International Adventures: Qatar

We were asked to design, build, and install a two-part gas-to-liquid catalyst dispensing system in 2008. We created, set up, and tested it entirely at the CPS factory in Missouri, before packing and shipping it to Ras Laffan, Qatar.

A country with fewer residents than expatriates, the State of Qatar sits on the western shore of Saudi Arabia. Although it’s half the size of Lake Erie, Qatar has the third-largest GDP per capita in the world. It was a modest fishing and pearl hunting country until the discovery of oil in 1940. In short order, the citizen’s way of life improved vastly and this tiny nation proudly boasts an unemployment rate of 0.1%.

Ras Laffan and Mysterious Mangroves

Sitting near the tip of Qatar, our customer was in an area commissioned as an “industrial city” in the 90s. It’s home to many petrochemical companies processing liquified natural gas and gas-to-liquid. It’s situated perfectly near the North Field, the world’s largest natural gas field. 

To accommodate a large number of shipping exports, Ras Laffan built the world’s largest artificial harbor. But just 45 minutes to the south sits an equally amazing display of nature: The Al Thakira Mangroves. A boggling forest of mangrove trees, crusted with sea salt, that supports life both above and below the water. Tourists often kayak through this water forest almost unaware of the large industrial centers a few miles away.

Where Cars Go to Die?

Another mysterious find is a scrapyard of over 20,000 vehicles. We’re talking everything from convertibles to cement mixers. Cars live at the Al Wukair Scrapyard for about four or five months while the owner is tracked down. After that, they are put into the compactor and recycled. 

This odd state-run junkyard is about 12-miles from the Qatar capital of Doha, but judging by the look of the cars, it may as well be in the middle of nowhere. But in a place with few natural resources (outside of oil and pearls), these scraps are often recycled into usable steel for construction.

Doha and Beyond

You’re not likely to get to Qatar without going through its capital city of Doha. Nearly half the population of the country lives in this modern city. Almost half the year is spent above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (over 38 Celsius), and you’ll find creative ways to keep buildings cool. You’ll find structures built to cast shadows, highly sophisticated (and costly) cooling systems, and using white-colored building materials to reduce heat absorption. When visiting, you’ll see something else unexpected: Blue roads! In an attempt to help cool the city, a road downtown was painted with blue-colored heat reflective paint. It’s an innovative test in hotter climates around the world to see if city temperatures can be lowered, as the world around it gets hotter.

A Journey We’ll Never Forget 

If you have the opportunity, Qatar is an amazing place to visit. Atlas Obscura, the internet’s guide to hidden wonders everywhere, has a collection of must-see places if you ever have the opportunity to stop in this tiny, but wealthy, nation.

It’s one of the many places we’ve been fortunate enough to visit and help a customer. To this day, if you drive through Ras Laffan, there’s a 65-foot system that was custom made to help convert gas to liquid in one of the many refineries in the industrial city.

We love creative discoveries like blue roads and hidden mangroves, and nothing excites us more than creative inventions custom-made for our customers worldwide.


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IBC Container Bin Resolutions(+ A Case Study)

There’s nothing magic about the date “January 1st.”  It will be a Friday, so it has that going for it.  But, collectively, we have decided that it’s a day for a new beginning.  A day to start resolutions.  A commitment to make 2021 better than 2020 (not a high bar to clear, but still).

The real magic day is December 31.  For many businesses, that’s the last day to make an investment in your company before the I.R.S. taxes those dollars.  And in the spirit of resolutions, Custom Powder is going to help you lose weight, get organized, and be happier in 2021. In addition to the tax advantages, place an order before 2020 runs out and receive a 2% discount on any payments made by year end.  

Lose Weight

Provident Nutraceutical—a Division of Ortho Molecular Products realized one of their manufacturing plants could use some extra space and turned to us for ideas.  Large, clunky industrial barrels were replaced with IBC Container Bins as a way to “trim down” the space that was being used up.  Eric Peterson, Maintenance Supervisor for Provident, says this was done without losing capacity.  The IBC Container Bins have “larger capacity, but with a smaller footprint,” says Peterson.  “Previously, we were using barrels with double-lined bags…the reusability of the new bins makes things much more efficient with less waste.”

Get Organized

The bins also provided better organization for Provident.  Brad Clary, Midwest Sales Executive for Custom Powder, was able to help Provident’s operation run smoother.  “We had already developed the EZ-Down machinery, but this was going to be one of the largest drops we’ve designed,” says Clary.  “It had to hit its destination, and still stay blended.”  Eric Peterson also notes how this helped the operators on Provident’s fill line.  “We had an auger system that would feed from the bottom, getting the room quite messy.  With the EZ-Down System, it’s all contained and it’s made a huge difference on the cleanliness of the room.”

Be Happier

Provident was also aware that their previous process was presenting ergonomic difficulties.  “There’s a certain size hopper on the machine and the operators would have to scoop it full.  As the machine runs through the powder, they would have to scoop it to keep it full so the machine would keep running,” said Peterson.  “So there was a time-wasting issue here, and with Custom Powder we got to figure out a better way to do this.”

The process, like everything we do, was customized for Provident.  Custom Powder’s Brad Clary says, “we had already created solutions for Provident, so we had a bit of a head start.  We knew what their processes were, and how they operate, so it was an advantage in helping them with this solution.”

Peterson and his team from Provident were able to come to Custom Powder for the F.A.T. and watch the new process in action before it was ever put in place at their operation.  “That was huge,” says Peterson.  “The previous exposure we had to it was at the PACK Expo, so to actually see our product go through the system and actually talk to the guys who built it was key.”

(Side note:  We’ve gotten pretty darn good at virtual F.A.T.s this year, giving our customers the same experience from thousands of miles away)

When you put it all together, Provident ended up with a custom system that helped them lose weight (and gaining more floor space at their plant), get organized (by finding a cleaner, more efficient way to store their product, and they’re happier (because their operators can save time and use their skills more effectively).

Before 2020 runs out, place an order and receive a 2% discount on any payments made by year end.  

Let’s resolve to make 2021 a great year together! 

Get in touch by using our contact form, or call Custom Powder at (417) 868-8002.