May 2021 –The International Environment Day on June 5 puts a spotlight on climate change and the need for increased environmental protection, resource efficiency and sustainability. For many years, the chemical industry has pioneered innovative solutions and concepts that help minimize the impact on the environment and resources. As a leading supplier of foundry chemicals and materials, ASK Chemicals is continuously working to reduce waste and emissions at its production sites.

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At its main plant in Wülfrath, the company has implemented two important projects for greater environmental protection and resource conservation in the form of rinse water recycling and thermal afterburning.

Automated rinse water recycling
Water is used not only for the production of chemicals, but also for cleaning the manufacturing equipment. ASK Chemicals is constantly striving to reduce or, at best, recycle the amount of the cleaning and rinsing water used. At its main production site in Wülfrath, the company has begun implementing an automation project that is already saving up to 600t of water annually. This is roughly equivalent to the volume of 3,000 filled bathtubs.

For quality reasons, after a product has been manufactured and before a new cycle can begin, the production equipment must be cleaned with water. Previously, the cleaning water was fed to the wastewater treatment plant and eventually disposed of.

In a new, fully automated process, this rinsing water is now pumped into collection tanks, sorted by type, and returned for the next production batch. Each production step is controlled and monitored at all times via the process control system to ensure the quality of the product at all times. By implementing the project, ASK Chemicals saves valuable water, recycles raw material, and reduces waste.

Keeping emissions in the system

The thermal afterburning system at the Wülfrath site, which is one of the most modern in Europe, makes it possible to keep the emissions generated during the production process in a closed system, as well as to return energy to the production cycle in a resource-saving manner. The recovered energy is used, for example, to heat production equipment to the necessary operating temperature.

"With targeted investments in environmental protection and resource conservation, such as in rinse water recycling or in our thermal afterburning system, we not only make an important contribution to society, but also ensure the long-term success of ASK Chemicals as a leading supplier of foundry chemicals and materials," says Dr. Jens Müller, Executive Vice President Chemicals Division of ASK Chemicals.