IT’S EASIER THAN YOU THINK
When you own or operate performance-driven machinery, one thing you're constantly aware of is the day-to-day maintenance and upkeep. Certainly, a person driving a Ferrari makes sure that they keep up with their oil changes, washes the vehicle on a regular basis, keeps air in the tires, and every now and then performs an engine tune.
Working with CO2 extraction equipment is no different. In fact, given the investment made in the system, as well as the profit potential, the argument can be made that your extraction equipment should be treated better than a Ferrari. With the technology behind the systems, the engineering and design that goes into each part, and the ultimate performance on the line, a CO2 extraction system is a pure example of a high-powered, performance machine. Keeping that in mind, staying up to date with standard maintenance ensures the system is running properly and protects the investment.
However, framing it in this light can make the prospect of operating the system a little intimidating. Stepping behind the wheel of a Ferrari for the first time can be exhilarating, but also a little scary - will I be able to keep it under control, am I a good enough driver to manage this, can I do what's needed to keep it in tip-top shape?
Unlike Ferraris, CO2 extraction systems don't require a mechanical engineering degree to perform routine maintenance, and you don't need to schedule appointments with a certified mechanic. In fact, despite the technology and design behind them, the maintenance tasks required are the dictionary definition of "standard".
On a CO2 system, there aren't any tires to keep filled with air, and the only oil changes required are those that occur when the hydraulic oil is replaced yearly and when an operator pulls the beautifully extracted crude oil out of the extraction separation chamber. Standard maintenance tasks on these machines are fairly straight-forward, and the user manual that comes included with each Vitalis system outlines a pretty easy schedule for daily, monthly, and quarterly upkeep.
Of course, the more the system is running, the more often some tasks are required. A system running 24/7/365 will need regular maintenance, while an extractor operating a few times a week will have a less rigorous schedule. How long and how often a machine is running is the key qualifier when examining the regularity of maintenance tasks.
With a schedule in hand, keeping track of the simple yet exceptionally important upkeep is pretty easy. What's more, the regularly scheduled work is easy enough that typically one person can manage most of it. For some larger tasks, it never hurts to have a second set of hands, but the general maintenance outlined in the user manual doesn't require a massive investment of man-hours and labor. On a well-run extraction team, having 1 or 2 people responsible for regular upkeep is sufficient.
When deciding on the person responsible for the maintenance, it's still wise to choose the most skilled person for the task. In looking at the maintenance tasks on your Vitalis, anybody with a mechanical background is great. But that doesn't mean the person needs to be a former rocket-scientist or aviation tech.
Having the ability to turn a wrench, lift a few pounds, and generally operate standard hand tools is more than enough skill required to manage your maintenance tasks.
But, even in cases where a person has never seen a hand tool, never had to tighten a screw or loosen a bolt, the training that Vitalis provides during commissioning can turn a mechanical novice into a person qualified enough to maintain the system.
You wouldn't get behind the wheel of a car (legally) without being licensed to drive, and you wouldn't have a license if no one ever taught you how to operate a vehicle. Similarly, when commissioning extraction systems in the field, the Vitalis Service Team is onsite working with your operators to teach them how the system works, operates, and what's required to keep it in prime condition. Through standard training practices, your team is given the knowledge necessary to keep up with the maintenance routines. If your system arrives at your facility without a detailed user manual and no training is provided, then it's a 100% bet you weren't working with Vitalis.
Not only is training provided, but the user manual goes into great detail on each specific task required in the maintenance schedule, including step-by-step instructions and accompanying images to ensure easy understanding. The science & engineering teams work diligently to provide customers with the necessary documentation and up-to-date information to maintain the extraction system.
As well as being familiar with the manual, having a library of instructional videos and walkthroughs can be a definite plus. Many of the required standard tasks also have an accompanying instructional video that goes through the steps and tasks, outlines the tools needed, and provides helpful guidance to operators.
Just as ensuring your Ferrari has clean oil and full tires is integral in keeping your high-performance vehicle operating at maximum capacity, so too is ensuring that your CO2 extraction system has seals replaced and vessels cleaned. While it can be daunting to stand beside a 200L industrial-scale extraction system, the upkeep required is anything but. Generally, standard maintenance tasks should take no more than a few hours each week, and – when compared to the potential of costly downtime – is a smart time investment to make.
With a wealth of available resources, a learning management training system, and 24/7 service availability, ensuring that your team has the knowledge and support to perform routine maintenance tasks on your Vitalis is simple and easy. Keeping up to date with the maintenance required is also a key step to ensuring that you're getting the best performance from the system, maximizing your ability to turn plants to products, and enhancing your profitability.
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