NTS works hard to improve cleaning operations
Mar 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Charles E Wilson
Management also made it clear that all of the wash racks and maintenance shops in the NTS system are linked. Managers have worked hard to tie the NTS system together through process discipline. Each facility shares its best practices with the entire NTS network.
NTS wash racks also are linked by proprietary software developed by Trimac's information technology department to manage tank cleaning operations. A key part of the software is workflow management.
Each customer indicates when a tank trailer is needed after it is dropped off for cleaning, and that time is noted on the computerized cleaning ticket. Washes are scheduled automatically, and the system constantly updates a cleaning priority list.
The latest NTS technology development is a web-based application that will enable customers to schedule cleaning in advance over the Internet. NTS is in the process of rolling out this system.
Well-trained workers and state-of-the-art computer technology play critical roles in helping NTS provide high-quality, consistent service at its growing network of wash racks and maintenance shops. Facilities manage hours of operation and staff levels according to customer needs in each market.
Most of NTS's 15 US-based wash racks focus on chemical cleaning, including difficult-to-clean products, such as isocynates, latex, and resins. With one exception, the NTS wash racks and maintenance shops share space at Trimac terminals.
The sole exception is the stand-alone NTS flagship location on Battleground Road in Deer Park, Texas. It is the largest in the NTS system and employs 18 wash workers and 26 mechanics.
The Battleground Road facility also may be the oldest in the NTS system. That is one reason it is undergoing a major overhaul that should be completed by mid-April.
“The building that we are in was designed and built to be a trucking terminal,” says Brandon Burdine, NTS manager of the Battleground Road facility. “The renovation that we are doing will reconfigure the facility to better serve our customers.
“We're adding more office space for fleet tenants. Current tenants include Heniff Transportation Systems Inc, Wynne Transport Service Inc, and Trimac Industrial Gas Division. We're improving traffic flow through the building.”
Driver facilities are being significantly enhanced. NTS is overhauling the driver lounge and adding amenities that include a coffee bar and Wi-Fi computer access. Restrooms are being upgraded with the addition of individual showers.
Cleaning and maintenance services offered at the Battleground Road facility are very typical of those available at other NTS locations. However, a number of upgrades are in the works for the Battleground Road location.
On the cleaning side, an additional solution vat will boost capacity for the five-bay wash rack. System wide, NTS runs a mix of single-pass Kelton-style machines and recirculating vat units. NTS uses a variety of spinners, including those from Gamma Jet Cleaning Systems, Sellers Cleaning Systems, and Spraying Systems Inc.
“We'll concentrate more on vat units in the future, and we are steadily working them into most of our locations,” O'Banion says. “We believe they give us greater cleaning flexibility. We use our own fabricators to make them to our specification.”
Most of the NTS wash racks pretreat wastewater and remove solids. In most cases, the water is then released to a municipal treatment plant.
On the maintenance side, NTS mechanics are trained and qualified to service tractors and tank trailers. “We can do just about any vehicle repair,” Burdine says. “We do all of the federally mandated cargo tank tests and inspections. Here at the Battleground Road shop, we have ASME-certified welders who can handle code tank repairs.”
The Battleground Road shop recently added equipment for servicing air conditioning systems. In addition, the shop is gearing up for cryogenic tank repairs. Other services include nitrogen for purging tanks and steam for heating cargoes.
“We continue to expand and we continue to gain momentum with the NTS operation,” O'Banion says. “We definitely believe that we have positioned this company's continued success in the future.”
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