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Ursula Lang |

Turning old into new - Modern waste oil reprocessing using process instrumentation and controllers from Siemens



Gällö/Sweden. The company RecondOil from Gällö in Sweden specializes in the development of solutions for the recycling of oils used for lubrication e.g. in engines and industrial plants. Siemens process instrumentation and controllers are used in the Recovery Centers, which are tailored to the customer's specific requirements and are used to reprocess the waste oil. Each Recovery Center can recycle around 20 million liters of oil per year and thus make it fit for use again – easing the strain on the environment, saving resources and reducing costs in the process.


The careful use of resources is hugely important for companies – not only for environmental reasons, but also for their bottom line. Efficient material input and smart recycling concepts for the raw materials used play a key role here. And it is this second aspect, recycling – specifically of industrial oils for engines and machinery – that the company RecondOil from Gällö, Sweden, has specialized in. The company develops tailor-made waste oil reprocessing plants for its customers. Siemens technology is used in both process instrumentation and control systems for these plants.


Clean separation

Slop oil, that is, oil that has become heavily contaminated after use in industrial plants or in metal working, is no longer suitable for further use and needs to be disposed of. If this is not done properly, an amount of just four liters of slop oil is enough to contaminate almost four million liters of fresh water. In a complex process, the plants from RecondOil, so-called Recovery Centers, are capable of separating impurities from oil through the addition of special chemicals. The treated product can then be reused or sold. To start treatment, the slop oil is first pumped into large tanks where the lighter oil is automatically separated from the heavier water. Siemens Sitrans LG250 guided wave radar level transmitters in the tank communicate the oil and water levels to the control center. Pointek CLS200 level switches automatically detect when the slop oil reaches the target height for the tank of 16 meters. In addition, the level transmitters in the Recovery Center also monitor heating up of the tank content and the addition of chemicals for separating impurities from the waste oil, thus monitoring the entire treatment process. At the same time, Sitrans LVL100 vibrating level switches measure the oil’s point level and issue an alarm when the process-critical limit is reached to prevent the pumps from running dry.


Optimum operating temperature

Just like all other oils, the slop oil gets viscous and sluggish at cool temperatures. By using 23 Sitrans TS500 temperature sensors with Sitrans TH100 transmitters, RecondOil ensures that the oil mix for the pumps is always at the optimum operating temperature. The pressure in the tank plays a similarly pivotal role for an efficient process flow. It is measured by Sitrans S220 compact pressure transmitters, on which the front membrane on the transmitter protects the electronics against dirt and other contamination from the slop oil. The controller at the heart of the entire plant is a Simatic S7-1500. The instrumentation uses a Simatic PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) in the TIA (Totally Integrated Automation) Portal. This allows the entire process to be monitored and controlled by just a few members of staff from the control center, thus keeping costs to a minimum. 


The future

The Recovery Center not only makes it possible to recover waste oil and make it fit for use or resale again, it also enables companies to make a valuable contribution to protecting the environment and using resources responsibly. This innovative technology has been met with great interest. “Together with the process instrumentation and the control systems from Siemens, we are changing the way in which companies deal with slop oil,” summarizes Fred Sundström, founder and CEO of RecondOil.



With its Recovery Center, Swedish company RecondOil has developed a system with which companies can clean and reprocess oil that has become unusable after intensive industrial use.

Each Recovery Center can recycle around 20 million liters of waste oil every year. During reprocessing, various chemicals are added to the process which separate the contaminants from the oil.

The process instrumentation of the Recovery Centers uses solutions from the Siemens Sitrans portfolio.

A Simatic S7-1500 controller is at the heart of the plant which is engineered using the TIA Portal.

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