The Role Monitoring and Notifications Play in the Solvent Recycling Process

Get all the details on how we monitor the solvent recycling process in real time with our custom platform, ATHENA, from our Key Accounts Manager Waldo Gonzalez.

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When you purchased your solvent recycler you made a great choice. A piece of equipment that saves you serious money and reduces your environmental impact.

The only problem is, your recycler probably isn’t running as often as it should. With the price tag you paid for the piece of equipment and how often you use it, you’re now looking more like a Ferrari owner: buffing, polishing, and babying their cars endlessly, but never driving them.

Your solvent recycling process needs to be running daily. Which means your unit, is essentially a daily driver, not something that sits in your garage. And to do that, you need the right monitoring and notification tools.

Monitoring Your Mileage

Before I type one more word, let’s start with this truth: if you’re not electronically and systematically monitoring your solvent distillation unit, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, you’re not utilizing your biggest ally to help you conserve cost and spending, and achieve sustainability and environmental efficiency goals.

It’s ok, CleanPlanet Chemical can fix all of that for you with our ATHENA Web Monitoring and Notification Platform – simply, efficiently, and at the click of a button.

ATHENA web monitoring system
The high level overview of your solvent recycler found in ATHENA.

With our ATHENA platform, not only can you see in real-time on your phone, tablet, or computer what’s happening with your unit, but if you don’t feel like taking a few minutes a day to check in on the process, ATHENA will tell you.

We can customize how you’re notified, when you’re notified, and repeat the notification if you choose.

ATHENA notifications and alerts

Furthermore, you’re not alone with CleanPlanet Chemical. Our team is also monitoring and receiving notifications about your unit. Here’s a recap:

  • The data and information from the 50 plus sensors on CleanPlanet’s Always Clean units feed into our Athena Online System.
  • This information provides real-time data on everything that is happening in the unit. It can be monitored 24 hours a day using a notification system.
  • Notifications can be provided via email or SMS text. For the unit operators, these notifications provide information on when the unit needs attention, so they don’t need to check on the unit.
  • For a customer owned unit, notifications can be directed to the maintenance department to ensure excellent equipment uptime.

Keeping Your Unit on the Road

Solvent distillation equipment is not a part of the production process. Like an industrial chiller, it is often out of sight out of mind, until in a chiller’s case, it doesn’t do its job and affects your production equipment.

Here’s the difference between them though, solvent distillation equipment saves you money and reduces hazardous waste every second it’s in operation.

The secret to your onsite solvent recycling success, however, is having a reliable unit that is systematically run to its capacity on a regular basis. Surprisingly, that’s easier said than done. 

Monitoring solvent recycler up time with ATHENA
With ATHENA, you can quickly see when the machine isn't being run.

What Happens if you Aren't Measuring the Solvent Recycling Process

At CleanPlanet, our goal is to provide the appropriate equipment to handle your daily waste generation.

We understand that the volume may vary from day to day, but we also monitor gallons in and gallons out, in real time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Our customers don’t see the benefit of their distillation unit if the equipment isn’t running. And if it is running, the value is marginalized if the equipment isn’t running well.

I tell customers all the time, if you’re processing 200 gallons of spent solvent daily, and you’re used to recovering 170 gallons of clean distillate, would you be concerned if your yield was closer to 155 gallons when actually measured? Would you even know how many waste gallons went in, and how many clean gallons came out of your solvent recycling process?

With CleanPlanet you would, but the more pressing issue is why that’s important.

When we have a customer whose yield goes down 8% like the example I gave, we may see in our operational data that there’s a slight change in vacuum pressure, or perhaps the heating element seems to be off.

A quick visit by a technician fixes everything. What’s interesting to me is that it’s not about the 15 gallons of lost clean distillate, it’s about keeping the 15 gallons lost from becoming 25, 50, to potentially having the unit become a dusty piece of equipment that “used to run great.”

Monitoring yield with ATHENA
With ATHENA you can monitor yield over time and quickly spot if the machine is underperforming.

Cost of Not Running Your Machine

Now let’s address the gallons in and gallons out on a very simple level.

Whether you own a unit outright (as you may currently), or if you’re utilizing Clean Planet’s revolutionary “Service 365” model, let’s say you’re saving $5/gallon for every clean recovered gallon.

It doesn’t take a mechanical issue to hinder your recycling operation. You would be SHOCKED at how frequently we find that a recycling unit is not provided with “feed stock”, or the spent solvent waste it needs to recycle.

It’s understandable.

Everyone on the plant floor is busy making your product, and virgin solvent is often readily available and easily accessible.

Tending to the recycler can easily fall into the low priority category. Sometimes the by product from the process, or still bottoms aren’t cleared out, preventing the distiller from operating. (Ours pump out automatically, cleanly, efficiently, and with no vapor loss.)

Back to the example of saving $5/gallon.

If your unit, for one reason or another doesn’t operate at all 2 days one week, and you’re used to recovering 200 gallons daily, that’s $2,000 dollars you didn’t save that week.

We find that inactive solvent distillation units have a domino effect. As I mentioned previously, two days leads to three, and before you know it, your distillation unit is running 50% of the time, and suddenly you’re “losing” $15,000 dollars a month.

Actively see how much your saving within ATHENA reporting.

If you don’t monitor your recycler, you’re pulling a classic Ferris Bueller move. Your $17 Million Ferrari 250GT California could end up with a ton of unaccounted for miles, and it might even wind up flying (literally) out of your garage and falling into its wooded grave. (Last 80’s movie reference, I promise, though it pains me to type that.)

  • UPDATE: As of my last Google search 13 seconds ago, the 250GT California is worth 17,160,000.00 United States Dollars. I will be starting a GoFundMe, in the hopes of raising $17,159,995.00 to supplement my bank account so I can pick up one of those red beauties! My thanks in advance.

Sorry, I’m supposed to be writing about why you need to monitor your solvent distillation equipment, so let’s get back to that. 

Drive it Daily

If your solvent recycler isn’t running, it isn’t saving you money or reducing your waste.

If your machine is down for maintenance or because your operator is busy with another task, the result is the same, lost savings!

By actively monitoring our machines, we make sure that if you have waste, it’s being recycled. If you own a unit now, we strongly encourage you at the very least to create a simple paper log, and monitor gallons in and gallons out.

It’s a great start, but we believe ATHENA is the best way.

We know that recyclers MUST BE daily drivers. They are not to be admired from afar.

They are workhorses that save you money and reduce your waste every single day.

If you want to optimize your onsite solvent recycling operation, please contact us at CleanPlanet Chemical. We look forward to helping!

ANOTHER (BETTER) WAY

CleanPlanet partners with its customers to ensure they are maximizing their solvent recovery yield. Our Athena system delivers reliable metrics you can see at any time to monitor your solvent distillation units health and quickly identify any potential issues. If you’re struggling with an underperforming distillation unit reach out to our team to see how we can help.

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