Potato Chip Plant

Oil Skimmers, Inc. Helps a Growing Snack Food Manufacturer Reduce Wastewater Treatment Costs and Go Green in the Process

Model 6V Cart MountA privately held snack-food manufacturer in the Midwest expected to increase production of potato chips by 20%, to about 72 million pounds a year. While more potato chips would mean more profits, it also would mean more oil-laden wastewater from washing the potatoes and the fryers used to cook them.

PROBLEM: When operators clean the fryers used to make the chips, oil mixes with the wash water. This wastewater is discharged into the municipal water-treatment system. The potato-chip plant is in a small village, and is one of the municipality’s largest water consumers, discharging an average of 180,000 gallons a day. The company wanted to install a Model 6V Brill™ oil-recovery system to reduce the amount of oil in its wastewater and improve the efficiency of its water treatment equipment.

A challenge was that the plant’s 4-foot-diameter wastewater pool is in a cramped area crowded with pipes and other equipment. This limited the space available for adding new equipment.

SOLUTION: Cleveland-based Oil Skimmers Inc. modified its standard Cart Mount System to fit into the tight space and installed a Model 6V oil skimmer.

“We can build something to do whatever is required for the customer in their application. In this case, we built a system for them that they were able to incorporate in a very small, confined area,” said Rob Fiorilli, Eastern Region Sales Manager for Oil Skimmers Inc.

Jim Petrucci, Oil Skimmer’s Vice President, said because the company uses factory trained representatives, such specialization is possible. “You aren’t picking out something from a catalogue. We can adapt, modify, or even build from scratch.”

In a unique anti-clogging design, the Model 6V has a polyurethane tube that attracts and collects the waste oil as it floats on top of wastewater. The tube passes through a scraper system to remove the oil, which flows by gravity into a containment drum.

BENEFITS: Since it was installed, the Model 6V has been removing about 2,000 gallons of oil a week from the wastewater system, bringing many benefits to the company, including:

  • Cost: The wastewater requires less treatment before it enters the municipal system, reducing the amount of energy, labor and chemicals needed. Also, hauling costs for sludge removed from the water have fallen 30% because the wastewater treatment produces less sludge
  • Improved asset performance: The plant’s dissolved air floatation system is working more efficiently. “The filter press performance has increased, requiring less operator time cleaning the press,” said the company’s wastewater treatment facilitator. Additionally, loading on bioreactors where the water is treated has been greatly reduced, improving efficiency.
  • Decreased material waste: The manufacturer has found a market for the discarded oil in companies that make bio-fuels, thereby keeping about 8,000 gallons of discarded oil out of landfills each month. The underground tank to which the Model 6V discharges oil is pumped out once a week.

The snack-food company has been so pleased with the results of the Model 6V that it is considering adding two more machines to other parts of the plant.

“We would recommend that anyone experiencing oil issues consider an oil skimmer from Oil Skimmers Inc.,” the company’s wastewater treatment facilitator said. “For a relatively small investment, our operations have been improved dramatically.”

The Model 6V operates independently and, if needed, can run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Its internal components are made of high-strength steel and bronze for durability. External parts are made from abrasive-resistant ceramic. The machine has a lifespan of more than 30 years.