Cleveland, Ohio,-based compressed gas products company Superior Products reduced its annual water consumption from 2 million gallons to zero by switching from a nitric acid aqua-based cleaning machine to a closed-loop solvent system, reports Products Finishing.
The switch also improved the company’s cleaning results and reduced its cleaning hours from 15 hours to one hour per day, the industry publication says. Given the reduction in cleaning time hours, the company says it will see a return on investment in two years.
As many of the parts manufactured by Superior Products are for use in the industrial and medical applications they have to be cleaned to an “oxygen clean” standard. The Compressed Gas Association allows parts to have a maximum of 47.5 mg/sq. ft. of organic material to meet this standard
The previous, water-use-heavy nitric acid-based system, achieved cleanliness levels of around 17 to 18 mg/sq. ft. of organic material. While this system satisfied the oxygen clean level of cleanliness, it was 30 years old and needed replacing.
After research, Superior Products settled on the Universal 81C closed-loop system that uses non-chlorinated hydrocarbons. The new system cleans to a level of 5 to 6 mg/sq. ft. of organic materials.
Back in 2009, Kraft Foods announced that closed-loop systems had helped it reduce its water consumption in manufacturing processes globally by 21 percent, or by more than 3 billion gallons over the previous three years.
For example, a Jacksonville, Fla., coffee plant installed a closed-loop system to reuse water to cool coffee grinding equipment instead of using city water, which helped reduce water use by more than 35 percent (nearly 20 million gallons/75 million liters).