Unfiltered: ERS Shares Its Growth Journey

Engineered Recycling Systems’ (ERS) success in the corrugated industry was born out of a challenge that needed innovative engineering and a healthy dose of perseverance to solve. “I remember being contacted by a corporate engineer with one of our new customers who had an explosion and resultant fire in their bag house” said Mike Carver, co-founder of ERS. “They had been tasked with finding a dust collection system that posed less fire risk and ultimately made their material handling system safer.” Jim Cunningham, ERS’ other co-founder, was familiar with a type of filter used in the textile industry that had been adopted in Europe. “While the overall filter concept showed promise, there were significant deficiencies when we installed the first generation of these filters into the corrugated industry,” said Carver. Undeterred, Carver, Cunningham and their team went back to the drawing board. “Fortunately, we were able to work closely with our customer and soon unveiled the newly engineered CCM® (Continuous Cleaning Modular OCT) filter in 2016, which revolutionized our business, and we believe, the industry. With that first installation, we were able to take out our customer’s old dust collection system and we were on our way,” Carver said. Carver and Cunningham, both Mechanical Engineers, have decades of experience in the manufacturing industry. They have spent their careers focusing on equipment integration and working to find innovative and effective solutions in a variety of industries. “We take a multi-pronged approach when assessing our customers needs. Our systems are designed to minimize energy requirements, improve process flows, and reduce labor requirements. We are able to achieve all of these cost saving measures and provide systems that perform better and produce a cleaner finished product than the competition,” said Carver. “That’s why it is no surprise to us that so much of our business comes from repeat customers.”

Saving Time

One of the biggest issues the ERS team had to work through was changing out the filter media, which, like a bag house or cartridge filter, took an entire weekend. This was something ERS’s Andreas Fischer knew something about, having outsourced all the materials to make a type of European drum filter in an earlier career. For ERS, he successfully negotiated a deal with a new supplier in the Czech Republic to make some of components for the ERS CCM® OCT filter systems.


“I said, ‘Andy there’s got to be a better way to do this,’” Carver said. “The process to change the filter media was still too time consuming.” Their efforts resulted in the first patent for a filter media changeout that took remarkably less time. Carver said what previously took eight hours was shaved down to two hours or less. Today, ERS has three more patents pending to further improve the filter and they are working on a new design in their test lab. The CCM® OCT filter is gaining momentum with more than 70 units, in box plants alone, installed throughout North America. “We have been expanding and finding new applications for CCM® OCT filter. We recently started marketing to the filter tissue industry and expect our first tissue project to be completed later this year,” said Carver. “ERS supplies size reduction and separation equipment that is used to recycle scrap metals like aluminum and copper. We have seen fantastic results with the CCM® OCT filter in this application as well,” said Carver.

Thinking Outside The Bag House

Having an innovative product meant they would also need to change the conventional ways of thinking when it came to dust collection rules and standards. “The CCM® OCT filter does not require ancillary equipment such as explosion venting, abort gates or any of the other ancillary equipment that a bag house or cartridge filter require,” Carver said. They are stationary and can operate under positive pressure indoors without an enclosure. Air flows from the inside to the outside, leaving the drum through the entire filter surface. The fine filter media is continuously cleaned with anti-static suction nozzles inside the drum with little air required.

CCM® Filter Engineered Recycling Systems, LLC

Conventional filters ancillary equipment must conduct proper testing and maintenance to avoid accidents and explosions which carries a huge liability. Since ERS’ filter technology is new and not yet classified specifically, the company spends considerable time explaining the capabilities and the safety of their filters and have been successful doing so.

Mike Carver Engineered Recycling Systems, LLC
Mike Carver Engineered Recycling Systems, LLC

“Now that we’ve brought the new technology to the market, it’s been approved by municipalities, fire marshals, insurance companies, and it’s really grown for us. We’re continually innovating and plan to make more enhancements to the CCM® OCT filter as we introduce it into new markets,” Carver said. “By developing and adding this filter to our product line, our company has grown substantially.”

Customer Support

“Filters are a lot like balers in that they can shut down an entire plant if we can’t support them,” Carver said. “We are focused on making sure that our shelves are well stocked with plenty of spare parts to protect our customers from unnecessary, unplanned shutdowns.” “Customer support is a priority at ERS and we strive to meet all of our customer’s needs,” Carver said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the little guy or our biggest customer, we jump through hoops to ensure the customers’ needs are met.” Large integrated box makers were among the first to embrace ERS’ filter technology. Currently, another larger corporate customer has given ERS an order for three CCM® OCT filters for its vacuum transfer systems. “We are also filling an order for a customer that is trying to correct an OSHA violation,” said Carver “We have enough equipment in stock to install systems quickly. Keeping more than enough equipment and parts inventoried has helped us minimize supply chain issues.”

Dust: It’s Everywhere

Dust is a problem, and it is becoming a bigger issue with the production capability of modern corrugated box making equipment. “Now the machines instead of doing 6,000 sheets an hour, they are doing 23,000 sheets an hour,” Carver said. At one customer’s plant, the volume of air in their vacuum transfer system on one machine center is 35,000 CFM.

ERS Dust Collection Systems

Carver said when he was first in the business 30 years ago, 35,000 CFM was considered a big scrap system. “Now you’ve got 35,000 CFM of air just blowing in the plant and the dust is going all over the place and it gets in the electrical panels, it gets in print stations, and it causes all kinds of problems,” Carver said. Dust is problematic with printing as well, which we see more and more in the corrugated industry, Carver said, noting that there is also a lot more recycled board that creates more dust when the board is die cut or slotted. Insurance companies and owners of plants have started to take note of these safety and air quality concerns, and it’s not just in the corrugated industry, Carver said, folding carton, tissue and nonwovens all have dust to contend with. Plugged bag houses or cartridge filter are only exacerbating these problems with the scrap systems that we visit. “They’re not looking at the dust collector that really doesn’t breathe well,” Carver said. “The CCM® OCT filter breathes well because the dust comes in and we clean the entire surface every two to three minutes with our technology. It prevents a lot of scrap system problems that older technology causes” Since conventional dust collectors are considered confined space, many companies will not allow their people to work on them. The ERS filter systems do not require enclosures. Once the media is unzipped, the confined space is eliminated and they allow a safe space for maintenance to be performed on the ground with no ladders or lifts necessary, Carver said. Dust isn’t just a problem for plants indoors, it can reek havoc outdoors as well. Carver said companies are no longer getting away from releasing dust through cyclones on rooftops because of environmental regulations. Not only are the fines expensive, but OSHA can impose shutdowns until plants comply with everchanging state and federal guidelines. Dust is indeed a problem, but for ERS and the viability of their future, it’s a good problem to have. “I really believe that growth in this sector of our business will continue to exceed expectations. I tour new plants every week, and the CCM® OCT filter has revolutionized the way that our customers view their plants dust filtration system and allowed them to increase productivity while decreasing labor needs at the same time,” Carver said.

Home Base

ERS is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia where it operates in a 55,000-square-foot facility that includes equipment and systems sales, parts/service support, engineering, and an operating test lab.

Original Article released on April 24, 2023 www.boardconvertingnews.com

Copyright 2023. All Rights Reserved.
Settings saved
Privacy settings

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential, while others help us improve this website and your experience.

You are using an outdated browser. The website may not be displayed correctly. Close