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An all-round clean project in the forging industry - LK's 2-stage ultrafiltration plant cleans heavily polluted wastewater

An all-round clean project in the forging industry

LK Metall supplies a 2-stage water treatment plant, overcomes the challenges and lays the foundation for future cooperation. The customer is a leading global supplier of constant velocity drive shafts for the automotive industry with a total of several thousand employees in 30 countries.

In 2016, LK is commissioned to design and implement a solution for the treatment of washing water and emulsions containing oil and graphite from the forge at the site in Rhineland-Palatinate.

The source of environmentally friendly water treatment

While the precursor separation plant separates the light and heavy phases from the wastewater, the ultrafiltration plant prepares the pretreated wastewater so that it can be fed into the public sewer system. The small amount of separated residual material is fed to the disposal route via a double-walled storage tank. Both plant sections are automated and communicate via an Ethernet interface. By linking the two plant sections, it was possible to operate both plants from spatially independent control panels and to monitor the operating states. The entire plant is equipped with a remote monitoring module that provides secure access to the plant’s control system. A fault and warning notification system informs the operator in real time by e-mail about the current plant status.

“Barrages” on the way

This is where the first challenge of the project arises. Although a total volume of 1,600 m³ per year of wastewater is generated, fluctuations and peaks in wastewater volumes must also be taken into account for the functionality of the systems. In particular, the adhesive properties of the graphite component have been crucial in the system design and selection of the MSR technology. Project engineer Jan Graeber of LK Metall explains the problem: “We already have to set up the planning so broadly that we can cover all eventualities.” In order to be able to channel the supply of the different wastewater streams and to realize a nearby location of the plant, it was decided to build a separate hall, especially for LK’s ultrafiltration plant.

The project comes into flow

After a previous on-site plant test and membrane test runs in LK’s laboratory, the project will be implemented within a few months in 2019. Here, LK Metall faces the second challenge: The installation site is located close to the Moselle River in a flood protection area. Therefore, the plants must be erected about 70 cm above the ground so that containers do not float and the technology is not damaged. Nevertheless, after the preparatory work, the team of fitters, electricians and programmers manages to complete the installation in two construction phases in a total of just seven weeks.

In order to ensure a coordinated start-up of operations and the required work output of the plants, the business partners agree on an accompanying phase starting in January 2020: For this purpose, the project engineer is personally on site, checks the smooth operation, determines that the desired values are correct and expresses his satisfaction: “The most beautiful thing about such a project is to see that the plants work as planned.” In order to ensure long-term operation, a service technician from LK Metall will be at the client’s site on a regular basis until the end of 2020 in order to be able to respond to unusual incidents.

The mouth in satisfaction

For the client, the success of the project has paid off: the new plant saves the company high disposal costs because the wastewater is suitable for indirect discharge. And it conserves water as a resource because the treated wastewater is easier to recycle. Not least for this reason, further projects are already being planned.