In 2025, according to the new water strategy, the Group’s water consumption must be halved in comparison with 2008. This target had yet to be defined, when, as early as 2004, the French manufacturing company introduced a method that reduced their water consumption by as much as 90 per cent. If this method is introduced in the rest of the Group, the total water consumption is estimated to fall by almost a third.
Oil separated from water
The method is very simple and aims to reuse water, which is polluted with 3-5 per cent oil during the casting process.
Sabine Muller, Health, Safety and Environment Manager of the French manufacturing company, explains that previously, the polluted water was sent away for treatment at a company specialising in this particular type of wastewater.
- But since 2004, when we installed a plant that distils water here at the factory, it has not been necessary for us to send all the water away for treatment, but only the small, concentrated part. The rest of the water can be reused, and thus, the total water consumption in the company has fallen by an impressive 90 per cent, Sabine Muller explains.
Tom Palle Hansen, Senior Facility Management Consultant, estimates that large amounts of water could be saved if the French method was spread to the manufacturing companies in the rest of the Group.
- In principle, the method can be used everywhere where cooling water and lubricants are mixed – i.e. in component washers and in connection with all kinds of processing machines, for example milling machines. My estimate is that we could save some 30 per cent of all the water that is involved in production throughout the Group, he says.
Every drop counts
According to Tom Palle Hansen, this method is very good for the environment. First of all because it is saving water, but also because an external waste company needs far less energy to treat the wastewater, as the volume is significantly reduced.
Helle Nystrup, Senior Engineer of Group Environment, Health and Safety, hopes that the good example from France will spread like rings in the water.
- I know that a similar initiative has been started in Hungary, and more are probably underway. This is good, because every drop of water that we can save counts, and it is important that we make an effort within the areas that matter the most. It is also important, however, that the initiatives that are launched in order to save water are as energyefficient as possible so that we do not reduce one environmental problem while at the same time increasing another, she says.
Helle Nystrup adds that a number of obvious solutions present themselves in terms of saving water. According to her, they may be identified using a simple method that was presented at the Group EHS conference in May.