Rock Salt Production: Environmental ConsiderationsIndustrial salt is one of the most widely used chemical components for production of more products than can be listed here. Industrial salt is essential for both the textile and detergent industries, as well as industries which require the use of oil. Many consumers are initially surprised at how much petroleum is required to produce almost any fabricated product, and that this particular resource is even necessary for the drilling of oil. In this case, the industrial salt is not actually mixed with oil or other chemicals, but is required for the drilling of oil itself, increasing the safety and stability of both oil rigs and oil wells on land. Other industries, require rock salt for its solubility, which allows ingredients of plastics and detergents to be separated and treated according to product needs.Where Industrial Salt Meets The EnvironmentAlthough the environment is intrinsically valuable, the name of the game for business owners is to decrease liability. Of course, the best way to do this is to eliminate damages, or to ensure that distributors are following international safety standards. The best way to ensure the proper distribution of liability is to select industrial salt shipping and production organizations experienced not only in the proper handling of industrial salt, but those which also encourage mining environments conducive to international safety standards.The Reliability Of DistributorsAlthough it is not always easy to determine if one organization is more reliable than another, some international watchdog groups exist whose purpose it is to regulate and maintain the shipping of this resource. In this case, the product itself is not as important as the way in which it is produced. Rock salt, the same product, is increasing in demand as industries which require industrial salt continue to grow. However, the supply of halite changes annually. Political changes cause some rock salt exporters to offer more competitive pricing than others.Closing Thoughts: The Bottom LineThe most important environmental consideration for industrial salt is its ability to be transported without incident. In fact, one way to ensure greater profits, and lower overhead, is to choose rock salt, or halite, over its more powdery relatives. Crystallized salt is not only less volatile, but easier and cheaper to transport. The importance of transporting rock salt in an environmentally friendly way is not limited to liability, but changes prices of salt per ton. Individual product price pales in comparison to locating a product which may be handled without significant loss. Spilling this form of salt into the ocean may not seem to have an immediate effect, but could disrupt the regulatory activity use a variety of ecosystems, and cause international litigation. So, wise buyers of industrial salt will choose shippers who offer both a competitive price, and strong safety regulations.
Hot water is widely used in a variety of industries including: food processing, concrete production, hotel/motel, laundry and many others. Businesses that require hot water in large amounts have to look at specialized heavy duty equipment to make large quantities of hot water for sustained periods. For a very long time, the go to solution was the use of a boiler system, but new technologies over the past 30 years have changed the methods and efficiencies associated with heating water and now recirculating water heaters and direct contact water heaters (also called on demand water heaters) are becoming industry standard.Water boilers were commonplace during the early and mid 1900’s providing heat and hot water to industry and residential buildings in mass. As heating methods developed and forced air systems and central cooling became commonplace, the expense of a water boiler didn’t make much sense for many business and residential buildings. As most of us know, the common residential water heater was developed and boilers become a specialty machine for industrial hot water applications and other specialty operations. The other major negative factor impacting boiler use besides the upfront cost was the training and inspections necessary to operate the equipment. In some cases specially trained employees are required to be on staff to operate a hot water boiler.Eventually the industrial recirculating hot water heater was developed for businesses like concrete plants, bakeries, and other consumers of large amounts of hot water. Industrial recirculating water heaters typically work with a large water holding tank. The cold water is heated and deposited into the tank. The hot water in the holding tank is also circulated back through the heater to maintain and raise the water temperature as desired. These systems are usually very affordable and reasonably easy to install. They will often require a large footprint because of the water holding tank necessary, and they are more expensive to operate on a daily basis than more efficient on demand water heaters. As technology improved manufacturers of recirculating type industrial water heating equipment began offering more efficient versions and retrofitting old versions to improve efficiency by trapping and reusing lost heat.Now, the most popular industrial water heating equipment is the high efficiency and on demand water heaters. They are generally more expensive than recirculating systems but less expensive than boilers. As with recirculation water heaters there is no special license or training required to operate these industrial systems. They are highly efficient in their operation making their annual cost to operate less than boilers or other types of systems. It should be noted that while these water heaters only require a small water holding tank, many of the manufacturers (not all) use very tall designs and the systems may not fit in a standard room. Also, these types are systems are more susceptible to weather and should be installed indoors in most cases.It is safe to say that no matter what style of industrial water heating you choose the efficiency is much better than 20 years ago, but there are still significant differences between cost to purchase, cost to operate and overall efficiencies between the different types of systems. Most customers find a balance between upfront cost and cost to operate and make their decisions based on cash on hand and overall use.
The medical supply industry is about 12,000 companies strong with combined annual revenue of approximately $78 billion. These companies produce instruments, apparatus, and the medical supplies that are used in hospitals and doctor’s offices. Major products range from surgical and medicinal instruments like syringes, hypodermic needles, and catheters to surgical appliances and supplies such as dressings, sutures, and dental devices. The industry is also responsible for the production of lab equipment and furniture as well as ophthalmic goods (glasses and contact lenses).Industrial supplies in this market are all specifically ordered for their unique properties to support the production of clean and safe medical supplies for use in saving lives and treating ailments. A CAD library of extensive models and blueprints ensures high quality and precision manufacturing to meet specifications with an extremely low failure rate.Material RequirementsThe number one requirement for metalworking products used for the medical supply industry is sterility. Beyond the workers themselves utilizing facemasks and latex gloves, the machinery itself must be kept clean and free of germs and bacteria. The end products of the medical supply industrial process must also conform to this requirement, and will often be a polished type of steel or smooth plastic for optimal use in a sterile environment.Because of this special requirement, most raw materials and industrial supplies are made of stainless steel to reduce bacteria growth and for easily cleanable surfaces. Many raw material stocks, such as flat and bar stock, shims, and rods, and heavy-duty workholding will be stainless steel. In applications where stainless steel is too heavy or expensive, Delrin is used as a substitute. It is a Dupont developed plastic that is high-strength and low weight with great wear resistance and low friction. Delrin is also approved by the FDA for food and pharmaceutical work for being bacteria resistant and easy to clean. Carbon steel is only used in applications where a nickel or zinc coating can be applied for corrosion resistance as rust particles in medical supplies can lead to tetanus infections. Tungsten carbide is also a material in the manufacturing process, but it is usually utilized as a jig or locator, rather than a material component of the industrial supplies.Metalworking in ProductionThe bulk of the medical supply industry focuses on medical instruments such as disposable syringes. The production of syringes, as a prime example, is done via assembly line. Conveyor belts, chain link drive systems, and motors are the main industrial supplies used in mass assembly and are similar to most other manufacturing processes. Leveling devices and vibration control keep machinery stable and their operation precise while roller rails and beds move finished products to packaging operations.During the actual manufacturing process, the metal syringe tips are produced from molten or softened surgical or stainless steel. The hot metal is drawn through a secure die block and then rolled into a continuous, hollow wire and cut in a blanking die to form the needle head. The barrels and plungers are made from plastics that are injection molded. The entire assembly is secured with workholding industrial supplies for final assembly of the needle head, barrel, and safety cap.This example shows the array of industrial supplies, from power transmission to dies to workholding and molders, needed to produce one tool in the medical supply industry.Workholding and Quality AssuranceHigh precision work such as that done in the medical supply industry requires complex industrial supplies for workholding and measurement. Tolerances are extremely stringent and it is easy to imagine why when the final product is a syringe head or a catheter that has to work within the human body. Stainless steel is the preferred workholding material; otherwise rigid plastics are used where steel would deform materials.Precision instruments including electronic calipers, digital micrometers, and microscopes are all utilized in the quality control process to ensure product specifications are met. A central CAD library is maintained with the specifications and tolerances used in quality control. Industrial supplies such as jigs, locators, block sets, and edge finders are all used to set and operate tooling machinery for proper operation.The medical supply industry is large and robust enough to really utilize all types of industrial products with the help of a CAD library. Nearly every category of industrial products is represented, from manual controls for the operators, to metalworking and tooling components and material handling for mass production. The strict requirements for pharmaceutical and medical use demand high quality metalworking supplies and raw materials.