PennTAP and Students Conduct Energy Assessment at Plastics Facility

PennTAP worked in combination with NEPIRC to make it easy to identify areas of opportunity and provided resources for looking at issues with our staff.

Rob Caccese, Bemis Engineering/Technical Manager

The Need

Bemis Polyethylene Packaging facility was interested in combining a value stream mapping assessment with an assessment of waste heat recovery, compressed air leaks, and lighting. The company met with a PennTAP advisor and team of Penn State engineering students to conduct an energy audit and examine ways the facility could improve their manufacturing process.

The PennTAP Connection

Bemis worked with PennTAP in the past and was interested in working with them again in collaboration with the Northeast Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC). Bemis was most interested in exploring additional opportunities available through PennTAP’s E3 services.

The Project

This project was funded in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The PennTAP advisors and two groups of engineering students completed a walk- through of Bemis’ manufacturing facility. They reviewed the compressed air system and the waste heat opportunities at the site. During the value stream mapping assessment, PennTAP, NEPIRC, and Bemis employees assessed the extrusion, printing, and converting processes at the facility. The group assessed the lead-time, cycle time, and other process variables. The intent of the review was to determine bottlenecks in the processes and identify ways to remove them.

The Outcome

The PennTAP team identified methods to reuse heat that was previously being vented outside, methods to reduce exhausts and compressed air leaks, and lighting upgrades. The continuous improvement portion identified 14 action items to reduce waste in the process. Based on the improvement project, Bemis plans to develop the continuous flow process to create a more efficient schedule and reduce downtime. Furthermore, Bemis plans to work toward reduced press downtime through standardization and add preventative maintenance to improve press speed. Recommended changes from the energy audit portion totaled savings of $81,000 with a payback period of one year. The continuous improvement audit’s goal was to identify savings and increase production up to $800,000 per year.

About the Company

Bemis Polyethylene Packaging
20 Jaycee Drive
West Hazleton, PA 18202
Phone: 570-455-7741