Clean air for a more productive working environment
02 October 2019
LK Pex manufactures pipes used in under-floor heating, radiator heating and tap water systems, as well as braided hoses. Since it was founded in 2000, LK Pex has quickly expanded, and last year delivered more than 60 million metres of pipes to the heating, ventilation, sanitation and plumbing industries in Europe, the USA, Asia and the Middle East. Based in Ulricehamn, Sweden, the business currently has 14 production lines, employing 85 employees to meet the ever-increasing demands of its customers.
Tiny dust particles – the invisible irritant
A major challenge in this industry is the high level of competition. To maintain its reputation as a leader in the market, LK Pex works to ensure it offers high quality products and services to stay ahead of the curve – constantly reviewing, refining, and improving their services. The same mindset applies to the working environment. “At LK Pex, our employees are our most important resources and employee health and wellbeing is paramount”, says Kim Klesell.
Unfortunately, the efficient and high-speed production process for the pipes comes with some negative aspects with regard to the working environment for the operators. The process and raw materials involved both create dust and other airborne residues in the air of the production facility. Some employees suffered from exposure to the dust by getting red eyes, dry skin and even rashes. The air quality was a constant source of irritation and topic for discussion.
LK Pex has tried a number of corrective actions to tackle the problem with the irritating dust, including fans, filters and increased ventilation, as well as large-scale cleaning efforts with compressed air to remove the built-up dust in the ventilation system on surfaces of production equipment. This strategy was clearly not efficient enough to fully resolve the dust problem and LK Pex went in search of a more productive way to improve the working environment of the operators.
A need for clean air
In 2018, Zehnder Clean Air Solutions reached out to LK Pex to discuss how they could help the company and its employees. After several meetings, Zehnder’s team conducted thorough dust and air quality measurement to assess the magnitude of the dust problem. “We were really impressed by how meticulous the team was in their assessment and how passionate they were about improving our working environment”, said Kim Klesell. After meeting with the team, LK Pex decided to try Zehnder’s industrial air cleaning systems to improve the air quality in its facility.
Zehnder immediately moved forward, working closely with LK Pex to design a bespoke solution that would efficiently filter the air, eliminating excessive cleaning and creating a healthier environment for the company’s valuable employees.
Zehnder first installed 14 CleanAir 6 units in 2018. LK Pex was so impressed with the results that it extended the installation to include an additional six air cleaning units in 2019. Both installations went incredibly smoothly, the first instillation took one day and the second just half a day to get up and running. What was remarkable: the air was cleaned within only two days!
The factory’s production was not disrupted in the process – it didn’t have to temporarily shut down or close any section of the production lines for the installation to take place, which meant LK Pex could focus on the production and business as usual as it sought to improve its working environment.
While the cleaning of the ventilation system and replacement of filters previously cost the company significant time and money, it is now handled smoothly and efficiently by Zehnder. The LK Pex team described the service as impressive.
The beneficial outcome of clean air
Following the installation of Zehnder Clean Air Solutions, the results have been encouraging. Overall, the dust particle concentration in the building has been reduced by up to 50 % on average and even 88 % during peak times.
Just one year on, there is a major reduction in air related complaints from employees. The number of operators who suffer from rashes, red eyes or other skin irritations has decreased to almost zero, showing that Zehnder Clean Air Solutions have significantly improved the air quality in LK Pex production facility.
A healthy working environment is a win-win for operators and company. It reduces sick leave for operators, as well as cutting down on staff turnover. It also helps increase staff motivation, improves individuals’ output and has a positive effect on the overall quality of the final product.
The results also show that LK Pex has saved a considerable amount of time and money on cleaning efforts, taking the company from cleaning once a month to more or less three times per year . The cleaner working environment enables LK Pex to maintain high standards and stable product quality, while reducing waste – ultimately benefitting the company’s outputs and reputation.
With sustainability and clean air remaining an important factor for LK Pex, the business will continue to use Zehnder and recommend the service to others.
Zehnder has helped LK Pex cultivate a positive, healthy work environment – one where employees are happy, productive, and efficient. The business can now concentrate on other parts of the production process, as well as the ongoing development and future of the company.
“Zehnder have done exactly what they told us they would do. They are very reliable and have helped us to improve our business”, Kim Klesell remarks.
Company: LK Pex AB
Interview partner: Kim Klesell, Responsible for real estate and work environment
Sector: Manufacturing of pipes for under-floor heating, radiator heating and tap water systems
Location, Ulricehamn, Sweden
Dust sources: Dust built up during production process and from raw materials
Dust reduction: Up to 88 % during peak times
Benefits: Improved employee health, less cleaning efforts and costs, more productive working environment