GKN Reduces Emissions at Wisconsin, USA Plants

GKN Sinter Metals’ plants in Germantown and Manitowoc, Wisconsin currently use 24 TAT LBT-1 units to control sintering furnace emissions. The first unit was installed on the preheat section of a new 36-inch belt furnace in 2002. The company maintained a running policy to reduce VOC emissions such as hydrocarbons, wax and tar to keep current with state environmental regulations. “Our initial experience with the LBT-1 was very positive,” says Paul Hoffmann, Director of Health, Safety and Environment. “It generated an 85 percent reduction in VOC emissions and a reduction in particulates because of much better combustion.”  Success with the first unit prompted the company to gradually install LBT units on most of the furnaces in the Germantown plant over a period of subsequent 4 years.

Success with the LBT units in Germantown prompted the company to consider installing similar units in the Manitowoc plant as a way of eliminating stack burners. The burners consist of a gas fired ring in the stack and are expensive to operate and require frequent maintenance. By eliminating stack burners, the LBT unit allowed an environmentally cleaner and emission-free operation of the furnace at a lower operating cost.

While the LBT unit consumes about 20K BTUs of energy to pre-heat the air going into the LBT unit, it returns 100K to 120K BTUs by using the lubricant and hydrogen coming from the Pre-heat/high-heat sections of the furnace as a fuel source. State environmental engineers tested the stack emissions and accepted the lubricant as part of the furnace’s energy source. By preventing lubricant build-up in the stack, a potential fire hazard was eliminated. Because of the favorable results GKN added eight more units to its automated lines of sintering furnaces in the Manitowoc plant.

Each LBT unit was custom-designed for GKN furnaces and clamped onto the preheat section. The unit is a simple metal box with no moving parts, except for a simple control unit to maintain temperature and one flow meter to control air flow. “Once it is set up and balanced, the system runs hands off,” Hoffmann says. “You don’t need to adjust it.”

“I enjoy working with Harb Nayar,” Hoffmann says. “It has been a good relationship.”