Founded in Italy in 1949 as Krofta Engineering SpA, the company moved its headquarters to Lenox, MA, USA, two years later to coordinate its expansion activities worldwide. In 1970 the successful development of the company led to the opening of a dedicated Krofta engineering college, the Lenox Institute of Water Technology.
Two groundbreaking developments proved to be the foundation for further sustainable growth: In 1972, the company patented its dissolved air flotation (DAF) system Supercell, followed by the development of its Sandfloat machine in 1981, a unique combination of flotation and dual media filtration in a single unit. Both machines have been optimized over the years, and their successors are still sold today. The company moved its corporate manufacturing services to Ferlach, Austria, in the late 1980s. Following a restructuring, the later KWI International was acquired by Safbon Water Services in 2016.
Today, KWI specializes in equipment for the processing and treatment of industrial and municipal wastewater, and the treatment of fresh and salt water to produce drinking water. The company manufactures sophisticated, high-end flotation plants based on the DAF system.
Water is chemically pre-treated to separate suspended materials such as oils, fats, algae and sewage. This is then mixed with white water containing microbubbles, which stick to the particles and bring them to the surface, where they can be skimmed off, drained and disposed of.
Applications are diverse – from municipal wastewater treatment to the food and beverage industry. “Our plants are robust, highly efficient and can handle a huge throughput of water,” says Application Manager Peter Kerschberger. “Other companies also make DAF systems now, but we produce eleven different models which can be modified to provide the right solution for every situation. That gives us a tremendous advantage over the competition. We also have extensive experience – we have equipped 5,400 plants worldwide with more than 7,000 installations. Customers benefit from our global structure with its diverse capabilities, combined with the local, efficient service that we provide.”
It is hugely motivating to produce something that is so meaningful and sustainable. Peter KerschbergerApplication Manager
Those customers – planners, construction firms and plant specialists – are located worldwide, and new opportunities are constantly emerging. “There is a strong trend towards seawater desalination and drinking water treatment on the Arabian Peninsula, where there are no natural fresh water resources,” notes Mr. Kerschberger. “There is a lot of interest in this market, and it is developing very quickly. The capability to convert sea water into fresh water will become even more important in the future as the climate becomes drier.”
The climate is not the only factor impacting KWI’s market. Digitalization, in the form of Smart DAF, is also bringing new possibilities – online analytics, automatic tuning and a consequent reduction in operational costs. “We are taking steps towards Industry 4.0,” says the Application Manager.
Desalination and Smart DAF, as well as the development of new markets, materials and process solutions form the current focus for KWI. “We want to leverage sales opportunities within the Safbon Group and improve our customer service still further,” Mr. Kerschberger sums up. “It is hugely motivating to produce something that is so meaningful and sustainable.”