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Story 132 – 1973 – Innovation Sustainability

Unclouded neighbourhood

Elaborate dust extraction systems keep the air in Vöhringen clean

Since 1973, Wieland has invested large sums in innovative dust extraction systems for the Vöhringen foundry. Dense clouds of smoke in the foundry hall, but also above residential areas, are a thing of the past.

The year is 1970, the location the foundry at the Vöhringen plant: Dense dust fills the hall, the view reaches only a few meters. A shrill whistle sounds at the top of the casting platform of the then still active plant J38. Twelve metres further down, on the hall floor, the transporter now operates the crane and moves the ladle with the melt upwards. A little later, a sharp double whistle rings out: the signal for the transporter to move the ladle back down again. Since the employees often cannot see each other even at short distances because of the dust clouds, communication with acoustic signals has become commonplace.

Dust is also an issue outside the factory. Voehringen housewives observe very closely where the wind blows from and whether it blows the dark clouds from the factory premises into the front gardens of the housing estates. If this is the case, it is better not to hang laundry out to dry.

Today, fortunately, one can no longer imagine such conditions. Since 1973, Wieland has invested enormous sums in complex, continuously improved dust extraction systems. They collect the majority of the dust already where it is generated: directly at the furnaces. The rest is then collected under the roof of the hall. All foundry dust is then fed to special, visually striking filter houses. At a time when environmental and health protection were still in their infancy, Wieland set the right course and developed innovative solutions which are still proving their worth today. Wieland is prepared to accept considerable operating costs for this – after all, the energy costs for the extraction systems represent a significant proportion of the foundry's electricity costs.

An effort that is worthwhile: whistles for communication have not been needed in the Voehringen foundry for a long time. On the contrary: visitors are always amazed by the smoke-free air in the foundry hall. Hanging laundry out in Vöhringen has also long since ceased to depend on the direction of the wind.

The dust extraction systems of the Vöhringer foundry have been continuously improved since the 1980s. In the meantime they are among the most innovative and efficient of their kind.