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Laborex innovates sustainably with environmentally friendly industrial cleaning system

Sustainable innovation not only has ecological benefits; it also offers many technological and economic advantages, as Laborex discovered, following the development of an environmentally friendly cleaning system for train bogies. Doubling productivity while also reducing water and energy consumption is a remarkable achievement, earning the Olen-based company a well-deserved Innovation Award in 2012.

The challenge | Reducing waste water and energy consumption

Laborex's previous system for cleaning train bogies required a number of steps and multiple workstations, resulting in high water consumption. How could the quantity of waste water be reduced along with energy consumption? Could the workflow be simplified? And how could the company drive down operating costs for its customers?

The solution | Ecological cleaning techniques

As with previous innovations, Laborex teamed up with Sirris to tackle this challenge. A thorough project preparation phase delivered a consistent innovation plan and an overall safety-integrated concept. The practical benefits of sustainable technological developments were quantified.

In the end, Laborex introduced the following environmentally friendly cleaning techniques: Exhaust the evaporated water, condense it and reuse it in a closed circuit Limit the temperature of the process water to 50 °C Reduce the water pressure to 20 bar Use ecological cleaning products with no chemicals.

The result | Productivity doubled, space halved

The new cleaning system for train bogies proved a smart investment in more than one way. A single installation has now replaced multiple cleaning steps. Water and energy consumption have been drastically reduced. There is less disposal of waste water, resulting in lower transport costs. Internal transportation is now done automatically instead of manually. Moreover, productivity has doubled, while surface-area use has halved. Nothing but benefits, in other words – prompting the NMBS/SNCB (Belgian Railways) among others to start using the machine.

Laborex won a 2012 Kempen Innovation Award for this development.