AB Sandvik were having issues with severe oil contamination in their production of non-standard stainless-steel tubing and piping. The manufacturing process requires large amounts of an environmentally hazardous, high performance, chlorinated paraffin oil.
In total, the company uses a volume of around 100m³ to serve eleven pilger mills. The oil is highly viscous and dense, which makes it difficult to find any effective filtering solutions. Over time, when used in the manufacturing process, the pilger oil accumulates large quantities of submicron particles. Eventually, up to 20% of the oil’s total volume can consist of these particles.
Over the lifetime of the oil - usually between one to two years - AB Sandvik could see a productivity decrease of 20-30% due to the contamination. This meant that all the pilger oil needed to be replaced at certain intervals. The company therefore regularly had to buy new oil and correctly dispose of the hazardous used oil. Over time, this lead to extremely high oil-related costs.
AB Sandvik realized they needed to find other, more sustainable oil management solutions and reduce the high costs of oil purchase and disposal. In addition, the company wanted to find ways to reduce their operation’s environmental footprint.
SKF Recondoil’s solution
SKF RecondOil was able to provide a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable solution to AB Sandvik’s pilger oil problem: oil regeneration in a Stand-alone Double Separation Technology (DST) system.
The system consists of processing tanks, vacuum filtration, and storage tanks, in which the DST process can take place on-site. At AB Sandvik, the entire regeneration process takes only twenty-four hours per m3 of oil. This makes more frequent oil changes viable, which in turn means that productivity decreases due to oil contamination can easily be avoided.
The waste results in a dry cake-like matter which can then be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner, without extreme costs for handling and disposal.
Environmentally sound circular economy
With SKF RecondOil’s Stand-alone DST system, AB Sandvik was able to cut costs, improve efficiency, and reduce the environmental footprint of the pilger mills significantly.
Although some of the oil is lost in the pilgering process, up to 90% of the specialized oil from a mill can be regenerated and sent back for reuse. The DST process removes 95-99% of the contaminants in the oil. This of course has a significant impact on AB Sandvik’s costs for oil purchases and disposal.
The company also makes substantial savings on purchase and handling of standard oil filters, which are no longer required in their production.
Regenerating the oil removes the need for production of more of the specialized oil for AB Sandvik – a huge environmental benefit. What’s more, the waste product – an easily handled cake-like slag – reduces the risk of hazardous materials in the pilger oil making their way into the environment.
As a bonus, by replacing their grease lubrication with splash oil lubrication, AB Sandvik has also obtained 30% longer service life for the main and tool bearings in rotating parts of their pilger mills.
With SKF RecondOil taking on the logistics and handling, AB Sandvik has been able to transition to a cost-effective and sustainable circular economy of industrial oil.
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