All-round savings with sustainable oil separation

Stainless steel is a sustainable manufacturing option thanks to it’s durable, long-lasting, and recyclable qualities. Outokumpu, based in Torshälla, Sweden, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers within the industry.

DATE 2023-11-28 AUTHOR Lillie Fulford PHOTO Outokumpu

When we talk about sustainability, there is a lot more to think about than a future proof product like stainless steel. To reduce their impact on the environment beyond stainless steel production, Outokumpu is proactive about developing more efficient processes and keeping up with new technologies.


This covers everything from improving energy and material efficiency, to implementing new solutions for by-products. So, by choosing Alfa Laval as their partner, Outokumpu were able to be as proud of their processes as they are of their world leading products.


Take production lines 60 and 55 as an example; these lines are in place to pickle and anneal material. This allows them to scale break and soften material, and it requires frequent inspection. Outokumpu’s wanted to focus on sustainable solutions to further reduce transportation and water when upgrading these lines. By using Alfa Laval and upgrading to the AlfaPure S7, Outokumpu were able to see incredible results, and get their investment back within the first month of their upgrade. Here’s how:


At the end of production, it is important to remove all excess oil from the finished product once it has been correctly shaped. This degreasing system can have problems where oil contaminates the degreasing liquid and creates marks on the final product. To resolved this, Outokumpu engineers would perform 5 hours of weekly downtime to remove unwanted oil.


Thanks to Alfa Laval’s oil separator, we could help solve this problem. We set them up with a new separator that eliminates etching on the final product and significantly reduces unwanted scrap. Plus, it only requires maintenance every 6 weeks, so they don’t have to slow down production outside their scheduled maintenance plan. By separating and reusing wastewater, we were able to reduce their water consumption by 6 times their prior consumption. This is crucial for any company aiming to reach sustainability goals, as we know clean water is a very valuable resource.


But a contamination-free system, recycled wastewater, and reduced downtime aren’t the only savings we could help them with. Thanks to our separators, Outokumpu didn’t need to use any more harmful cleaning chemicals in their degreasing system. This not only respects the environment, but it saves Outokumpu the cost of purchasing 500 m³ of cleaning liquid per year. Plus, the time saved by reusing by-products meant less cost and energy consumed to transport and destroy the extracted oil.


In fact, thanks to less scrap and improved quality, Outokumpu have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 100 tons. So, we are left with a very happy customer and can rest easy knowing that our partnership is a win-win for them, us, and the environment.