With the broadest scope of operation, wastewater is present in every industry and pH is a crucial factor in the wastewater treatment processes. Image credit: Endress+Hauser Digital Labs

Water – the lifeblood of all industrial processes

Water utilities in industrial production are rarely the focus of much attention, but without them nothing would be possible. Water utilities in industrial production are rarely the focus of much attention, but without them nothing would be possible. Compiled by Tarren Bolton

We know that factors like climate change, increasing population and industrialisation intensifies water scarcity. Solutions such as water abstraction from groundwater and rivers must be controlled to avoid irreversible damage to the local water balance. Various challenges introduced by contamination result in treatment for safe drinking water to be more and more difficult, and this, in turn, results in more complex processes that need careful monitoring to ensure water safety. We know that factors like climate change, increasing population and industrialisation intensifies water scarcity. Solutions such as water abstraction from groundwater and rivers must be controlled to avoid irreversible damage to the local water balance. Various challenges introduced by contamination result in treatment for safe drinking water to be more and more difficult, and this, in turn, results in more complex processes that need careful monitoring to ensure water safety.Industry has a responsibility to fulfil environmental legislations, while at the same time managing their risk in the water treatment process. While risk management systems and water safety plans to reduce the risk of contamination of potable water during abstraction, treatment and distribution are in place in most industries, safety plans stipulate that documentation management, instrument verification and maintenance strategies support the advanced quality management system. This demands a high level of automation and online instrumentation. Extracting key metering and monitoring information can help reduce operating costs, maximise feedwater quality and reduce the amount of preparation required. Water analysis panels, for example, monitor a wide range of parameters in all industries and their utilities.

Endress+Hauser provides solutions for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Image credit:  Endress+Hauser

Endress+Hauser provides solutions for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Image credit:  Endress+Hauser

What is meant by ‘utilities’? 

Hennie Pretorius, Endress+Hauser Industry manager for Water and Wastewater Industries. Image credit: Endress+Hauser Digital LabsOne definition is that utilities form part of the production facilities that is a service to production but is not part of the core manufacturing process. Utilities comprises of water, air, gas, electricity and steam. Water is one of the most important raw materials for industrial production. Water is needed in the production of almost every single product we use on a daily basis. Industrial plants producing anything from chemical, oil and gas to food and beverages all need vast amounts of water. Water in utilities involves the various auxiliary processes that go into the provisioning of process water, boiler feedwater, steam, cooling water or wastewater. Of the mentioned processes, steam generation has the highest costs associated with it, and therefore has the most potential for cost savings.As a rule, water needs to be treated before it is introduced into a process to ensure water quality and compliance to the specifications of the industrial process. There is a strong demand for solutions to recycle and reuse wastewater, for financial, legal requirements and regulations. By reusing water in industrial processes businesses can decrease the amount of wastewater they produce and reduce the negative impact on the environment. Water recycling can also lower costs in regions where the price of potable water is high or where water supply is unreliable. Recycling is one of the key ways to reduce water consumption since water can be reused several times over. Inadequate water treatment and inferior water quality can critically impact technical facilities, equipment and products. Analytical measuring technology is therefore very important for utilities. While utilities may be ‘auxiliary processes’ they are in no way insignificant. Depending on the industry, utility applications account for a large portion of the liquid analysis instruments used in industrial water plants. “As Endress+Hauser, we are a relied-upon supplier of process instrumentation in water and wastewater treatment plants in all industries. We have achieved specific successes with analytical instrumentation during previous years in desalination plants, wastewater treatment in food and beverage, mining and petrochemical industries,” says Hennie Pretorius, Industry manager for Water and Wastewater Industries. Pretorius explains that examples from the food industry can be applied just as easily to other industries such as chemical and mining. All these industries use vast quantities of water, which is required to be treated before and after it enters the core processes.

One of Endress+Hauser’s main goals within the water and wastewater industry is to offer clients reliable and cost-effective solutions. Image credit: Water & Wastes Digest

One of Endress+Hauser’s main goals within the water and wastewater industry is to offer clients reliable and
cost-effective solutions. Image credit: Water & Wastes Digest

Utilities in the food industry

Pretorius says that the food industry requires high-quality water that often exceeds drinking (potable) water quality standards. Whether it’s used as product water, cooling water or for cleaning and hygiene – the importance of pure water in food production cannot be overemphasised.The water quality often directly affects the quality of the product. In enzymatic processes, the pH value is a critical factor. For example, if the pH value of brewing water is too high, this adversely affects the taste and colour of the beer. Minerals and residues dissolved in water impact processing, and cause deposit formation and corrosion on wetted parts. Corroded and lime-scaled piping systems encourage the build-up of dirt and microorganisms and therefore the formation of biofilm. Water that is properly treated, not only ensures high product quality, but also guarantees disturbance free operation and increases system reliability. Depending on the quality of the raw water and the requirements, water treatment is often a multi-step process. A variety of filters, ion exchangers, reverse osmosis and other treatment techniques are used to remove impurities and create purified water.Pretorius says that analytical measuring devices offered by Endress+Hauser are critical in the food industry include devices such as Condumax CLS16D to monitor conductivity as a key parameter for assessing water purity; Ceragel CPS71D to regulate the pH value setting; and Turbimax CUS52D to check the efficiency of the filtration process.

Industrial wastewater treatment 

Due to the volumes of wastewater produced and the variations in the load, particularly the pH value, wastewater needs to be treated both in the case of direct discharge and indirect discharge. Direct dischargers usually have a biological treatment stage in addition to facilities for neutralisation, oil and grease removal (for example, dissolved air flotation plants) and mixing and equalisation basins. In the case of indirect discharge, the wastewater treatment technology needed depends on regulatory requirements (for example, municipal codes and by-laws). As public wastewater treatment plants are often not designed for high loads, wastewater – such as wastewater produced in dairy processing – must be pre-treated beforehand through an in-house wastewater treatment facility before it is discharged. Pretorius stipulates that analytical measuring processes and devices used here include pH measurement during neutralisation (with CPS11D); oxygen measurement during sludge activation (with COS61D or COS51D); COD measurement in the outlet of indirect dischargers (with CA80COD or CAS51D); or TOC measurement (with CA72TOC).With industry legal demands, shrinking budgets and increasing process complexity, the challenges faced by the water and wastewater industry have never been greater. Endress+Hauser has developed their solutions and service offering with specific industry requirements in mind. Whether you need to update your instrumentation to comply with legal requirements, improve efficiency or streamline your planning processes – Endress+Hauser, as a trusted partner, has the experience and expertise to get the job done. 


 

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