Hawk T2 front viewLICHFIELD, UNITED KINGDOM July 2015  George Koch Sons Europe has completed the installation of a major wastewater treatment system for one of the world’s leading aircraft component manufacturers – with clear-cut benefits in terms of water usage and disposal costs.  The installation, at BAE Systems’ premises in Samlesbury, near Blackburn in Lancashire, is focused on the organization’s Central Treatment Facility (CTF) which is key to the production of a wide range of high precision components for sophisticated military aircraft.

“BAE Systems identified a number of objectives which centered on the upgrade of the chromate reduction plant, the production of deionized water in-house, dye recovery and significant reduction in water consumption,” says Mike Fisher, Environmental Manager at George Koch Sons Europe.  “The multi-faceted project therefore addressed the recycling of wastes from rinsing operations in order to markedly reduce the volume and cost of ‘bought-in’ water, and to lower the volume of effluent discharge – both elements clearly linked to cost saving potential.”

He explains that the George Koch solution features facilities that delivered chromium reduction within rinse waters, pH correction and chemically-assisted metal precipitation which ensure that the effluent is of such high quality that further polishing enables re-use for additional production.  Alongside this, minimal solid waste production creates further savings in terms of disposal while also promoting environmentally approved practices.  Additionally, advanced filtration technology ensures the minimization of waste generated from an additional waste stream – coupled with water reuse – to further reduce costs.


“Key elements of the installation have included an advanced system of specialized filtration units.  Designed to remove solids or organic material prior to dual ion exchange columns, these produce highly purified water, suitable for critical rinsing applications,” continues Fisher.

“A multi-staged reagent dosing system also removes chromium compounds while correcting the pH of the effluent and precipitating solids thus removing metals for disposal prior to the clarified water being returned to stage one.  Advanced ultra-filtration then recovers organics and produces further high quality rinse for re-use,” he adds.

“The overall result is that the combined system reduces water consumption and wastewater disposal – and their considerable associated costs – while promoting an environmentally sustainable future for the CTF,” comments Tom Mercer, General Manager at George Koch’s UK office in Lichfield, Staffordshire.

Significantly, the entire George Koch installation – which has included civil works and the provision of services – was completed without interruption to normal operations at the BAE Systems’ site.  “This was particularly important to the customer and was successfully delivered despite notable space restrictions at the location arising from the need to build around existing plant facilities,” adds Mercer.  The project is now seeing dramatic water savings and an enhancement of BAE Systems’ commitment to meeting compliance obligations relating to emissions to drain.

“The new CTF water re-circulation and effluent treatment plant has achieved, and in some aspects exceeded, its original operational requirements,” adds Neil Lord, Facilities Manager at BAE Systems Military Air and Information (MAI).  “We have seen a significant reduction in water usage and a subsequent reduction in cost of chemicals used in the treatment of both incoming and effluent waste.”

“This is a major manufacturer in a highly technical sector with a commitment to quality that is at the heart of its track record,” continues Mercer.  “Our ability to contribute to this philosophy – and to enable significant cost savings and environmental compliance at the same time – represents a good example of our own approach and design and installation methods.  We are delighted to have been able to contribute in this way and to help maximize the effectiveness of a major plant installation for the company.”


George Koch Sons Europe - Gestamp Tallent

George Koch Sons Europe - Gestamp TallentGeorge Koch Sons Europe - Gestamp TallentGeorge Koch Sons Europe - Gestamp TallentLICHFIELD, UNITED KINGDOM June 2015  The Gestamp Tallent plant at Newton Aycliffe in the north-east of England has now been enhanced by a purpose-designed acid-etching process line installed by George Koch Sons Europe Ltd.  The facility, developed in response to the specific requirements of one of Gestamp Tallent’s major automotive customers, has been installed in conjunction with an upgrade of the company’s existing effluent plant to accommodate increased throughput and, significantly, sees the first use in the UK of the new Koch Rejuvenator filtration system.  With initial testing having proven the installation performance, the line is now fully operational, accommodating a range of suspension, chassis and axle components manufactured by Volvo.

Mike Fisher is Environmental Manager at George Koch Sons Europe and explains how the new facility is meeting developing needs in the sector –

“Ever-increasing quality standards within the automotive industry have highlighted the need to eradicate silicon-based deposits that can appear on the welds of sub-assemblies, potentially causing defects to the finished, electro-coated product,” he says, highlighting, in particular, the potential presence of glass beads.

“Removal with an alkaline degreaser followed by acid-etching at 50°C using a product based on 10% sulphuric acid has proved to be particularly effective in addressing this issue,”  Fisher points out.  The fully-automated plant processes manually-loaded parts suspended from an overhead conveyor through nine stages including spray and dip cleaners, rinse stages, the acid-etch and the application of an inhibitor ahead of product storage.

Because the new installation also means an increase in the amount of wastewater that needs to be handled at the site – with a particular requirement for treatment prior to sewer discharge – George Koch’s expertise in this area too has been utilized by Gestamp Tallent.  “The original need had been addressed by a precipitation plant for more than 20 years but the new acid-etch plant pointed towards an upgrading of the facility to enhance the customer’s environmental performance while handling the larger volumes involved,” continues Fisher.

He highlights the fact that George Koch was able to remove the existing plant and install the new facility within just a nine-day summer shut down period to ensure that loss of production was avoided.  Significantly, the new plant uses an innovative alkali-dosing system which negates the need to mix lime powder with water in-situ, thereby reducing chemical usage and producing less sludge.

The Gestamp Tallent plant is also the first site in the UK to benefit from the new Koch Rejuvenator.  The design takes degreaser solution from the wash bath and pumps it through a highly specialized auto-filtration membrane which removes both oils and emulsified oils from the solution.  Cleaned degreaser is then returned to the bath without reducing the amount of surfactants and other degreasing components to ensure continuing system performance.  The oil is then stored for either recovery or disposal.

“The Koch Rejuvenator has been proven in installations in other parts of the world as a highly effective means of achieving key cleaning results from a completely self-contained unit.  Because of its design, it requires minimal floor space and can be installed directly alongside a process plant such as that at Gestamp Tallent,” adds Fisher.

“The George Koch installation is now fully operational and proving its capability in both processing and effluent handling terms,” comments Mick Walton, Gestamp Tallent’s Senior Plant Operator at the Newton Aycliffe site.  “In line with many leading automotive manufacturers, our customer, Volvo, is looking to develop production and processing capability in all areas where product quality can be enhanced and improved upon while meeting environmental objectives.  This facility is a prime example of how this can be achieved.

“We are delighted with the input from George Koch and their involvement from design through to commissioning and testing stages,” Walton adds, “and are confident that this will enable us to maintain our leading position in the automotive component processing industry for many years to come,” he concludes.