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Our customers produce the best possible steel and paper in the world, the finest electronics, the most advanced faucets, door handles and bathrooms, the tastiest Finnish cheese and beer, the safest medicines, the purest energy and even nuclear power. We have been able to help them. We also help to print the biggest newspaper in Northern Europe. The WatMan-equipment produces clean freshwater for countless uses in Finland, Caribbean as well as in Sri Lanka.

Introduction: Industrial water treatment

“ Today, one major concern of the industrial water and waste water industry is how to deal economically with the stringent environmental laws. “

Industries such as steel, surface treatment and electronics, generate two kinds of waste water; diluted rinse water and strong concentrates, such as dumped solutions from degreasing, pickling and plating. As is well known, corrosive solutions are also released from ion exchangers, for example. These effluents — if not treated correctly — contain corrosive and toxic substances which can ultimately become concentrate in the food chain. In addition, corrosive agents can cause severe problems in sewer piping.

Toxic substances, especially some heavy metals, can completely prevent the operation of biological purification plants or can have permanent negative effects on natural waters. If not removed, even moderate amounts of heavy metals cause serious problems in communal waste water by accumulating in sewage sludge, thus preventing it from being used properly. To our knowledge no commercial equipment is available to separate heavy metals from biological sludge economically.

Generally, great efforts are being made to minimize the amount of harmful compounds in effluents by using: (1) environment-friendly production processes that produce little or no waste; (2) local re-processors; and, (3) neutralization plants with appropriate processes.

Today, Finland is primarily known for its hi-tech products such as Nokia’s cellular phones, and secondly for its lakes and clean nature. Our hope is to keep it that way by being mindful of environmental regulations, with the final goal being to use production methods that minimize the impurity strain on the environment.

Case 1: Semiconductor Manufacturing

Okmetic Ltd., is a Finnish leader in the manufacture of silicon wafers. More than 90% of its production output is exported. Okmetic applies results from silicon technology research at its new wafer manufacturing plant. The new plant produces six and eight-inch silicon wafers for advanced microelectronic applications. It is of particular importance that significant improvements have been achieved in the variation of the thickness and flatness of wafers. The quality of silicon crystals has been improved by applying a magnetic field to the damp turbulent flow of molten silicon during crystal growth.

As in the semiconductor sector, extremely demanding conditions are intrinsic to production. WatMan’s customers often require exhaustive investigative work prior to any equipment or factory delivery. This is often the only way to proceed reliably at an existing plant.

Very detailed and clear preliminary plans, as well as the large size of the factory, were characteristics of the Okmetic project. From the very beginning the customer and its consultant had a very clear concept of the details of the desired neutralization plant. These details were complied with whenever possible.

The turnkey delivery of the neutralization plant included electrics, automation and plumbing. Identifying and mastering its role in the totality of the large factory delivery, as well as its flexibility when dealing with the customer and subcontractors formed the core of this successful project for WatMan.

Case 2: Surface TreatmentIndustry

“The surface treatment industry itself exists to produce durable products and to spare the environment.“ K. Hartwall Ltd. is an enterprise in the metal industry with net sales of approximately 20 million euro. The company is well known for its innovative carriage products used in the transport and storage of goods, especially foodstuffs. The primary material in carriages is steel, which is surface-treated to enhance the appearance, and corrosion resistant.

The galvanization plant is one of the biggest in Northern Europe. It was designed to treat the rinse water emitted from the surface treatment production as well as the dumped plating baths. The automated plant can run without constantly being manned.

The main parameters of the plant can be monitored from the surface treatment production’s mainframe computer, which also reports on any malfunctions. Moreover, pumps, mixers, chemical dosing, etc., can be controlled from the local control centre.

The equipment can also be operated manually, and the automation software informs the operator of and malfunctions. Waste water from the factory complies with the maximum limits set for metals in industrial process water coming to the Helsinki region’s waste water treatment plant.

Case 3: Telecommunication Component Manufacturing

JMC Tools, formerly ADC Solitra Inc., offers integrated RF solutions for the telecommunications industry worldwide. The product range of the company covers high frequency components and modules for cellular and PCS systems, both analogue and digital. The company has close links with the world’s leading OEM manufacturers of cellular phones and infrastructure and has a strong applications-oriented view when it comes to technology development. JMC Tools has recently introduced a new line of wireless cell site products for cellular and PCS/PCN networks providing operators with cost-effective means for enhancing their existing or planned networks. Some high-quality products — such as JMC Tools’ — cannot be manufactured without high-quality water.

Tap water is not pure enough in all areas to attain the desired product attributes. Even pure water contains a high level of dissolved non-organic minerals and various organic compounds that can interfere with sensitive processes. Deionized (DI) water is used in power plants to produce pure steam, as well as in fields such as the medical, surface treatment and electronics industries, and laboratories.

Several methods are used to produce DI water, the most common being distillation in small-scale, ion exchange and reverse osmosis. Each method has its own unique characteristics, and the best end result is often achieved by combining different techniques. Ion exchange traditionally involves strong chemicals that must be neutralized. Counter current regeneration combined with packed-bed technology reduces the amount of chemicals needed, and is a technique that achieves the best possible water quality. In fact, counter current regeneration technology substantially improves the operational and environmental friendliness of the equipment.

When dealing with low TDS feed water, packed-bed technology with counter current regeneration is normally the most economical choice, especially for producing large volumes of DI water.

Semi-permeable membranes have recently been the targets of rapid development. With reverse osmosis, it is possible today to achieve an excellent water quality with a low supply pressure and a good recovery ratio. Unlike in ion exchange, the amount of chemicals used is generally very small, so this is a particularly good method for sites that do not have a neutralization plant.

When dealing with moderate/high TDS feed water, reverse osmosis — not being sensitive to most neutral salts — is normally the most economical choice. Reverse osmosis does not need chemicals but has the drawback that it rejects a part of the feed as more or less concentrated effluent. Nevertheless, this concentrate can be re-used elsewhere in non-sensitive processes, such as pretreatment.

Case 4: Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing

Aspocomp Ltd. is a Finnish leader in the manufacture of printed circuit boards (PCB), thick film hybrid circuits and mechanical assemblies for the electronics industry. Its main customers are European manufacturers of electronics equipment.

Rather than producing and marketing its own products, Aspocomp relies on its customers who design the product and provide the specifications and drawings, while Aspocomp provides the necessary production and process know-how via its ISO 9000-certified manufacturing operations. Product quality, prompt delivery and a flexible response to customer requirements form the foundation for Aspocomp’s competitiveness.

Most PCB plants in existence today have had problems with following the letter of the environmental law as the PCB process chemistry is complicated, and additionally product quality must always be high: this high quality can only be achieved by using plenty of water. Facilities have fulfilled the requirements of the regulations only by effectively controlling the effluents and the process parameters.

Dissolved in water by itself, copper as a simple salt of an ion that does not interact with copper, such as copper sulphate, will precipitate almost completely by only adjusting the pH. The problem arises when different waste streams are mixed together and, consequently, water treatment to remove heavy metals becomes difficult or expensive, or both. When ammonia or any other complex forming agent, such as EDTA, is mixed with copper, a strong copper-complex will form. This complex can easily pass the normal neutralization treatment

Effective agents (precipitants) that will remove copper from strong complexes, have been developed, but unfortunately, they are expensive. Much of the problem potential with the chelates can be solved by keeping the most difficult fractions separate and by maintaining the lowest level of copper possible.

When studying the alternatives in the Aspocomp Espoo facility, ion exchange waste treatment seemed to be a good approach. The resin used is very selective for bivalent cations such as Cu 2+ , Zn 2+ and Ni 2+ , against sodium but also against calcium ions. Metals from the ion exchanger eluates can be precipitated by normal methods.

Major efforts — both in the production processes and in the effluent treatment — were made to meet the most stringent limits set for metals in industrial process water coming to POWT. Three years after finalizing the effluent treatment plant, ion exchange now seems to be a good choice. Effluent from the Aspocomp Espoo PCB facility not only complies with the maximum limits given by the local authorities but also with the lower internal copper limit given by Aspocomp itself.

The copper concentration of the effluent does not exceed 0.5 mg Cu/l.

Case 5: Steel Manufacturing

Rautaruukki is one of the largest steel producers and upgraders in the Nordic countries, where it has a leading market share in many of its major product groups. In addition, Rautaruukki has a competitive market position in several product groups in other Western European countries.

Rautaruukki's main products are mild and low alloy flat and long steel products and related upgraded products. Flat steel products include hot-rolled, cold-rolled and coated steel sheet, a substantial portion of which is further upgraded into welded steel pipes and tubes, cold-formed sections and products and components for construction. Long steel products are manufactured by Fundia, a subsidiary of Rautaruukki. In 1999, Rautaruukki had a total turnover of 2.4 billion euro and assets worth a total of 2.4 billion euro. Rautaruukki operates manufacturing facilities in 15 European countries.

Rautaruukki is committed to the principles of sustainable development. The Group's objective is to obtain certification for all its production units in accordance with the ISO 14001 standard by the year 2000. A key principle of the environmental system is continuous improvement through environmental objectives and programmes, as well as the environmental audits that monitor the implementation of them. Each location carries out its own environmental programme, which comprises numerical target values for the gradual reduction of emissions as well as investment and development plans for achieving the targets.

Case 6: Power Plants

Wärtsilä power plant portfolio includes baseload, cogeneration, load management and gas compression applications – anything from floating barge power stations to decentralised units suitable for urban areas. High efficiency, fuel flexibility and modular design allow for truly competitive power production anywhere in the world. Supported by a complete range of services, the customers are provided with profitable solutions from a total energy supplier.

Towards decentralised energy. The energy business is undergoing major changes. The large, centralised power plant with widespread transmission systems is being replaced with small, decentralised cogeneration plants. Decentralised plants account for about 40% of all new power plants delivered worldwide. It makes good economical sense to put the energy production exactly where it's needed. Bringing the plant closer to the energy consumers reduces transmission costs, while using heat locally increases the overall plant efficiency.

Wärtsilä power plants are ideal for decentralised power. They fit in the surrounding environment and generate a minimum of noise. With cogeneration – or combined heat and power – the overall efficiency is high, which is also the best means of limiting carbon dioxide emissions. Overall, Wärtsilä provides the most advanced solutions for decentralised energy production at a highly competitive cost.

R&D today is focusing on environmental issues. Since the mid-1980s Wärtsilä has spent more than 100 million euro on developing technologies that reduce exhaust gas emissions. Significant results have been achieved, and development is now more intense than ever.

Many customers today want to stay ahead of environmental legislation and Wärtsilä has taken up the challenge to support its customers’ desires to gear themselves towards sustainable technology.

Case 7: Custom Precision Mechanics Components Manufacturing

Ojala Group’s (owned by Flextronics) mission is to build, maintain and develop mutually beneficial long-term partnerships with customers within the telecommunications, electrical and electronics industries as well as the automation and control industries. Ojala Group is committed to constantly satisfying its customers' changing needs thereby adding value to the customers.

Ojala Group offers its customers comprehensive capability and expertise, and a complete service in custom integrated enclosures and related products’ production processes, from design and engineering to JIT delivery. This highly competitive combination enables the customers to simplify their supplier base and to improve their competitiveness through higher cost-efficiency, quality levels and reliability of delivery.

Caring for the environment is a joint responsibility. Environmental management systems in accordance with ISO 14001 are in use in all Ojala Group factories. Identification of environmental aspects and legal requirements is the principle for the implementation of the Environmental Management System. The environmental objectives are efficient processing of raw materials and energy, and minimization of waste and other environmental strains.

Ojala Group operates responsibly by recycling all possible metal scrap and packaging material. To increase the awareness of environmental issues the company trains and informs its personnel on an ongoing basis.

© Oy WatMan Ab Vedenkäsittely 2017