This thesis reports on the research undertaken to reduce the water usage within manufacturing through modelling and improving the water efficiencies at both process and production system levels. The primary objectives of this research are: to develop a framework which classifies the various water usages within a manufacturing facility, to define a number of efficiency ratios to highlight the water inefficient activities, and to develop a decision support tool to aid with the selection of the most effective solutions for reduction of water usage within manufacturing applications.
The research undertaken in the past three years is divided into four main parts. The first part reviews the relevant literature on water availability and distribution, the role of water in manufacturing, and relevant legislations and policies governing the water usage in manufacturing industries. The review also includes assessment of current water flow modelling and wastewater management tools and technologies. The second part introduces a Manufacturing Water Usage framework which classifies the water usage within a manufacturing facility as production-related and non-production-related water. The Production Water, which is the main focus of this research, is further classified as Process and System Water required to produce a product. Process Water is defined as the water used directly by the production processes, whereas System Water is defined as the water used to support the operation of a process and/or to maintain the production equipment. The framework also incorporates the definition of a number of Water Efficiency Ratios to determine the water critical processes. The third part of the thesis describes the implementation of this framework within a water simulation model as the main engine for a water reduction decision support tool. The final part of the thesis demonstrates the utilisation of this tool to support the decisions aimed at reducing water within a real food production line.
In summary, the research has concluded that the consideration of water reduction scenarios within the manufacturing industry requires a detailed understanding of where and how water is used at production process level, and utilisation of this knowledge to develop a series of proactive approaches based on product/process redesign and radical operational planning improvements.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering