Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

an expansion of the Pod concept to an Analytically Controlled Factory (“ACF”), meaning a cluster of as many as 15 mixers.(ST10299-1)

Kolmar Laboratories, Inc.


On average, each week at Kolmar Industries, Inc. 30 drums of off-spec product manufactured in the personal care department are shipped out as waste. At 90-100 kg/drum, this amounts to 150,000 kg per year (over 300,000 lbs/yr). A great deal of the correctable problem comes from errors in batch manufacturing quality control (QC). Large volumes of waste result in considerable costs for Kolmar. Not only is the energy used to manufacture the product expended for no gain, but there are additional burdens of waste disposal, lost material, extra labor, and lost sales revenues to cope with, as well. To prevent loss of future business, Kolmar must proactively respond by developing and implementing methods for improved process control. The proposed solution is the Analytically Controlled Factory (ACF). Building on the previous success it has had with the Pod, a real-time near infrared analyzer monitoring a cosmetic batch that was simultaneously being controlled by a PLC, Kolmar will enlarge this single system concept to include a network of approximately 15 tanks.

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Project Description

Kolmar will expand the concept of the Pod, creating a single system concept real-time near infrared analyzer that is simultaneously controlled by a PLC and capable of including a network of approximately 15 tanks. The initial work was done under NYSERDA co-funded Agreement No. 6426, and additional private funding. Networking, i.e., advancing from a single analysis and control station to several such stations, will enable an integrated monitoring scheme to govern all members of the group, allowing centralized observation of the factory, as well as accumulation of network statistics in a Data Historian. The analyzers -- both NIR and visible -- selected to “watch over” the processes will effectively report the system status and will alert the control system about the readiness of the batch, the quality, and the features of the product. Since these analyzers are heavily multiplexed, they are able to view as many as four individual tanks at a time, thereby reducing the number required. The net result will be a massive expansion of the Pod concept to a cluster of as many as 15 mixers.


There are numerous benefits of this project. The amount of waste produced per batch will be reduced and an 80% effectiveness is expected as a result of the technology enhancements. This translates into a net value of waste savings of $280,100 per year. The amount of electricity used will also be reduced. The analyzers are an effective means of saving electricity because they stop the mixers from going beyond the needed time. Annual energy savings on Kolmar’s million dollar annual electric bills are expected to be $36,250. Thus, benefits from reduction in waste and energy would total $316,350. Additional benefits include load shifting, enhanced productivity, higher value-added formulations, and reduced cost for liquid/sludge separation and wastewater treatment.

Project Results

These tanks generate annually about 40,000 pounds of bulk waste that equates to a net value of $240,000. Given that the automation on five tanks is completed to date; waste savings of $80,000 per year are currently being realized. When all 15 tanks are done, $240,000 in annual waste savings will result. Wet mixing personal care accounts for one-third of electric consumption and the 15 selected ACF tanks would account for 14.5%. Assuming 20% would be saved from proper endpoint determination and an additional 5% from avoiding redoing waste batches, annual energy savings would be $36,250. Additional benefits include load shifting up to one-third of the 1800kW peak demand; enhanced productivity by using equipment that might have been idle at night; higher value-added formulations; environmental resulting in reduced cost for liquid/sludge separation and wastewater treatment; and safety for workers that do not have to manually operate the machine. A simple payback of about two years or less is expected.


Kolmar Laboratories, Inc.
P.O. Box 1111 11 King Street
Port Jervis, NY 12771

Principle Investigator

Jeffrey Swaine

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Product Demonstration

Technologies Types:

Industrial Products

NYSERDA Contact Information

Ashley Cox


Strategic Operations

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST10299-1

Last Updated: 9/24/2013