BOSS paints mixes water-based paints in 1500 to 4500 litre batches. A batch is composed from 10 to 15 different components, which have to be mixed in the correct weight ratios. For 4500 litre batches this is done on a scale that’s built into the forks of the stacker truck that brings the components to the mixing vessel. Weighing right next to the mixing vessels is not only efficient...
”We strive to produce responsibly, with proper care for our people. With RAVAS we now bring the scale to the mixing vessel, helping our operators to mix safely and ergonomically.”
INÈS VANWIJNSBERGHE, PRODUCTION MANAGER
For professionals and do-it-yourselfers
BOSS paints is a Belgian firm producing high quality paints for professionals and consumers. The company controls its own distribution network: next to four wholesale depots for professional painters, BOSS paints operates a network of 57 shops, where paint is sold with advice to DIYers, under the brand name Colora.
Its facade in a dark tight finish with a huge white logo, the Waregem head office looks every bit the high end paint producer. Indoors the production area looks a lot more utilitarian. Since only white paints are being produced, coloring is done in the shops by adding pigments, everything is covered with a white haze. Here three million litres of paint are produced yearly.
Mixing 4500 litres of paint
Inès Vanwijnsberghe, Production manager in Waregem: “We mix the water-based wall paints in big mixing vessels, in batches of 4500 litres. Such a batch contains an average of 10 to 15 different components, from liquid solvents and binders, to powder fillers and pigments. Just as when baking a cake, the relative proportions of the components determine the end result: those components need to be dosed accurately. This mixing by weight is a manual process.
On a mezzanine floor at the top of the mixing vessels, components are transported on a stacker truck: liquids in IBC containers or drums and powders in bags on pallets. Through a hatch at the top of the vessel, the operator doses the components right from the stacker, cutting open the bags and pouring them out, or simply opening the tap at the bottom of an IBC. The RAVAS scale built into the forks of the truck shows the operator on its display how many kilos he has already fed into the vessel.
Producing with care for the worker
“The efficiency gains we have made in this way are an extra, really,” says Inès Vanwijnsberghe. “At BOSS customer intimacy is more important than operational excellence. What we strive to do is to produce responsibly, with proper care for our people. That doesn’t mean we don’t have production targets, by the way,” she adds with a laugh. “Previously all components were weighed on a floor scale, some 10 meters from the mixing vessel. For some liquid components this meant hauling 500 liters of fluid from the scale to the vessel and pouring it in manually. This was heavy work and sometimes gave rise to dangerous situations. By weighing on the stacker truck, we gained in ergonomics and safety.”
The next one will be explosion proof
Investing in a next RAVAS mobile weighing system is already being considered. The low volume water-based varnishes and wall paints are mixed in smaller vessels of 1500 litres, on the ground floor. Here components are currently dosed off-line from a forklift truck that does not have a built-in scale yet. Budget for such a scale is created for 2016. Since this concerns production within a hazardous area, the RAVAS scale will be an ATEX certified, explosion proof version.