Posted 7th July - News

Fiber Optic Ducting and Sheathing
Case Study

How a plant wide shift to Riverdale Global achieved savings of $747,000 for a fiber optic sheathing and tubing extrusion processor.

The Challenge

Riverdale Global was engaged to provide solutions to the following long‑term issues for a sheathing and extrusion processor:
PREVENT CROSS CONTAMINATION
  • Provide one solution to color uv and slip agent requirements.
  • Avoid color concentrate cross contamination.
DRAMATICALLY REDUCE STORAGE
  • Masterbatch previously ordered in 2000 lb batches for best pricing.
  • 12 colors in 2 strengths to color fully opaque and translucent tubes.
  • All masterbatch is run at 2% LDR to achieve reasonable dispersion.
ASSIST PLOYMER FLOW
Eliminate co-extruder required to provide 1mm inner liner to provide a friction free substrate for cable to be blown over.
LOCAL DELIVERY, SERVICE, SUPPORT & COLOR MANAGEMENT
  • Source from a local manufacturer of color with 5-day lead times and full color and equipment service support.
  • Enable precise consumption data and automated service support via a gravimetric and cloud based color consumption monitoring system.
  • Color cost savings.

The Product

  • Tubes for fiber optical cables which are often bundled in an extruded sheath to provide a multicore tube used in underground data highway applications.

The Process

  • There are 2 distinct extrusion processes: sheathing and tubing.
  • HDPE and LDPE tubing and sheathing are multidimensional.
  • A typical process for tubing runs around 80 rpm and yields 350lb/h. Line speed is 40m/min and melt pressure is 450 Bar.
  • Color changes occur every 40 minutes.
  • Products are coiled onto spools.
  • Full color change is executed within 4 minutes.

The Equipment

  • Riverdale Global had supplied 17 Riverdale Gravimetric System (RGS) units for 16 extruders.
  • Each RGS follows the extruder output through a 0-10v connection which is vital for accurate color dosing, particularly in the ramping phases.
  • Each RGS has preset programs to avoid error. The operator simply inputs the name of the color.
  • Each RGS has an onboard USB that monitors performance and status.
  • Each extruder is fitted with a small throat adaptor with quick disconnects and non return valves on male and female side to ensure sealed color solution.
  • For long running colors Riverdale Global supplies 30 gallon auto-refill systems which allow for days of unmanned operation on the color supply side.

Riverdale Global Satellite Production

  • Situated 150 miles from the extrusion site, Riverdale Global operates a full Return for Refill service.
  • Production is made to ISO9001:2015.
  • Delivery is typically based on 1,500lb of color required for the week ahead, this is supported by a small base of stock by each extruder.
  • The delivery driver collects returns, fields any questions, and provides service or training if required.
  • This is normally a weekly service however frequency can alter as required.
  • There is no waste, loss of color or landfill in this circular activity.
  • Satellites are reproducible anywhere in the world and can be achieved at low cost and high speed and lend well to hole in the wall sites for large color consumers.

The Results of Plant Wide Shift to Riverdale Global Liquid Color

  • Double digit percentage cost saving on annual color consumption.
  • 8000 sq ft of much needed warehouse space liberated as RG colors run between 0.2% and 0.6% compared with 2% concentrate across the board.
  • Color changeover time reduced by over 25%.
  • Redundant concentrate stock, contamination and wastage eliminated.
  • Cashflow improved as large stockpiles of concentrate no longer required.
  • Concentrate no longer transited around production hall eliminating contamination.
  • A 5 month qualification program precedes a 1 pot color, UV and Slip formula to replace the coextrusion process with a likely material cost saving of $747,000 and considerably more savings in terms of energy, maintenance, space and scrap from eliminating the coex line from the factory.
  • Liquid color has proven 25% more output on black and blue products with improved yield on all liquid colors over concentrate.
  • No energy metering undertaken, but experience tells us that liquid provides up to 12% energy savings over concentrate.
  • Riverdale Global has provided the RGS gravimetric dosing system free of charge for use with its color, the capital equipment saving amounts to over $125,000.

What Next?

Riverdale Global shall be installing GlobalTracker™ to provide plant wide data management, inventory tracking, online material purchasing and equipment monitoring service.

The plant is studying a proposal to incorporate laser marking additive to the 1 pot solution to eliminate dangerous and expensive heat treatments currently used.

Get in touch if you'd like to learn how you can achieve plant wide savings when you switch to Riverdale Global liquid color.


$747,000 savings achieved when switching to Riverdale Global liquid color.


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