System for Transforming Sludge into Fresh Water


Transforming dirty sludge into fresh water – the MANN+HUMMEL waste water treatment system

At MANN+HUMMEL, we not only transform paper into high-performance filters; our very own waste water treatment system also converts our dirty water into clean water. In the past, we simply removed the oil from our waste water and fed it into the CDC (cathodic dip coating) waste water system via a pump station.  However, since August we have been running our own waste water treatment system.

At the heart of the system are two ceramic filters, which remove micro-sized particles. But let’s start at the beginning: all production areas have a designated waste water container, where all the dirty water from floors, machines and systems is collected. The water contains solid particles, chemicals, heavy metals and oil concentrates. Just one drop of oil will contaminate 1000 litres of water, meaning it cannot be drained away.

The dirty water from the collection containers is fed into the storage containers of our waste water treatment system. There, a large sieve is used to filter out coarse dirt particles before the water is passed through a band of non-woven fabric, designed to collect fine particles and shavings, and into the working container. Once used, the non-woven fabric is rolled up and disposed of together with the sludge. In the working container, the oil is sucked out and the odours neutralised using biocides. After this preliminary cleaning step, the waste water is piped into the heart of the System.

The two ceramic filters are like fine spaghetti; only clean water (the permeate) comes through, while dirt is pressed to the outside under pressure. The pH level in the permeate container is continuously monitored, with the system automatically adding acid or alkaline to maintain a pH level between six and nine. The permeate is then passed through the selective ion exchanger to remove any heavy metals from the water. The fresh water is then ready to be disposed of through the municipal sewage system. It is not crystal clear and has a different colour depending on the substances in it, but all iron parts and oils have been removed. This is verified by regular checks.

The great advantage of this system is that it helps us in our own research and development for the water filtration market. We have installed one of our own membranes in the system and one from another supplier, in order to compare the performance of both ceramic filters. In doing so, we combine the practical benefit of cleaning our waste water with useful results for our research. Indeed, demand for similar waste water treatment systems, also called ‘ultrafiltration systems’, looks set to grow, as regulations governing municipal sewage systems become more stringent.


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