SOLON, Ohio—Combating common fluid system leaks in tire facilities is a complicated process, but one of the first steps is to create a mindset change, according to one developer of fluid system products and components used in tire manufacturing operations.
With all the chaos that is common to a tire manufacturing plant, it may seem that these tire leaks are just "part of the job," said Jason Duncan, key account manager for Swagelok Alabama, part of Solon-based Swagelok Co. That's understandable given the high demands and many responsibilities placed on everyone from the plant manager to the junior operator. It can result in a "reactive" mindset where only issues deemed critical are addressed.
The reality is that leaks of compressed air, steam and condensate, and hydraulic oil can cause just one facility well over $4 million a year in losses based on internal surveys and other data provided by Swagelok, perhaps best known as a source for tube fittings, valves and similar components. And this doesn't account for additional losses in efficiencies, production time, repair work and more.
"What we're trying to get our customers to realize is that they can make improvements that will have (a significant positive) impact on their bottom line," Duncan said. "(Tire manufacturers) are aware of the fact they may be experiencing leaks, but it's a hot, intense environment. They may not realize all the steps you can take (to identify and fix these leaks)."