Glass-manufacturing facilities tend to use a lot of water during processing, as fine glass dust mixes with water to form a sediment that needs to be cleaned out regularly.
This is one of the biggest challenges that the industry has been facing as the process of cleaning out the water not only uses more than 200 ℓ of water a week, but the sediment also causes the water to become dirty, which negatively affects the quality of the processed glass, says processing tools, machinery and accessories manufacturer and wholesaler Bohle.
The company has subsequently been working on sedimentation treatment solutions, or sedimentors, for more than ten years. Bohle sales representative Calvin Jones tells Engineering News that parent company Bohle Germany’s teams of researchers, developers, chemists and engineers are constantly developing new products and refining existing products.
The company’s sedimentor system binds even the finest glass particles, resulting in clear processed water. Jones considers this to be one of the benefits of the sedimentor, which also reduces the frequency at which the tanks have to be emptied out.
He says the tanks would only have to be cleaned every six to 12 months, which results in a saving of about 200 ℓ of water a week. Jones adds that the company’s sedimentor machine is fully automated and requires very little maintenance.
Further, the quality of the polish on the glass remains consistent, owing to the presence of constantly clean, cool water.
Jones explains that sediment usually gathers in the glass-processing machine’s water tanks, as well as in and around the machine. When the sediment dries, it forms a concretelike substance that can block machine pipes, fill up water tanks and coat machinery.
“This sediment typically needs to be cleaned out of the machines almost weekly, which also leads to machine downtime, a break in production and water wastage.”
He adds that the sediment cannot be poured down sewerage drains as it causes them to become blocked. Further, the removal of this build-up requires massive construction and repair work.
Bohle’s Sedimentor Technology
The company launched its first sedimentor onto the South African market in 2008.
Sediflock powder flocculent, a component in the sedimentor, is a granule powder that the sedimentor adds to the water it is cleaning. Jones explains that the sedimentor agitates the water and that Sediflock bonds to the sediment in the water. This makes the sediment heavy, causing it to fall to the bottom of the machine, which dumps it into a bag for proper disposal.
Further, ACECOOL 5679 is added to the water in a glass-processing machine; it helps keep the water cool, which assists in achieving a better-quality finish for processed glass. The coolant also enables the processing machine to run faster. “When combined with our ACECOOL 5679, the diamond wheels of a processing machine have been proven to last up to 30% longer.”
Jones explains that the work process of Bohle sedimentors is twofold. Coarse glass dust is continuously separated from the coolant during circulation, owing to an optimal tank design, after which fine particles are separated in batch processes in an automated cycle, aided by an optimised flocculant. The system binds even the finest glass particles, thus producing clear processed water.
Other benefits of the sedimentors are improved processing quality, especially when polishing the glass; less time and effort in cleaning the glass-processing equipment; using a decentralised solution for direct connection to the machine; and achieving a consistent high quality in glass grinding. The sedimentor equipment is also compact, which saves space.
Jones says the machine “stays clean”, as there is less sediment build-up in the pipes. Further, there are additional savings, as the only consumable needed for the sedimentor is Sediflock.
Bohle has been doing business in South Africa for 13 years. The company also supplies customers in South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia. Although the glass industry is its main focus, the company also supplies solutions to other industries, such as construction.