A Commitment to Customers … and Community
In today’s world, the GEO commitment to safety and quality starts at home, in the towns where its employees live and extends globally to customers around the world. Solving problems and creating solutions that benefit our customers.
GEO invites you to take a look at these short stories on topics ranging from innovative customer solutions to examples of good community relations.
The Polk County Chamber of Commerce recently recognized GEO Specialty Chemicals for outstanding community service as Runner Up in the Industry of the Year award, presented on April 18, 2013 at Georgia Northwestern Technical College. Operating continuously in Polk County since 1898, the GEO plant remains a respected and reliable employer, for reasons such as a near zero employee turnover rate and an average 22 years of service per employee.
A critical part of GEO’s growth strategy is finding ways to sustain product life, employee jobs, air and water quality, and corporate profits. The conversion from foreign oil to natural gas in manufacturing has been critical as American business strives to lessen dependency on oil imports. The additional production of natural gas in the United States, due to fracking techniques in shale, has led to increased natural gas inventories and falling prices of this domestic energy source. GEO monitored energy costs for several years to find the right time for conversion to natural gas. After determining that the long-term return on investment was justified to tap into a natural gas line owned by UGI Corporation, a local utility, and located a few miles from GEO’s Allentown manufacturing facility, GEO approved the capital expenditure to convert energy systems from fuel oil to natural gas. In December 2010, construction was completed of a 2.2 mile long pipeline, connecting it from the local utility source to the Allentown plant. This new, domestic fuel source fires three large boilers responsible for generating the steam that drives GEO plant production. The new pipeline is one way that GEO has fortified its position in the Paints & Coatings marketplace, preserving the employment of its workers, continuing valued partnerships with vendors and customers and all the while investing in environmental stewardship. With the installation, significant reductions in NOx, SOx, VOC and greenhouse gas emissions were achieved. The completion of the pipeline provided a unique community service, too: a nearby public high school tapped into the gas line, converted its energy source and saved taxpayers more than $400,000 per year. Solutions are our specialty.
To develop a highly expedient clarification system for a partner, GEO undertook a six-month system analysis, testing GEO formulations against onsite products of ferric sulfate and polymers currently in use. The system being tested had multiple 10,000+ gallon-per-minute clarifiers serving varying wastewater streams. The goal was simple: to identify the right combination of products to separate the solids from the wastewater streams at minimal cost so that the least amount of solids would go to the onsite landfill operation. The first goal was to model the system with a rigorous mixing energy profile that was currently inaccurate. The second part of the project evaluated additives such as aluminum, iron, polymers and others that would optimize settling rates, TSS (Total Suspended Solids) at the outfall, and a host of metals that had effluent limits. The third goal was to effectively treat the residuals in the three onsite presses. During the test period, myriad product combinations were evaluated with at least nine variables as part of the process, checking flow rate and solids characteristics, among other factors. The final solution cut the shipments of coagulants by 60% and solids delivered up to the landfill dropped by 70%. The major cost savings were in trucking, labor and operations. Decreasing costs over the road and in the ground was achieved: GEO saved the customer more than $1.2MM per year. The practice of system optimization by GEO is now being carried out to other partners. Solutions. That is our specialty.
GEO scientists encountered a large municipal city located in the Southeast of the United States seeking ways to extend the “shelf life” of the 12-16” tubes in the non-conventional membrane water filtration plant, a relatively new technology. The facility produced more than ten million gallons of drinking water every day, and the iron coagulant used in the process needed to be replaced. GEO conducted multiple jar tests over a three-month period using aluminum coagulants with impressive results:
• Less frequency in cleaning water tubes
• Longer life span for equipment
• Increased permeability by 0.5 GFD
• Lower membrane pressure by 3-4 psi
• Improved filter run time from 50 to 80 hours
• Settled water, turbidity, drop from 1.3 (norm) to .80
GEO’s municipal customer saved $10 for every million gallons, totaling $100 per day, or $37,000 per year. As more plant conversions go online, annual savings for infrastructure around the world will be substantial. Solutions. That is our specialty.
GEO’s Bisomer® BZMA can be used as an alternative to MMA in a range of applications; most notably flooring, adhesives and road marking. It is non flammable, has low odor compared to MMA and is classified as non VOC. Bisomer BZMA is also low viscosity (~2.5 cP.s) and exhibits excellent cutting power which can allow for increased PMMA and aggregate levels in the formulated product. By using a non flammable reactive diluent such as Bisomer BZMA, formulated products can be used in public areas, enclosed spaces and work environments with limited ventilation. These liquid formulations can also be transported and stored more easily. In road marking paints Bisomer BZMA helps increase the pigment/aggregate loading and improves the water resistance of the formulated product, providing excellent wear resistance combined with good flexibility to avoid cracking over time. In PMMA based acrylic flooring systems, the use of low odor, non VOC, Bisomer BZMA helps reduce ventilation periods. This means faster turnaround times, a real advantage in many industrial flooring contracts.
When used in structural adhesives, Bisomer BZMA offers excellent cure speed and confers improved adhesion to the substrates commonly used in auto, rail and marine fabrication. These adhesives are frequently applied in restricted work environments to bond dissimilar materials with short cure times. Bisomer BZMA has a good affinity with many of the elastomers used in structural adhesives such as SBR (Styrene-Butadiene Rubber). Bisomer BZMA also has a high refractive index (1.51) which can help to give improved aesthetics in laminating adhesives or decorative flooring. Bisomer BZMA is compatible with other reactive diluents including the full range of Bisomer monomers: mono and difunctional methacrylates, hydroxy functional (meth)acrylates and amine accelerators such as Bisomer PTE. Solutions. That is our specialty.