Pigging systems for paint, coatings and chemicals

Innovative Technology and Processes

In the paint, coatings and chemicals industry, safety, health, sustainability and product quality are of utmost importance.

As well as navigating the negative impacts associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturers must contend with raw material price surges, material shortages, cross-contamination risks, increased transport costs, sustainability challenges as well as the threat of new, and incremental tightening of existing regulations.

As a result, many manufacturers of paints, coatings, and chemicals are responding to these challenges through innovative technology and processes.

One of the technologies increasingly being used by paint and coatings manufacturers is liquid product recovery (often referred to as “pigging”) – here’s an in-depth overview of ‘What Pigging Is’.

Pigging technology delivers a wide range of tangible benefits, cost savings and high return on investment (ROI), making it an increasingly ‘must-have’ investment for paint, coatings and chemicals companies.

Pigging Systems for Paint, Coatings and Chemicals

Download our Free Guide to Product Recovery (“Pigging”) for Paints, Coatings and Chemicals.

Hygienic and sanitary pigging systems are used in a number of industries including the paint, coatings and chemicals.

The technology is used with water-based paints, solvent-based paints, varnish, pigments, coatings, household chemicals, commercial chemicals, plus much more.

To put it briefly, pigging uses a specialist projectile (called the “pig”) to recover, rather than waste, residual liquid product from pipelines. The pipeline pig has a diameter slightly larger than the pipe being pigged, so when driven by a propellant, the pig reclaims nearly all the product from the pipe.

As well as paint, coatings and chemicals, pigging is also used with food, beverages, confectionery, household products, lubricants, personal care and cosmetics, pet food, and other liquids. In principle, if a product can be pumped through a pipeline, it can be pigged by an HPS pigging system.

pigging systems a must for paint coatings and chemicals

Pigging System Savings are Significant.

By reclaiming product residue remaining in the pipeline before cleaning or changeovers, pigging systems for paint, coatings and chemicals are an incredibly effective way to increase yields and reduce waste.

The reclaimed product is perfectly good and useable. It’s in exactly the same condition as the rest of the product being processed. But without pigging, instead of being recovered it’s likely to be flushed to waste during changeovers. So saleable product that is literally being thrown away by the paint manufacturer. And no company wants to waste perfectly usable product, especially when margins are getting tighter and raw material prices are surging.

Along with the immediate product savings, waste disposal and treatment costs also decline (due to less product being wasted). What’s more, due to the decline in waste, there’s reduced raw material consumption, boosted efficiency, enhanced cleaning, improved environmental sustainability, and higher profits. In this way, pigging system savings are significant.

Reliable Prevention of Contamination in Paint, Coatings and Chemicals Production

Pigging systems are also becoming essential for manufacturers of paint, coatings and chemicals because they reliably help prevent contamination.

Water-based paints in particular are extremely susceptible to microbial contamination and spoilage. This is due to their high-water content.

And that’s where pigging comes in. Because HPS pipeline pigs recover so much product from the pipe, they help ensure a hygienic and dry environment, which prevents the build-up of product residue on the pipeline walls. While pigging may not completely eliminate the need for CIP or flush, it can certainly go a long way towards preventing the growth of harmful bacteria and lowering the risks of contamination.

HPS pigs have been specially designed for hygiene and sanitary critical applications, which makes them ideal for paint and coatings. They are made from materials that meet the requirements of FDA regulations and feature a full-contact design (with no fins or assembled parts) which enables the recovery of up to 99.5% of product from full pipelines.

*Please note, we also offer pigs in solvent resistance designs.

Reducing Product Cross-Contamination Risks by Pigging

In addition to reducing contamination risks, pigging systems for paint, coatings and chemicals also prevent product cross-contamination.

Without a pigging process, product residue often remains in the pipeline at the end of a batch transfer. Before the next product can be processed, the line needs to be cleaned vigorously to reduce the chances of cross-contamination and preserve the integrity of the next batch.

However, with a pigging process, the chances of product cross-contamination are minimal.

Due to high recovery rates of HPS pigging systems, the pig removes nearly all the residue from the line. So, not only does hygienic and sanitary product recovery prevent cross-contamination and reduce cleaning requirements, but it keeps product re-work costs minimal, ensures more consistent product output, and maintains product integrity.

pigging systems for paint and coatings

Rapid Changeovers with HPS Pigging Systems

As well as product wastage, one of the major challenges paint, coatings and chemical manufacturers face when dealing with changeovers from one product to another is the amount of lost production time and downtime that can occur.

A high degree of product diversity has become the norm in a wide range of industries in recent years. As an example, one of the world’s leading paint brands has expanded their portfolio and now offers over 1200 colours of paint. However, designating a single line to each product isn’t feasible for most manufacturers.

So, many paint, coatings and chemical companies are finding that they are spending significant amounts of time and labour hours on changeovers and cleaning their shared pipelines.

As well as being time and labour intensive, changeovers use large amounts of water and cleaning chemicals to clear the pipes of product. This often results in the wastage of saleable product, in addition to excessive use of water, chemicals and cleaning agents. So, from an environmental and economic perspective, changeovers can be a hindrance.

A key benefit of pigging systems is that they significantly speed up processing and the changeover process. Due to pigging systems recovering most of the product from the pipe, cleaning and flushing requirements are far less. It also means there’s less downtime which equates to improved productivity, increased equipment uptime and more revenue.

In some cases (for example if there are minor changes in colour), it is often possible to follow on immediately with the next product after pigging.

Other Reasons Pigging Systems are a Must for Paint, Coatings and Chemicals Processing

Other key benefits of pigging systems for paint, coatings and chemicals include improved efficiency and productivity. This is through cutting waste, speeding up changeovers, increasing capacity, reducing labour intensive cleaning processes, saving water, and cleaning chemicals usage, and reducing carbon emissions.

HPS pigging systems are also great for the environment and can help manufacturers towards their sustainability goals. Here’s an article on the environmental benefits of pigging systems.

Importantly, pigging systems deliver significant cost savings, increase profits, boost the bottom line, and enable manufacturers of paint, coatings, and chemicals to be more competitive.

Therefore, it’s quite clear why HPS pigging systems are becoming an integral, must-have investment in liquid processing plants throughout the world.

Here are some case studies of pigging in the paint and coatings industry.

Find Out More

HPS Product Recovery Solutions is the world’s leading experts in pigging and hygienic and sanitary pipeline product recovery systems for paint, coatings, and chemicals.

As well as pigging systems, HPS also provide liquid transfer technology such as the HPS Automatrix. The Automatrix improves efficiency, enhances safety, makes processing faster, and minimises risks.

Our customers include Akzo Nobel, Kelly-Moore, Wijzonol, 3M, BASF, Croda, PPG, Ronseal, Sherwin-Williams plus many more. HPS technology is trusted throughout the globe.

Here are some more pipeline pigging case studies.

To speak to one of our solutions specialists about improving your processes using HPS pigging technology, please get in touch.


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