Fuel-Tank Manufacturer Clears the HazeOctober 1, 2013
As one of the nation’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of OEM and aftermarket diesel-fuel tanks, Cleveland Tank & Supply operates a busy shop floor to keep up with customer demands and its “immediate shipment” promise. The company occupies a 33,000-sq. ft. facility near Cleveland, OH. In any given week, its workforce of less than 50 employees produces tanks to fit various makes of vehicles, oil fields, specialty equipment and trailers, as well as tanks designed for specific custom applications.
|In any given week, the workforce at Cleveland Tank & Supply produces tanks to fit various makes of vehicles, oil fields, specialty equipment and trailers, as well as tanks designed for specific custom applications.|
The manufacturing process for standard, in-stock products, as well as for tanks custom designed to customer specifications, involves plasma cutting and welding. Cleveland Tank’s shop floor—which encompasses nearly 17,500 sq. ft. of space—features a high-definition plasma cutting station, some 10 gas-metal- and gas-tungsten-arc-welding booths for steel and aluminum products (roughly 250 to 300 tanks per week), and a welding booth dedicated to production of stainless-steel tanks.
This heavy, constant production boils down to one thing—a lot of welding. And with all of that welding comes the potential for weld fume in the various production areas.
“Everything we build gets welded,” notes operations manager David Wilson. “Depending on the application and material used, we can easily weld 10 tanks per day per booth. We generate fume all day long.”
Clearing the Haze
The company took a three-fold approach to reducing haze and improving overall air quality on the shop floor. First, it installed a free-standing fume-extraction system that reduces the overall concentration of welding fume on the floor. Both Wilson and Rich Ferris, the company’s vice president and general manager, note that the company initially looked at fume-extraction systems that have arms extending to individual welding booths. However, they decided that the facility would be best served with a system that provided comprehensive protection for the entire shop floor. They started investigating options by talking with some 10 different vendors.
When they heard about The Circulator fume-exhaust system from Lincoln Electric, they were intrigued, Ferris says. This standalone system uses continuous filtration and airflow to extract and filter welding fume released during the most common welding and fabrication processes. It supplements natural, draft ventilation or forced ventilation through the roof and wall fans, if necessary. For Wilson and Ferris, the system made the most sense for Cleveland Tank’s needs.
“There used to be a haze overhead throughout the whole facility, and to mitigate that we would have to run exhaust fans all year, even in the winter,” says Wilson. “This made it pretty cold in the work areas. Now, using the Circulator, we rarely if ever need to run those fans.”