehnder Clean Air Solutions air cleaning systems.
“This sustainability test was for us the proof that the air cleaning in our production spaces is still functioning perfectly,” reports Horst Kolar, head of maintenance at POLYTEC. “Thanks to Zehnder Clean Air Solutions, we are still safe and sound when it comes to particulate-matter load, years after the installation of the air cleaning equipment. In particular, the efficient air cleaning in our painting and drying tunnel, which covers approx. 8,000 m³, ensures that we satisfy our quality standard and perfects the level of performance we offer to our customers. This is because we reliably prevent dust from getting into our painted products. Time and cost-intensive rework such as repeated sanding and painting therefore becomes unnecessary and the customer receives dust-free, perfectly painted products,” explains Kolar, summarizing the specific benefits of the Zehnder air cleaning systems in the work process. “At our premises, dust has no chance!” emphasises the engineer.
This is quite the opposite to the situation encountered prior to installing the Zehnder air cleaning systems. “At the time, the dust was even visible from a great distance,” describes Kolar. From his office in the production hall, the head of production could see the dust on the products when the sunlight was shining on them in a certain way. This was reason enough for him to tackle the issue of “dust” and “particulate-matter load” and to search for an effective and practical air cleaning solution. When exploring the market for suitable providers, he finally became aware of renowned indoor climate specialist Zehnder and its air cleaning systems, Zehnder Clean Air Solutions.
Professional fine dust measurement reveals all
The experts at Zehnder first carried out extensive dust concentration measurements in the painting and drying tunnel as well as in the polishing room at POLYTEC. These highlighted just how high the PM10 particulate-matter load in the two production spaces actually was. A certified measuring instrument recorded the load of fine particulate matter as being between 0.1 and 10 µm (= micrometer = one-thousandth of a millimetre) over a period of six days and presented it as a mean value. According to international guidelines, mean values of a maximum of 50 µg/m³ of air are the upper load limit for fine particulate matter outdoors. In POLYTEC's drying area, a PM10 particulate-matter load with peak values of up to 700 µg/m³ was reached. The statistical mean value over the six-day measuring period amounted to 96 µg/m³ and therefore exceeded the guidelines for outdoor applications by almost 100 %.
These were grounds enough for POLYTEC to work together with Zehnder to create a handling concept for air cleaning: two Zehnder CleanAir 12 air cleaning systems, which have an air cleaning capacity of 12,000 m³/h, were installed in the 8,000 m³ painting and drying tunnel. One Zehnder CleanAir 12 proved sufficient for the 2,200 m³ polishing room. This is also where the freshly polished products are stored temporarily until the next work process or until they are ready for packaging and delivery. It is particularly when the polished products are left overnight that dust can settle on them – but this is now prevented very effectively by the Zehnder air cleaning equipment. What's more, POLYTEC saves itself an additional cleaning process in each application, as the air cleaning equipment runs from 3 p.m. when production ceases for the day until 6 a.m. the next morning when work starts again, ensuring clean and dust-free air.
The air cleaning systems were installed quickly and professionally on the ceilings of the painting and drying tunnel and in the polishing room. Each system was suspended from the ceilings within two hours with the aid of forklifts present on site and a special Zehnder chain attachment system. Six months after the air cleaning systems were installed and after they had had their filters replaced for the first time, the PM10 particulate-matter load measurements reached a peak value of 100 µg/m³ and a statistical mean value of 14 µg/m³ over a measuring period of seven days. The PM10 particulate-matter load had seen its peak values reduced by approx. 86 % and its mean values by approx. 85 %. In the polishing room too, a reduction in the peak values of approx. 80 % and in the statistical mean value of approx. 60 % was confirmed.
“For years, the Zehnder air cleaning equipment has been providing an extremely reliable service,” states a delighted Horst Kolar. “We only replace the filters twice a year – a quick and practical process. Other than that, air cleaning virtually looks after itself thanks to Zehnder Clean Air Solutions,” he concludes. Thanks to the high level of satisfaction that POLYTEC Car Styling GmbH has experienced with Zehnder technology, the company is planning to take the topic of “air cleaning” into account right from start for its upcoming project to construct additional factories.