In the steel manufacturing industry, waterborne oil is a pervasive issue. Mill managers, maintenance managers and process engineers are under pressure to keep facilities up and running, and on budget. However, the nature of steel manufacturing poses its own unique set of challenges for effective oil removal. It’s a high capital, continuous process that’s tough on equipment and uses large amounts of water. Effectively removing oil from water not only helps plants run better overall—it can pay off in many ways. Consider these four top benefits of removing oil from water and coolant fluid during steel manufacturing processes:
Preventing oil from deteriorating coolant fluid reduces water consumption and reduces wastewater treatment fees. Producing one ton of steel, which is what the average automobile requires, can consume more than 75,000 gallons of water, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Across all manufacturing industries, the push for water conservation and recycling initiatives is escalating. Fees for inadequately treated water are increasing, too, as aging municipal sewage treatment plants struggle to process industrial effluent.
Keeping lubricant and hydraulic fluid residues from collecting on production machinery and filtration systems—and the product itself—avoids expensive repairs and costly production delays. To keep machinery running optimally, an oil-removal solution such as tube-based oil skimming that can operate continuously is the best way to prevent lubricants and fluids from building up on critical machinery and the finished product.
Capturing tramp oil before it collects inside cooling towers reduces plant maintenance costs. After installing a tube-type oil skimmer, a steel tube manufacturing company in Warren, Ohio, was able to remove tramp lubricating oil from a soluble-oil coolant tank. Before installing the tube skimmer, the 1,000-gallon tank had to be recharged once a month with a ratio of 100 gallons of soluble oil to 900 gallons of water. The tube skimmer helped to eliminate the tramp oil contamination problem and remove 55 gallons of tramp oil per week, which the company then sold, resulting in thousands of dollars in revenue.
Removing oil before it can contaminate water in pressurization test pits extends the life of the water, avoids flawed test results and protects delicate sensors from damage. Every time oil is pumped, plunged or moved, it is being converted from large oil droplets to smaller oil droplets, and that makes separating the waste oil from water more difficult. Removing waste oil closest to the source ensures you collect oil in larger droplets—before it can be pumped, dropped into a pond or in some other way “emulsified.” Emulsified oil is inherently more difficult and costly to remove. It’s easier and more efficient to skim oil than to pump oily water from tank to tank.
To learn more about the benefits of removing oil from wastewater and coolant fluids in the steel industry, and to find out which type of oil skimmer is best for your facility’s needs, download the white paper, "How Oil Removal Helps Steel Mills Improve the Bottom Line" below.