2003 FAME Awards

The FAME Awards for facilities management excellence are presented annually by the AFE Foundation, which is affiliated with the Association for Facilities Engineering (AFE). Purpose of the awards is to recognize organizations that have demonstrated outstanding performance in conducting plant and facilities engineering projects.


FAME Award Of Excellence
FAME Award Of Merit

The FAME Awards for facilities management excellence are presented annually by the AFE Foundation, which is affiliated with the Association for Facilities Engineering (AFE). Purpose of the awards is to recognize organizations that have demonstrated outstanding performance in conducting plant and facilities engineering projects. One Award of Excellence and up to three Awards of Merit may be presented.

Information on how to enter the awards program is available by visiting afe.org or by calling the AFE at 513-489-2473. For contact information regarding either of these winning projects, e-mail Editor Rick Dunn at rdunn@reedbusiness.com .

FAME Award Of Excellence

Atmel improves water quality for itself and community

Water quality is a critical issue at the Atmel Corp. plant in Colorado Springs, CO. Large volumes of high-quality, reverse osmosis deionized water are required 24/7, and a multitude of both manufacturing and facilities support systems specifications must also be continuously met. During peak manufacturing cycles, the site can process water at a rate of 500 million gal/yr.

A couple of years ago, several water quality issues converged to force the plant into making changes in its existing treatment system. First, the existing system was rapidly becoming outdated. Second, drought conditions were causing all-time lows in the aquifers and reservoirs, resulting in poor-quality feedwater. Third, the local water utility was forced to blend water sources, further degrading feedwater quality. The water situation was costing Atmel money.

To attack the problem, Atmel teamed with a chemical water treatment company. Challenges to the team included both the technologies of treatments to be used and the integration of changes into the site facilities department's project work process. Other factors included accommodating current and future levels of production, return on investment, incorporation into PM/PdM workloads, and potential impact on production equipment from chemical water treatment changes.

The first corrective action was the design and installation of a softener system to eliminate calcium-based precipitate from clogging the fill media in the plant's acid scrubber system. The softened water provided multiple benefits, including a reduction in chemical treatment, longer cycles of concentration, reduced fill media replacement costs, and reduced overall water consumption.

The second action was installation of a sulfuric acid injection system to minimize the effects of high alkalinity/calcium water sources and increase the overall cycles of concentration. Water savings have increased to more than 20 million gal/yr compared to usage prior to the system's installation.

Early in the project, the City of Colorado Springs Water Department was brought into meetings. As a result, the city implemented a pH control system that benefits Atmel as well as the entire community.

The overall effort at Atmel has resulted in:

Water conservation: Some 53.5 million gal annual water savings and an annual reduction of more than 50,000 lb of treatment chemicals

Resource utilization: A 22% increase in resource utilization

ISO 14001/Six Sigma: Significant contribution to ISO certification and Six Sigma efforts

Water quality: Improved water quality favorably affects system integrity, operational costs, resource utilization, and equipment life cycles

Operating costs: Documented savings of $173,455 in annualized operating costs.

FAME Award Of Merit

Aramark Facilities Services reduces compressor oil change time by 80%

The process for changing the oil in 52 75-ton refrigerant compressors at the Hutchinson Technology plant in Eau Claire, WI, was messy, time consuming, and fraught with risk for moisture entering the system. The procedure for one compressor required 10 technician hours, removal of 120 lb of refrigerant, pressurizing the system with nitrogen to purge the oil, hand pumping new oil, evacuating the system, and refilling with refrigerant. The new process developed by Aramark, which provides physical plant operations and maintenance services for the plant, reduced technician time to make the change from 10 to 2 hr.

Key to the new process is the characteristic of refrigerant for picking up oil.

The procedure uses two, small, stainless steel tanks, one for dirty oil recovery, and one for putting new oil back into the system. The tanks must be rated above the pressure on the reclaimer being used. One of the tanks is put on a scale for measuring the weight of the oil removed. The refrigerant storage tank is also placed on a scale to measure refrigerant removed from the system.

Oil is removed from the compressor by the refrigerant recovery unit through the oil drain port. Recovering refrigerant through the oil port pulls the oil out of the compressor and into the stainless steel tank. Refrigerant leaves the tank and goes through the reclaimer into the recovery tank. Only 4 to 6 lb of refrigerant are needed to remove up to 6 qt of oil. Heating the oil tank after the refrigerant has been pulled through it helps remove as much refrigerant from the oil as possible.

The tank of old oil is then switched with the identical tank containing clean oil. The refrigerant that was used to pull out the old oil can then be used to pull the new oil back into the compressor.

The complete, detailed procedure actually involves about 60 steps.

Aramark estimates the new procedure saves about $27,000 in labor for changing the oil on the plant's 52 compressors.

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