Fresh problem-solving, less water down the drain

Sustainability - 26 4 月 2022

The determination of Infineum employees to solve a water consumption puzzle at our Technology Centre based in Japan has led to a significant decrease in the amount of water being used at the site.

As Infineum increasingly turns a spotlight on ensuring all areas of our business are operating responsibly, a local team increased their efforts to address the issue of unexpectedly high water consumption at the Tokyo site at times.

Test rigs are assembled to assess how our products perform, and the team established that the running of a particular friction test rig was responsible for the water fluctuation.

When the friction test rig was first installed on site, the supplier recommended it was cooled by a water chiller to counter the amount of heat it generates during operation.

Space issues made it difficult to install and maintain a cooling tower to reduce the water consumption of the rig, so an alternative had to be found.

The team decided to analyse the operation of another newer friction test rig. After ascertaining that it wasn’t using such a large amount of water, they contacted the first rig supplier to discuss the more efficient air-cooled chiller system used by the newer rig.

Further investigations followed to ensure that replacing the water-cooled chiller on the older rig with an air-cooled chiller of equivalent cooling capacity, was the way forward.

The team did not want to reduce water consumption, only to increase energy consumption, by overloading the building’s air conditioning system due to increased heat being released into the room. Monitoring ensured this wasn’t the case.

After the installation of the replacement air-cooled chiller, water consumption decreased significantly from March 2021 – from an average of 50m3 per month to less than 8m3 per month.

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