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Two VACUDEST vacuum distillation systems treat the wastewater from aluminium die-casting at SEW-EURODRIVE so well that it can be fed back into the production process.


Die-casting production at SEW USOCOME: "We are equipped for the future and now we are also completely wastewater-free".

Innovative and space-saving evaporator technologies from H2O GmbH can achieve a high treatment quality for wastewater contaminated with mould release agents and cooling lubricants.

The SEW-EURODRIVE Group produces innovative, efficient and reliable transmission systems for a wide range of industries around the world. At the Forbach site, the housings of the motors, gearboxes and geared motors are mainly produced using the aluminum die-casting process.


  • the company has 17 production sites, 85 Drive Technology Centres in 52 countries, approx. 19 000 employees.
  • Industries: Automotive, food and beverage, transport and logistics, building materials, mining, agricultural technology, wastewater technology and many others.
  • Type of wastewater: aluminum die-casting emulsions and cooling lubricant emulsions.
  • VACUDEST location: SEW USOCOME in Forbach / France.

What our customer says

The H2O GmbH team works very precisely and reliably. They accompanied us professionally all the way from execution to commissioning."



The initial situation

SEW USOCUME in Forbach / France, near the border to the German state of Saarland, manufactures the housings of electric motors and gearboxes via an aluminum die-casting process. As the incurring wastewater is contaminated with high concentrations of release agents, it cannot be discharged into the public sewer system. For this reason, the company used an old vacuum distillation plant to recycle some wastewater streams to regenerate release agent formulations with old process water.

In the context of a multi-stage expansion of the plant, the ageing unit should now be replaced by a modern system with enhanced technology and a larger capacity. The new treatment system should not only improve the quality of the process water for the die-castings, but also take care of the entire wastewater accumulating during the machining of the die-castings. This water contains mostly cooling lubricants and is so highly polluted that it could not be treated by the existing system at all. It had to be disposed of at very high costs.

The solution

H2O GmbH in Steinen, a leading manufacturer of vacuum distillation systems, took a closer look at SEW's requirements and developed a tailor-made solution. As a result, the two wastewater streams from the die-casting and the cooling lubricants can now be combined, processed together and reused in the production process. SEW USOCOME's production is now completely wastewater-free.

Why did SEW USOCOME decide in favor of this solution?

Vacuum evaporators operate on the simple principle of separating substances based on their different boiling points. Industrial wastewater is evaporated under vacuum in an energy-efficient process. All substances with boiling points higher than water remain in the sump of the machine as evaporation residue and in the case of SEW USOCOME contain release agents and heavy metal salts from the die-casting. The amount of residue varies between 0.5 and 5 percent of the original wastewater volume and can be disposed of at minimal cost. The generated steam is virtually free of impurities, making the distillate an ideal resource for the generation of new process water.

  1. High treatment quality
    The applied H2O GmbH technologies are unique on the market, enable a particularly high treatment quality and therefore wastewater-free production even in demanding processes. Wastewater from aluminium die-casting often has a pH value below 7 and can be corrosive. To prevent damage to the evaporator, the foundry wastewater must first be neutralized in conventional evaporators. The Destcontrol technology of H2O GmbH measures the pH value in the distillate and continuously doses lye directly into the evaporator to adjust the pH value. Therefore, a neutralization stage before the evaporator is no longer needed in many cases.
    Furthermore, in conventional evaporators the distillate is often so heavily contaminated with floating oils that it cannot be returned into the production process; it still has to be post-treated via adsorbers, activated carbon filters or membrane systems. To avoid this resource consuming post-treatment, H2O GmbH has developed the Clearcat condensation stage as an innovative novelty. The patented technology, which is integrated into the evaporator, ensures that the distillate appears clear and is almost oil-free. COD levels are reduced by up to 97 %, making the treated water well-suited for reuse.  the Clearcat module eliminates an additional treatment step in the overall process.
  2. Space-saving solution
    The H2O GmbH system requires no additional treatment steps due to the integrated technologies mentioned above. There is no need for continuous neutralization or post-treatment, e.g., with activated carbon. This saves space and reduces infrastructure costs significantly.
  3. Satisfaction with the service.
    SEW USOCOME appreciated the quality of H2O service even before buying the first VACUDEST. "When we were faced with far too long delivery times for spare parts from the current manufacturer of our old vacuum distillation plant two years ago, we turned to H2O," says Bernard Hen, maintenance manager at SEW USOCUME in Forbach. "... And they were there to help us. So, we already knew H2O's service very well. That is also one of the reasons why we chose this company." 

H2O GmbH was involved in the planning for the plant expansion from the very beginning. In cooperation with the architect, H2O was able to meet all of SEW USOCOME's conditions, including the implementation of a space-saving layout. The wastewater treatment is now located in a separate room. Due to the size of the production line, large storage volumes for wastewater, distillate and concentrate had to be implemented; in total, tanks with a volume of 190 cubic meters were installed.

Furthermore, H2O GmbH installed an additional control system. It integrates all the tanks visually and controls the entire system from a single point. In this way, the two new VACUDEST vacuum distillation units can also be switched on and off centrally. This gives the customer extra flexibility. "In this way, when there is little wastewater, I can simply switch off one of the two plants and determine which feed tank is going to be treated. This is particularly useful now in the transition phase, where we have not yet ramped up to full production load due to the multi-stage plant expansion, which will continue until 2032," explains Thomas Lagrange, project manager at SEW USOCUME.


SEW-EURODRIVE is highly enthusiastic about H2O's commitment and is looking forward to the expansion of production: "The H2O team works very precisely and reliably. They provided us with professional support from planning to commissioning. Everything that was promised was delivered. We are proud to be able to produce completely without wastewater now and also for the future," says Grégory Paralovo, maintenance preparer and energy officer. 


E-Service - Remote access to the VACUDEST.

SEW USOCOME benefits from the innovative E-Service of H2O GmbH. The remote access to the Vacutouch machine control system gives the H2O service specialists a complete overview of the situation on site, enabling them to help quickly and competently. More than 40 percent of all service technician visits, that previously had been necessary and were mostly unscheduled, have become obsolete. Downtimes are reduced, system availability is increased, and costs are reduced.


Additional equipment:

  • Upstream oil separator to separate coarse oil contaminants was implemented by Maurer on the recommendation of H2O. This saves space and reduces costs. 
  • Upstream belt filter was introduced based on H2O's experience in the die-casting industry.
  • Upstream filtration and oil sump to separate coarse impurities were integrated into the original architecture on the recommendation of H2O.
  • Piping was executed by H2O GmbH.
  • 190 cubic meter of tanks for wastewater, distillate and concentrate were installed by H2O GmbH.
  • Central control of the entire system was possible thanks to H2O GmbH.

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Well informed but still have questions?

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You want to be part of our team and create the wastewater-free future with us?

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Your contact is:

Bettina Böhringer
Human Resources

+49 7627 9239-201


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Your contact is:

Thomas Dotterweich
 Senior Sales Engineer

+49 7627 9239-306


You need consumables, spare parts or a maintenance date?

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Your contact is:

Carles Fité
 Technical Customer Support

+49 7627 9239-888

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