QUA was recently featured in Industrial Waterworld’s June 2016 article about water efficiency in the automotive industry. Fred Wiesler discussed the growing needs of the industry and spoke of QUA’s membrane solution offerings in this article.
“Vehicle manufacturing processes, including both assembly plant and parts and component operations, require significant quantities of water. In the automobile assembly lines, water is used throughout a number of different process and production stages where vehicles are treated, washed, rinsed and painted, generating wastewaters contaminated with metals, oils and grease, and paint residuals. According to industry estimates, upwards of 40,000 gallons can be required to produce a single vehicle, making the automotive sector one of the heavier industrial users of water.
Based on the water-intensity of vehicle production processes and factoring in mounting concerns and operational risks associated with water stress, automobile manufacturers are implementing sustainable measures and advanced technologies to reduce process water usage and increase water efficiency. Such efforts not only reflect a commitment to embracing responsible water practices but also help mitigate present and future risks associated with water supply limitations.
Fred Wiesler, global director of sales with QUA, a manufacturer of advanced membrane products for the industrial market, said with source water expenses and wastewater disposal costs increasing — and environmental discharge regulations becoming stricter — automobile assembly plants and parts manufacturers alike are increasingly driven to find ways to decrease these outlays and are adopting different technologies and solutions for reducing water usage and minimizing discharge volumes.
“This is evident across the greater automotive industry but most prevalent in assembly operations where vehicle painting, surface rinsing, and phosphate treatment processes have traditionally relied on tremendous amounts of water, producing significant volumes of process wastewaters that need to be managed,” Wiesler said. “The sheer size of the parts drives this higher water usage.”
With closed-loop strategies attracting greater interest for tightening water usage and decreasing discharge, Wiesler said more plants are implementing water recycling or turning to zero-liquid discharge (ZLD). “A key requirement with these solutions includes the need to concentrate wastewaters,” he said. “One of the more effective ways to accomplish that is by utilizing membrane bioreactor (MBR) technologies.”
Ceramic membranes, which offer broad chemical compatibility, are another effective option for treating automotive wastewaters, according to Wiesler. “Ceramic membranes are well-suited for automotive process applications where harsh chemicals are present in the wastewater streams,” he said. “These products are also cost-efficient for removing oil from process wastewaters and enabling for reuse.”
To read more of this article on Industrial Waterworld, click here.