Sludge Dewatering for Food Manufacturers

James Tucker, HUBER Technology’s Industrial Business Development Manager discusses how sludge dewatering is enabling food manufacturers to achieve significant cost savings.

In the current economic climate, the majority of our clients are already doing well when it comes to cost saving, but there are often areas for improvement. With the costs of operating an on-site effluent treatment plant and disposing of sludge always increasing, we are seeing a shift towards more efficient technologies and reduced maintenance requirements.

HUBER Screw Press Q-PRESS® Schematic

The volume of sludge produced by a wastewater treatment system can be significant and can add a large expense to the operating costs of a plant. As both transportation and disposal of sludge become more tightly regulated, prices have increased and we are seeing more and more of our customers interested in further treatment of this sludge on-site.

The food industry produces large amounts of sludge as a result of on-site treatment plants removing contamination before discharge to sewer. The solids removed can vary significantly, from predominantly mineral in vegetable washing applications to fatty in dairy and ready meal applications. There is also biological sludge to consider, which is often combined with another type of “primary” sludge, modifying the treatability. With many sites, operating batch production or implementing end of shift cleaning, consistency and treatability can be highly variable. This makes treatment more difficult and makes it even more important to have equipment able to handle these variations.

Fatty DAF sludge ...
... and the resulting cake after treatment with a HUBER Screw Press Q-PRESS®
HUBER Trial Screw Press Q-PRESS® ...
... and resulting caked from abattoir

The HUBER range of screw presses offer industry leading dewatering performance with the flexibility to deal with varying sludge consistency. As a pressurised treatment unit with variable main drive and pneumatically actuated backpressure cone, the HUBER Screw Press Q-PRESS® provides the operator with complete control of the dewatering process. Automated cleaning means that even fatty/oily sludge is no problem for HUBER machines.

Sludge treatment by thickening and dewatering offers reduced volumes and alternative, cheaper disposal routes. In some cases, thickening or dewatering sludge with HUBER equipment has resulted in zero cost disposal options becoming available. Since there is still value in the sludge, it can be sent for further treatment at an Anaerobic Digester, often free of charge.

By choosing equipment with low operational and maintenance requirements, clients spend less time and money on the equipment over its lifetime. They also get the benefit of a more efficient and reliable piece of equipment, meaning less chance of unplanned downtime and the associated costs.

HUBER are able to offer on-site trials using our containerised trial units. These allow sites to confidently assess not only the performance of the machine but the ease of operation and minimal amount of time required from site operatives. Following a trial, we issue a detailed report so that capital and operating costs can be evaluated.



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