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Release: February 3, 2004

NGK launches OEM supply of ceramic membrane municipal
drinking water treatment system to water engineering

NGK INSULATORS, LTD. (NGK; President: Shun Matsushita; Head Office: Nagoya, Japan) announced that it had launched the original equipment manufacturing (OEM) supply of a ceramic membrane municipal drinking water treatment system to seven water engineering companies in February 2004. The OEM supply will increase the presence and the market share of the ceramic membrane for municipal drinking water treatment business. NGK aims for 10 billion yen in sales of water treatment facilities, including NGK own brand products, by 2007.

Target products are membrane modules incorporating ceramic membrane elements and some auxiliaries. NGK will OEM-supply those products to following seven water engineering companies. The companiesê products will be then distributed to waterworks-related businesses within Japan.

  • - Isomura Sangyo Kaisha Ltd. (Head Office: Minato-ku, Tokyo)
  • - Organo Corporation (Head Office: Koto-ku, Tokyo)
  • - JFE Engineering Corporation (Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)
  • - Suido Kiko Kaisha Ltd. (Head Office: Setagaya-ku, Tokyo)
  • - Hitachi Plant Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd. (Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)
  • - Maezawa Industries Inc. (Head Office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo)
  • - Risui Kagaku Co. (Head office: Osaka-City, Osaka)

Many of the approximately 15,000 municipal drinking water treatment plants in Japan were constructed from the 1950s to the 1970s. Reconstruction and renewal projects will be required for the aging facilities. Strides are being made in the development of new water treatment technologies, including membrane filtration, which will replace the conventional sand-filtration method.
In 1989, NGK started the development of water purification systems using ceramic membranes, focusing on safety and durability of the ceramics. The company participated in some milestone projects sponsored by Japan's Ministry of Health and Welfare (renamed the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare): The "MAC 21 Project", from 1991 to 1993, for research and development of municipal drinking water treatment systems employing membranes; the -ACT 21 Project", from 1997 to 2001, for research and development of efficient water purification technologies. Currently, NGK has joined the -e Á Water" (2002 Á 2004) for research and development of water purification technologies that have low environmental impact, to develop large CAPACITY membrane filtration technologies. In 1996, NGK developed a ceramic membrane municipal drinking water treatment system for the first time in Japan. It applied its original ceramic membranes (30 mm in diameter and 1,000 mm in length), which had been utilized for micro filtration in the medical and food industry. These systems have been sold to small-scale municipal drinking water treatment facilities.
In 2000, NGK developed a potable water treatment system employing large ceramic membranes (180 mm in diameter and 1,000 mm in length), to minimize the footprint and to maximize the cost cutting. The marketing efforts were made to stimulate orders from medium- and large-scale municipal drinking water treatment plants. In 2002, these efforts paid off with the successful delivery of Japanês largest ceramic membrane municipal drinking water treatment system to the Bureau of Waterworks, Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The Company also constructed a mass production plant for ceramic membranes to respond to increasing demand, and started production in October 2003. NGK is continuing to develop sophisticated new products and to expand its OEM supply as a water engineering company with proprietary ceramic membranes.

Outline of NGK Ceramic Membrane municipal drinking water treatment systems

A ceramic membrane is capable of supplying safe water because of its mechanical strength, which prevents damage to membranes while maintaining superior chemical and thermal resistance and low running costs. NGK employs monolithic and internal pressure-type ceramic membrane elements of 180 mm in diameter, 1,000 mm in length and 15 m2 of membrane surface area, for the potable water treatment system. Micro filtration through 0.1 µm size pores and highly-porous ceramic membranes completely removes impurities such as turbidness, E-coli bacteria and cryptosporidium (pathogenetic protozoa) contained in raw water.

Characteristics of Ceramic Membrane Elements
  1. Longer operation life due to neither chemical degradation nor deterioration against heat and pressure
  2. No elution of impurities
  3. No membrane breakage due to high mechanical strength
  4. Easy recovery of membrane performance through chemical cleaning because of superior chemical resistance
  5. Recyclable used membranes as raw ceramic material for other uses
Characteristics of Ceramic Membrane municipal drinking Water treatment System
  1. Stable treatment performance for fluctuating raw water turbidness
  2. Smaller footprint because of no sedimentation and no rapid filtration ponds
  3. Unattended operation due to a fully automated system, including backwash process
  4. Less-frequent replacement of membranes because of long membrane life
  5. High recovery rate due to dead-end filtration (more than 98%)
  6. Small running cost per filtration unit
  7. High flexibility for wide variety of raw water because of excellent impuritiesê removal performance in combination with additional processes, such as soluble iron, manganese, chroma and odor that cannot be removed only by membrane filtration

In September 2002, the ceramic membrane module received the certification as a potable water treatment system component by the Association of Membrane Separation Technology of Japan. In December 2003, it was also jointly awarded certification as a membrane potable water treatment system by the Japan Water Research Center, along with 7 OEM-supply partner companies.

Ceramic membrane water purification system

Ceramic membrane water purification system

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