Efficient environmental management system cuts water use and waste
Big effort leads to bigger results ... and awards
- Engineering company puts its new EMS to the test and delivers big water and waste reductions
- Annual water savings of 12 000 m3 and reduced material consumption by 30.35 tonnes achieved
IkanKronitek is one of five business units in the TTT Group and specialises in hard chrome plating, grinding, lapping and shot peening, mainly in the aeronautic and wind energy sectors. Lapping is an abrasive technique between two surfaces and shot peening is a process designed to strengthen components exposed to high stress.
IkanKronitek developed an environmental management system (EMS), certified by the Basque standard, Ekoscan, which establishes the conditions for improving environmental performance and meeting the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) requirements.
Once in place, the EMS helped the company to identify the main environmental aspects of its production processes and develop measures to boost efficiency. To reduce water consumption, the following measures were applied:
- Closure of cooling circuits from the chrome plating tanks, which used to be supplied by the water supply network; after closing the circuit, a water chiller was installed to keep the tanks at the right temperature
- The cleaning process of the chrome plating tanks was changed; instead of purifying cleaning water, an evaporation process using heat pumps was installed
- Raising awareness among employees, training them and encouraging active water-saving measures
The environmental management system and the measures introduced resulted in:
- Reduced water consumption of 12 000 m3 per year
- A 'zero spills' policy resulting in no daily spills and reduced incidents (only twice in a year)
- Reduced annual hazardous waste (cutting fluid, dirty water and water with lye) by 7.25 tonnes, and non-hazardous waste (sludge from the purification system) by 17.36 tonnes
- Reduced material consumption (chrome, coagulant, sulphuric acid and lye) by 30.35 tonnes per year
IkanKronitek’s effort to improve resource efficiency has been internationally recognised: the project 'SMEs can also reduce water consumption' was a finalist in the European Business Award for the Environment, in the Basque Country section, under the sustainable development processes category.
- Source: Ihobe (2011). 10 Years of Ecodesign In Basque Businesses: 44 Ecodesign Case Studies, http://www.ihobe.eus/publicaciones/diez-anos-ecodiseno-en-empresa-vasca-44-casos-practicos-ecodiseno