Case Study: That Mmm Mmm Good Feeling
Napoleon, Ohio, Campbell's Soup facility has been using ESS software for the last eight years to help manage its chlorofluorocarbons and document its compliance with speed and accuracy.
- By Environmental Protection Staff
- Sep 22, 2009
As a Clean Air Act Title V facility, Campbell's Soup Company's Napoleon, Ohio, plant also must meet the requirements of Title VI, which cover the management of the refrigerants chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).
Robert Counselman, area manager, Power and Utility Maintenance at the facility, explained that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is "interested mainly in units that hold 50 pounds or more of CFC or HCFC charge, but we also track every small window air conditioner, and other small appliances that apply to the rules."
Imagine doing that with notepads and pens and pencils for the 65-acre (under roof) food manufacturing facility. "The stack of paper made going through the records very cumbersome," Counselman said. He inherited that process when he advanced to management 10 years ago.
The company's world headquarters encouraged all its plants to use software for better records and sent out the first package of ESS' Compliance Suite™ Refrigerant Compliance Management Software (RCM) about eight years ago, Counselman explained. "The first step was trying to get all the old records typed into the database off of hardcopy record sheets. I started it myself, and finally my wife helped me at home for about a year. Then a couple of my employees volunteered to help, and we added many more records. Now we try to keep all records typed in as soon as they are created, and I have my main CFC contractor typing in the records directly. It has been a long road but well worth it," he added.
. RCM helps track repairs, refrigerant disposal and employee tasks in order to ensure that refrigerants are safely handled without the release of CFCs and HCFCs.
Managers can prepare customized refrigerant compliance reports that are readily available in seconds and build a comprehensive history of service records that will help manage and control inventory from purchase to disposal. Staff can track refrigerant additions and removal, refrigeration malfunctions, refrigerant leakage and consumption rates, repairs, and employee certifications. All of this information is stored digitally.
The Campbell's Soup manager said he set up his primary contractor with a licensed copy of the software. " This has speeded up the paperwork process 100 percent and has eliminated inaccuracies, since I could never read his writing anyway.
"When it comes to inaccuracies, we have gone from 5 to 20 every month to just about nil now," Counselman said.
"We still fill out paperwork and keep a hardcopy before entering the data into the ESS RCM program. Then we make a copy of the evacuation paperwork, and we paste it in a plastic waterproof pouch along with large noticeable yellow CFC FREE stickers, on the unit to be disposed of so recyclers will know it is safe and empty," Counselman explained.
But they no longer rummage through a cumbersome stack of papers. To help with unanticipated EPA inspections and internal training, Counselman has used RCM to create a photo journal of the refrigeration units. "We now have just about all of our large units photographed and in the ESS RCM program. This is a very nice feature we value—being able to identify the unit with a photo and not just numbers.
"If EPA walks in, you want to show them a blueprint of where all your units are located and a list of all your larger units. Naturally, if you do not know where they are, you sure cannot be maintaining them correctly," Counselman remarked. "Then I would show them my main book listing all technicians, and how we train the techs. Then I would show them my CFC pump-down methods, and photos of the units and how they are all properly labeled with warning signs. You want EPA to know you are in full control of the operation, and that is what I take pride in doing."
Counselman seems fully invested in his work and in the new process. "I personally educate everyone in the plant that we have software we use to track every CFC, and this is what makes everyone call me before working on any CFC-containing equipment."