A responsible initiative in support of the environment protection and conservation of water has been started by Ford. It has made it a point that everyday should be a Water Day for the Ford Motor Company, unlike celebrating just one day on March 22 every year as WWD (World Water Day). In a recent announcement the company has set a target to reduce the use of water by 30 per cent worldwide by 2015 as compared to its use of water in 2009. Vice President, Manufacturing, Asia Pacific and Africa, Gary Johnson said, “The more we progress in manufacturing vehicles in Asia Pacific and African sub-continents, and we are also concentrating on making sure that we use the water more efficiently as this is a very precious and sensitive natural resource for human kind.” For now the company’s Asia Pacific and African plants have already dropped their usage of water per vehicle by 25 per cent from year 2000 to year 2011.
The company has gone high-tech along with the basic actions of stopping water leakages. Last December it replaced many evaporative cooling towers at its Geelong engine plant in Australia with highly efficient new cooler, which uses less water by as much as 80 per cent compared to the previous cooling towers. These next generation dry coolers utilize air for cooling in winter and in summer when it’s intolerably hot it uses water.
The biggest challenge Ford had in India was to respond to its growing automobile market with a reduced amount of water usage in its production process at its Chennai manufacturing plant. The government authorities in Indiahave asked the automobile manufacturers to achieve a total of zero liquid discharge in their operations as a possibility to encourage them to make use of the used water once again to reduce the overall water usage. The assembly plant of Ford, situated at Maraimalai Nagar 45 km south-west of Chennai, is already on the route to achieve that target this year itself through an innovative smart process that will treat the plant’s waste water and after recycling will put it back for good use into the production process. The plant is usingvarious new water-conservation technologies with the aim to reach the zero-discharge goal through experience. The Chennai plant is practicing an integrated way of chemical, biological and physical treatment procedure to achieve this target. The streams of waste water from the engine and assembly plants are pre-treated on an individual basis before it is mixed up with the cafeteria and sanitary waste waters. After it is treated with the biological procedure, it is sent through activated carbon and media filtration before it is ultrafiltered. A triple-stage ROS (reverse osmosis system) generates a small amount of concentrated brine and a huge amount of salt-free water. The brine water is condensed and used again in the plant after being boiled,while it leaves behind a solid rock of salt. The Chennai plant is using as less as 1.16 cubic meters of water per vehicle manufactured after these simple techniques have been put into use.
Apart from Australia and India, Asia Pacific and African plants are also cutting on their water usage. The Chongqing Assembly Plant 1 and 2 are using the very same kind of technology, which is in practice at the Chennai plant. The first plant is not using the same 110,000 cubic meter of fresh water since year 2011 where up to a massive 35 cubic meter of water every hour could possibly be used again in the paint-shop of the manufacturing unit. Now the second plant of Chongqing assembly unit is following the first plant and it has made a possibility of the reusing of 60 cubic meter of water every hour in its paint-shop. By the end of this year, a high-tech and high-end technological waste-water treatment plant will start operating at their Siverstone Assembly plant in the Southern African sub-continent. After this the plant can use the same volume of water twice, which it used previously.