Creative Skimmer Belt Solution Endures Environment and Reduces Costs

WCI Steel, a steel manufacturer in Warren, Ohio, needed an uncommon solution to a fairly common problem – removing grease and other contaminants from their outdoor circulating water system. They turned to Abanaki Corporation, Oil Skimmer Division in Chagrin Falls, Ohio for the answer.

Each week, WCI Steel uses 200 gallons of grease on a roll out table to keep steel slabs from rolling off the caster. Much of this grease is washed into a 40,000 gallon outdoor interceptor pit by cooling water sprayed on the newly poured slabs. If grease isn’t removed before filtering, the system’s sand bed quickly becomes clogged.

Before turning to Abanaki, Bob Gregory, supervisor of caster water treatment for WCI Steel, tried several methods of grease removal with little luck. He was looking for a custom-designed skimmer belt that required minimal upkeep.

Abanaki provided Gregory with the Grease Grabber®, a state-of-the-art skimmer belt that makes use of the differences in specific gravity and surface tension between oil and water. This allows the skimmer belt to attract grease, oil and other hydrocarbon liquids as the belt passes through the surface of the water, even under the most turbulent conditions.

Abanaki customized several skimmer features to meet WCI Steel’s unique needs. The belt length was modified to ensure the belt surface stays in contact with the 14-ft of pit water, even at its lowest level. A heavy-duty drive was used to ensure the belt and drive assembly will elevate skimmed grease from virtually any tank depth. CRV wiper blades were beefed up to more effectively remove grease in cold temperatures. What’s more, Abanaki increased the pulley shoulders of the belt to keep it centered, even when subjected to twisting caused by turbulence. Finally, a number of features were designed-in to meet WCI Steel’s low maintenance request.

According to Gregory, “With the current design, we have a system that works and it survives in our outdoor environment…By protecting our sand bed filter, it pays for itself.”

Edited for length: Published in 33 Metal Producing.