Metal preparation plant goes eco-friendly

A new state-of-the-art metal preparation plant in northern Spain is one of the most environmentally-friendly metal preparation facilities in Europe, its operator Trelleborg Automotive has claimed.

The company, a global supplier of polymer-based acoustic solutions for automotive applications, said that the Cascante metal preparation centre will supply parts to its network of plants manufacturing anti-vibration solutions (AVS) in Europe.

It has installed an innovative wastewater treatment and solvent extraction system which will enable the company to reduce its annual CO2 emissions by over 200,000t per year, as well as diminishing the volume of solvents required by up to 80 per cent.

Cascante plant manager Arturo Navascués said: “We’re committed to making our manufacturing processes as clean as possible and the new facility has been specifically designed with this in mind.

“Once contaminated, the solvents used in metal preparation have traditionally been burnt, resulting in the emission of CO2 gases. At our Cascante facility we now have the ability to recover, rather than burn, waste solvents. Not only does this mean that we’re able to significantly reduce our CO2 emissions, but we’re also able to re-use recovered solvents, therefore considerably reducing our overall solvent usage.

“In addition to solvent reduction, we have reduced the quantity of contaminated wastewater resulting from the metal preparation process. While chemicals have traditionally been added to wastewater to extract heavy metals and additives, our new wastewater treatment equipment has enabled us to extract waste without adding chemicals, which means we can re-use the water. We are now generating 80 per cent less wastewater than a traditional installation, 90 per cent of which we’re able to re-use.”

A full range of metal surface treatments, including chemical treatment, shot blasting and bonding, will be carried out at the Cascante site. In addition, the storage, supply and logistics of all metal, plastic and rubber materials used in the company’s European automotive AVS production will be managed from the facility.

Trelleborg said that the facility will enable it to streamline its material purchasing, packaging and logistics, consolidate both incoming and outgoing deliveries, and further reduce its CO2 emissions.

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