A house needs many things: floors, windows, doors, appliances, furniture, decor and a strong foundation with walls that provide the people inside with security and warmth. But a house only becomes a home once the people living inside have chosen the perfect paint colors. Since 1925, as Phoenix, Arizona’s largest manufacturer of architectural paints and coatings, Dunn-Edwards has provided people with every paint color imaginable for every part of their home.
The Dunn-Edwards facility in Phoenix, Arizona continues that legacy. The eco-efficient production and distribution facility manufactures more than 15 million gallons of paint annually. By transporting and mixing over 150 unique ingredients, including resins and additives, the Dunn-Edwards facility upholds its high industry standards for reliable and environmentally conscious paint formulation and production.
The problem with paint production
Producing these high-quality paints and coatings requires efficient and safe equipment that can handle abrasive fluids in a shear sensitive manner. To ensure the safety of plant personnel and the efficiency of the operation, these critical applications require pumping technology that is leak-free and reliable. This is especially true when latex – a complex emulsion consisting of polymer microparticles contained in an aqueous medium – is involved.
Latex is created in a process called emulsion polymerization, where droplets of simple emulsion are added to water. Additives are injected into the latex to provide important characteristics, such as color, reflectivity and anti-bacterial qualities. Many of these additives, such as titanium dioxide, are extremely abrasive and cause elastomer wear that leads to regular and extensive pump maintenance, increasing downtime and affecting operational performance.
For the Dunn-Edwards facility, the pump of choice for ensuring its production operations' meet the company’s reliability and environmental sensibility requirements are air-operated double-diaphragm (AODD) pumps from Wilden, a brand of PSG®. Wilden AODD pumps have been proven to excel when handling paint components, thanks to a unique design that offers the highest degree of flexibility and performance in terms of reliability, product-loss prevention, environmental protection and energy efficiency. In addition, Wilden AODD pumps are easy to maintain, self-priming, run-dry capable and deliver a shear-sensitive operation that is mandatory when working with these components.
In August 2020, Phoenix Pumps, a long-time distributor for Wilden, offered Dunn-Edwards an opportunity to explore operational cost savings by assessing alternative AODD pump diaphragm options. Dunn-Edwards was using Wilden’s EZ-Install diaphragms, which offers great benefits in terms of chemical compatibility as well as safe and easy installation. However, due to the aggressive nature of latex, these diaphragms were still being replaced every six to eight months.
With nearly 200 AODD pumps, divided between 1-, 2- and 3-inch variants, Bill Murphy, technical field specialist of Phoenix Pumps, knew Wilden had an alternative to increase the meantime between repair for Dunn-Edwards’ operations.
Bill Murphy’s relationship with Steve Chapin, the maintenance manager of Dunn-Edwards Paint Arizona facility, and the collaboration with Rob Jack, the Regional Sales Manager for Wilden, allowed them to assess the installation and recommend Wilden’s Chem-Fuse Integral Piston Diaphragms (IPDs). As a performance comparison, Chapin outfitted a few 3-inch pumps with Chem-Fuse IPDs and corresponding shafts and inner pistons.
The one-piece, zero adhesive design of the Chem-Fuse Diaphragm perfectly complemented the high demand of the facility’s AODD pumps because they have been engineered to hold up against acids, caustics and other aggressive fluids, such as latex. Chem-Fuse Diaphragms feature a one-piece design that eliminates the need for an outer piston which is a common leak point in traditional pie-shape diaphragms as it creates a trap area for product build up that can wear over time, especially when pumping abrasive fluids. Chem-Fuse offers a safe, clean and reliable product transfer with no product entrapment areas to minimize product contamination and risk liabilities and ultimately increase diaphragm life. Available in Wil-Flex material in 1-inch (25 mm), 1-1/2-inch) (38 mm), 2-inch (51 mm) and 3-inch (76 mm) sizes, Chem-Fuse also offers up to 100% increased flow and suction lift compared to other reduced-stroke IPDs. It’s also easy to install and easy to clean for faster changeovers.
The test pumps outfitted with Chem-Fuse exceeded one year of operation (eight hours per day, five days per week). Operating relatively trouble-free, the pumps equipped with Chem-Fuse have improved the Dunn-Edwards’ operation by increasing the service life of the pumps, requiring fewer service hours, minimal maintenance downtime and costly draining cycles.
“The two main takeaways from having seen them in operation is that they are lasting longer and the reduction in mating surfaces makes them easier to rebuild and naturally more resilient as a result,” Chapin said. “There are basically three parts to assemble versus the old set up, which was seven.”
With an extended flex life, easy cleanability for efficient product changing and the elimination of potential leak areas, the Chem-Fuse design was ideal for the aggressive latex-handling applications inside the Dunn-Edwards facility.
Because of the success of the AODD pumps outfitted with Chem-Fuse, the Dunn-Edwards facility will install Chem-Fuse diaphragms into every 3-inch pump it uses for latex-handling applications, ensuring a pump fleet with an operational life measured in years instead of months. Doing so will allow the Dunn-Edwards facility to continue upholding its reputation of providing an array of high-quality paints and coatings in a safe and eco-friendly manner.
Rob Jack is the business development manager for Wilden, Grand Terrace, California, a leading brand of air-operated double-diaphragm (AODD) pumps. He can be reached at (909) 422-1700 or [email protected]. Wilden is a brand of PSG, Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, a Dover company.