The Challenge: 

Solvent Recycling Case Study For Lacks Enterprises, Inc.As a rapidly growing tier one automotive vendor, Lacks Trim Systems, a division of Lacks Enterprises, Inc., experienced phenomenal growth at their Paint East Plant in Kentwood, Michigan. As an integral part of Lacks Trim Systems, Inc., the Paint East Plant furnishes the world’s leading automotive manufacturers with painted components and systems that deliver on the promise to meet and exceed their customers’ expectations.

To excel in the automotive industry today a company must embrace lean manufacturing principles and high-quality standards to provide components on a just in time basis. Fierce competition and demands by automotive manufacturers to keep costs to a minimum require companies like Lacks Trim Systems to make continuous improvements in their processes. This keeps operating costs low while keeping product quality and customer service exceptionally high.

Several years ago the Paint East Plant had installed a simple in-house solvent recovery system in an effort to cut operating costs and reduce hazardous waste emissions. This proved to be an extremely wise move that had paid for itself many times over. While the basic system had served its purpose well, it had been very labor intensive to operate and maintain. Increased production demands at the plant had exceeded the system’s capabilities. The original manufacturer of the old system was no longer in business so the Paint East Plant with the help of Lacks Corporate Engineering Department started to evaluate their options and create criteria for a new solvent recovery system and the new recycling system’s manufacturer.

The Solution:

The Lacks Team determined they wanted a fully automated system that would have the capacity to process 500 gallons of paint line purge solvent a day. The system would be required to monitor and record waste solvent in-feed, clean solvent recovered and still bottoms sludge discharge volume. Finally, the system must be compact and easy to install due to the limited available space and downtime. The system’s manufacturer should be stable, experienced and capable of supporting the system after the sale.

The team’s search led them to several vendors of solvent recovery systems. By performing their due diligence, questioning distillation manufacturers and visiting installations, the team had narrowed the field down and was ready to issue a purchase order. Around that time, the team’s Paid Easy Plan Manager learned about Progressive Recovery, Inc. (PRI), during a visit to a Lack’s paint supplier. This Paint manufacturer had operated a PRI recovery system for over ten years without problems and was very complimentary of the service and support provided by PRI. At the manufacturer’s recommendation, management called PRI and invited them to provide a proposal for a new distillation system.

Although late in the game, PRI recommended a bench scale test of a purge waste stream sample from the Paint East Plant. The tests were performed in PRI’s testing lab and provided data on the distillation characteristics, allowing the best choice of system components for the recovery system. As a designer and fabricator of recovery systems, PRI employs Mechanical, Electrical and Chemical Engineers to select the optimal set of system components and controls to provide a solvent recycler that provides the highest quality reclaimed solvent.oetrtsetydt

At the end of the evaluation process, the team from the Paint East Plant selected PRI as the vendor of choice and issued a purchase order for the system.dderre. The recovery system shipped on time and was commissioned by a PRI Field Service Technician who checked out the installation started the unit and trained the operators and maintenance personnel. Management has since reported the PRI Recovery System was performing flawlessly and saving the Paint East Plant $1,500 a day in operating costs. Management was so impressed with PRI and their system they referred another Tier One Automotive Vendor to PRI.