The term “Dry Factory” to refer to a plant where the only potable water consumed is that used in the composition of products (ex: water as raw material) or for human consumption.
There are two major steps to becoming a dry factory. First, we have to find ways to reduce water consumption for existing uses (cleaning production tanks, cooling…). Second, we have to develop innovative systems to recycle and reuse the water used for manufacturing processes.
Making a Dry Settimo
Over the past few years, our experts at our Settimo Torinese plant have implemented concrete steps to decrease water onsite consumption.
First, the plant optimized the cleaning system for its manufacturing skids to reduce wash-water consumption in 2014.
Secondly, following these improvements to the manufacturing tank cleaning system, the plant now uses an ultrafiltration system where 100% of industrial water is filtered through membranes to remove major impurities. At this stage, 85% to 90% of all impurities are taken out.
The remaining part of the water is then recycled in a water treatment plant, where a reverse osmosis system was implemented in 2016 to filter and purify the water for reuse. Reverse osmosis is a very fine filtering system that only lets water molecules through meaning that, after this process, the water tests at 100% clean and can be reused for manufacturing processes.
Thanks to these initiatives and the efforts of its team, the Settimo Torinese plant is now a dry factory, having saved more than 38 million liters of water in the last year. The plant has been so successful that, as of July 2018, it has given back 3.5 million liters of water back into the urban heating system in a joint venture with Engie.
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What's a dry factory?
At L’Oréal, we use the term “Dry Factory” to refer to a plant where the only water consumption is that used in the composition of products (ex: water as raw material) or for human consumption (ex: water for coffee). This means that 100% of the water used for industrial processes, such as tank cleaning, is purified and reused for other processes on-site such as cooling or washing other types of equipment.