news ford imageUK car market leader, Ford Motor Company Ltd, has successfully used AFM® active filtration media as an alternative to sand at its manufacturing estate in Dagenham, Essex. Results have proved that, as well as having an inherent environmental benefit, AFM® could offer long-term cost and performance benefits.

AFM® (Active Filtration Media) is the UK’s only commercially available activated glass filtration media, which has been developed by Dryden Aqua Ltd in conjunction with WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Programme), and the European Commission Life- Environment Fund. Its effectiveness for use as a filtration media in a variety of different applications has been tested and impressive results achieved, particularly as AFM® is not susceptible to biofouling.

Ford saw the advantages of using the product over sand at Dagenham’s effluent treatmentwater plant, which discharges 100,000 tonnes of water each year. Ford decided to run a trial using AFM®, which was part-funded through WRAP’s research and development project with Dryden Aqua. Previously, the sand used in the filtration system had degenerated quickly, becoming clogged with dirt, which is a common issue with sand. It also required replacing every couple of months, which proved to be very costly, from both a financial and a maintenance perspective.

At the same time, Ford was looking to find a product that would effectively filter the water, enabling it to be recycled back into the system. By doing so, this helps to reduce the costs of discharging water.
Ford ran comparative trials for three months using AFM® filtration media and traditional sand in a test bed at the plant. The filtration, processing capabilities and durability of each material were examined. Samples of the effluent water were tested each week for dirt and particle levels and analysed independently. Each month, more in-depth analysis was carried out on the samples including monitoring metal and bacterial levels.

news ford waterThe results of this analysis gave positive conclusions:

  • AFM® continued to be effective throughout the trial with no biofouling or fall in its filtration efficiency.
  • Less back flushing was required, reducing the need for chemicals and chlorine to avoid flocculation and risk of spreading Legionnaires Disease.

Ford has also found that less AFM® is required compared to sand. For example, for the processing of trade effluent water, 4.5 tonnes is required compared to 5 tonnes of sand in the intermediate fluid bed filter. Similarly, on the process water inlet, the three rapid gravity filters each required 20 tonnes of sand, using AFM® reduces this to 18 tonnes.

Other cost savings established by Ford include:

  • Reduced energy consumption because less processing is required.
  • Cost of discharging the water is reduced as it can be recycled back through the filtration system.
  • Longer life of the filter media.
  • Reduced maintenance requirement.

news ford machinerySince its trial at Dagenham, AFM® has also been used to filter process water at Ford’s Valencia Plant Paint Shop in a trial funded by Dryden Aqua. Here, water regulations are more stringent as it is a major orange producing area, which is particularly affected by ground water contaminants. The trials proved successful with a marked improvement in the cleanliness of the water.

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