As the UK car manufacturing industry grows from strength to strength, it appears that the need for dry ice blasting services is also growing. I have written before about how Dry Ice Blasting Reduces Downtime for the Car Manufacturing Industry. You can read this here.
Having built upon our recent contract award at Jaguar Land Rover, Optimum Dry ice Blasting have now carried out works for Toyota and BMW. This may not seem highly unusual for such large companies to require the services of bespoke contractors like ourselves, but there is a shift pattern happening here.
You see, both Toyota and BMW have often carried out dry ice blasting works ‘in-house’. Just recently though both car manufacturing companies have decided, just the same as JLR, to outsource operations to specialised contractors, such as Optimum Dry Ice Blasting.
When asked as to why the change in direction, a similar response was evident - Quality. There is no doubt that both car makers will have robust training and methods in place for dry ice blasting, what they don’t have though is the continuity of experience, and with this comes a higher quality of work.
An example is a dry ice blasting machine was purchased to remove double bond adhesive from process production and manufacturing machinery. Scheduled works were to take place every 6 weeks. The problem was that after 6 weeks the adhesive bond had changed and formed a hardened bind to the substrate. Site air being at only 5-7 bar is nowhere near strong enough to remove the contaminant in the timeframe needed. Coupled with the wrong valve and nozzle attachments for the application needed, it was taking a lot of dry ice and a considerable amount of time to complete the task. The upshot was the process machinery was offline for a whole day longer than anticipated and therefore a massive loss in production.
Upon site visiting, we recognised this problem straight away and performed an onsite demo using our 14 bar mobile compressors with the correct nozzle/gun attachment. The contaminant was removed with ease, and 4 times more quickly than on-site operations. Also, our procedure for screening around the workface prevented cross contaminating other machinery, something that had become a massive problem when in-house dry ice blasting was performed.
It was decided that the works were to be outsourced and we are glad to say that we have won the scheduled contract for this application.
After all, reducing downtime increases production. Increasing production increases profits. It’s simple economics and the car manufacturing industry likes increased production!
Two years ago the car manufacturing industry was one of our lowest growth sectors. Now it is our largest!
By Ian Reynolds.