Water is used in the fabricating industry mainly for cooling during the production of billets in the melting and casting shops, as well as in the hot-rolling and extrusion processes. Both open and closed circuit cooling systems are commonly used for these purposes, offering water reuse opportunities.
Where available, water is drawn from neighbouring lakes and rivers. Where local sources are limited, closed-circuit cooling systems offer a viable alternative as very little water is actually consumed. However, issues that must be addressed include salting, corrosion and the build-up of microbes.
KME’s Osnabrück site, in Germany, is not located close to a river and its only water sources are groundwater wells. Through the progressive installation and use of several closed-circuit cooling systems, KME can now reuse the same water up to 16 times and has reduced its wastewater discharges from around 1 million down to around 50,000 m3/year.