Concerns about heating used solvents in distillers on site have made some product manufacturers and printers reluctant to install solvent recovery systems. The heating tanks necessary for industrial solvent recycling systems were viewed as best kept in distant recycling plant locations. Advances in distillation technology, however, have made solvent recycling a much safer activity that benefits a company's bottom line.
New solvent recycling systems integrate with an industrial plant's existing machines and can be designed to load and unload solvents automatically. Companies can specify and purchase solvent recovery systems according to their size and automation requirements. Different distiller models are available for many industrial applications.
How Does Solvent Distillation Work?
The general process of distillation occurs when a liquid is heated to a specific temperature so that one substance among many in a solution vaporizes. Different liquids boil and vaporize at different temperatures. Because of this, distillers can target specific substances according to temperature settings and leave unwanted substances behind.
Once the separated substance rises as vapor, the distillation equipment condenses the single substance back into a liquid state. Impurities are left behind. Distillation techniques are employed to separate crude oil, pull certain gases from the atmosphere, and for recycling solvents.
How Is Industrial Waste Distillation Safer Today?
Modern distillation tanks have mitigated most of the risks associated with heating flammable solvents inside a busy production facility. Precise temperature control is vital for safe solvent distillation systems. To achieve this, solvent distiller manufacturers use solid-state devices to measure heat instead of thermometers. Float switches that monitor tank contents have been upgraded to load cells.
These technical advances have reduced the amount of heat energy needed to heat waste solvent. This means less energy use and its associated cost for a production facility and less chance of an industrial accident due to excess heat. Safe distillers also achieve a very efficient output of recovered solvents compared to previous generations of machines.
Cost Of Not Recycling Waste Solvents
Inflation is an issue that manufacturers must deal with just like everyday people. The costs of necessary inputs, including solvents, go up over time. A facility might easily pay $400 for a 55-gallon drum of solvent. Waste disposal services per drum of soiled solvents will cost about 25% to 50% of the original price of the material.
This is a big premium that companies pay to have all solvent recovery activities outsourced. In the absence of internal solvent recovery systems, a company using 500 gallons of solvent a week could pay as much as $9,000 per month to a waste processor that transports, recycles, and returns usable solvent to the plant.
Return On Investment For Solvent Recovery Systems
Due to the high cost of having a third party take care of all solvent recycling, the potential is high for a company to recoup an investment in solvent distillation systems quickly. The $9,000-per-month example across 12 months means that the facility spends $108,000 on solvent recycling in a year.
Under this scenario, the purchase of a $100,000 distillation system with automated features could replace money spent on recycling while also solving problems related to storing old solvent on-site before it gets picked up. Eventually, some money would be spent to dispose of solvent waste that can no longer be recycled, but the expense is up to 90% lower after the addition of in-house solvent recycling.
What Happens When Solvent Waste Can No Longer Be Recycled?
Disposal costs for liquid waste containing impurities can be kept to a minimum due to the value of that waste. The after-market for distilled solvent wastes helps to subsidize its disposal because it can be sold as fuel for incinerators and masonry kilns.
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