In keeping with the company's ISO 9001-certified quality system, the leader goes well beyond traditional business measurements to balance bottom-line efficiency with service excellence and a commitment to quality. Nowhere is this balancing act more in evidence than in the company's industrial wastewater treatment facility in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Chief Wastewater Operator George Bergman's responsibilities encompass the restrictions on wastewater from regulation and corporate accountability practices with the need for quality water and a mandate to contain the overall cost of treatment.
Sump Station Savings
Like most manufacturing or processing facilities, Allegheny Ludlum employs a collection system by which rinse water is collected before being transferred to the wastewater treatment system. Chemical residue floats on the surface of the tanks, oil drops to the middle while water is near the bottom. This continuous settling wastewater treatment process enables the company to reuse a high percentage of the liquid recovered from the production line - an important consideration as the quality water so necessary for industrial processing becomes harder and increasingly more expensive to obtain.
As Bergman points out, the savings start with 'the effective removal of oil from the wastewater sump stations prior to treatment in the wastewater facility.' Yet as he and his three-man crew of wastewater operators discovered, hand skimming using absorbent pads was an inefficient and ultimately costly method.
Looking 'to reduce the time and labor associated with manually removing the oil with absorbent pads during our daily checks of the system,' Bergman discovered Abanaki Corporation, a leading manufacturer of oil skimming solutions in the country.
Bergman first became familiar with the national leader by word of mouth and did further research on the company's website.
He chose two of the company's most popular models: the Abanaki Model 4 Oil Grabber and the Tote-It® Portable Oil Skimmer. Both skimmers' rely on the differences in specific gravity and surface tension between oil and water to be effective. These characteristics allow the skimmer belts to attract oil and other hydrocarbon liquids from the fluid surface quickly and efficiently with little water content - a key factor in reducing the cost of disposal and lower the contingent liabilities of wastewater discharge.
Each system also delivered specific benefits for specific areas of the treatment facility.
Ideal as a pretreatment before filtration, Bergman requested the installation of the Model 4 in a sump that collects water from several furnace wash tanks and used to remove oil. He and his team 'inspect the process daily to ensure that the Model 4 oil grabber is working properly, check the condition of waste oil drum and inspecting and cleaning the wiper blades.'
He reports the unit operates quite well.
The Model 4 removes oil at a rate of up to 20 gallons of oil per hour through a continuous belt and wiper action. The belt, operating on a motor and pulley system, runs through contaminated liquid to pick up oil from the surface. After traveling over the head pulley, the belt passes through tandem wiper blades where oil is scraped off both sides of the belt and discharged.
Bergman had Abanaki's most mobile unit, the Tote IT, 'installed in a floor sump to remove oil from floor washing' - an ideal setting for this 36 lb portable unit that requires no modifications to mount and maintains skimming efficiency in fluctuating flied levels.
In fact, low maintenance and self-running sufficiency were key reasons Bergman chose Abanaki in the first place. As he explains, 'I chose the Abanaki products for their simplicity of operation and automatic features, such as operation timer and shut off switch when the waste oil drum is full.'
Now, after six months in operation, Bergman reports that the two units have yielded even more benefits. 'We have saved on labor and time by not having to apply and remove the oil absorbent pads every week,' he says.
Further, Allegheny Ludlum's maintenance and wastewater operators are impressed with its ability to remove oil and simplicity. Maintenance Technician Bob Zussy, who installed both units, commented on the simplicity of the units, noting to Bergman that they were easy to install and delivered a high quality of the workmanship, from the way the parts lined up to the quality coating.
Excellence in quality, price and delivery are key elements in Allegheny Ludlum's standing as a worldwide producer of specialty metals. A commitment to world-class production standards also necessarily involves operating an effective and efficient wastewater treatment facility. By installing Abanaki oil skimmers at key areas of the treatment process, the company underlines customer satisfaction, ensuring a residue-free product, and underscores community stewardship, providing proactive environmental protection measures.