Ron Russ, from Siemens Industry, explains how companies can take advantage of an integrated and safety driven technology approach to water control, usage and recycling in appropriate environments. Far from being a ‘one size fits all solution’ he outlines the options available for water recycling systems
Water usage accounts for a high proportion of manufacturing costs, as it forms an integral part of operations for many areas of industry. With operational efficiencies and sustainable best practice high on the agenda, safely and effectively optimising water and associated energy usage can go a long way to helping meet operational and corporate objectives.
Businesses can take advantage of an integrated and safety driven technology approach to water control, use and recycling in appropriate environments. They can benefit from enhanced cost savings, efficiencies and quality across their plants, and use industrial technology solutions to act as a corporate driver for sustainable production going forward.
As plants face continuing pressure to not only reduce costs but meet stringent environmental targets, water usage is a factor that cannot be overlooked. Operations vary depending on plant output, so there is no ‘one size fits all approach’ to water optimisation.
‘It is important to select a reuse system that is operationally efficient, both in terms of minimising energy use and engineering time. A water treatment system should not have a negative impact on overall plant operations’
Before considering water recycling options, plants should first look to reduce a site’s water usage. As we know, water is a precious and finite resource worldwide, so industry needs to do its bit to preserve water. Plants should start by simply looking at where wastage may be occurring by analysing overuse, e.g. staff wastage and checking for leakage, through damaged or ageing infrastructure. Every drop counts, so engaging the workforce in initiatives that reduce usage will prove valuable.
Plants that are in control of their usage can then consider options for water recycling. Whether this is a suitable option is very much dependent on the plant’s requirement for reuse of the water saved. The first stage of water recycling therefore is to look at what the end goal is and the site’s requirements for water. If there is a suitable use for recycled water, the next step is to assess which technologies will enable this usage and will ensure the plant is as operationally efficient as possible. For both stages of the process it is advisable to engage with a water treatment expert who can ensure solutions meet the plant’s exact needs.
It is important to select a reuse system that is operationally efficient, both in terms of minimising energy use and engineering time. A water treatment system should not have a negative impact on overall plant operations. In terms of energy use, there are efficient, intelligent systems available. For example, variable speed drives can be used in pump systems as they respond to water volumes so won’t run at high output unnecessarily. Smart technologies should also require minimum engineering time, as they are low maintenance and easy to operate on an ongoing basis. Today’s systems are also efficient in terms of cleaning cycles.
Reject recovery RO
An example of a business that has adopted water recycling for high purity use is a beverage manufacturer. Siemens has worked with them to help recover more than 90% of the plant’s water to use for making purified bottled water and a variety of soft drinks. The treatment system includes a water saving feature known as reject recovery reverse osmosis (RO) and also a backwash recovery system. The recovery system reduces water sent to the drain by around 50% which is key for the sector as such a high volume of water is used as part of the manufacturing process which then results in wastage.
In addition to high purity treatment, water can also be recycled for use in boilers, cooling towers and cleaning in place systems.
For ultimate efficiency, water treatment should be considered as a part of a site’s integrated water system. While many plants look at their requirements on a need by need basis, true operational and cost efficiencies are reaped from operating an integrated system that is carefully and intelligently designed.
Smarten up operations
In today’s challenging marketplace, optimising water usage is something plants cannot afford to overlook. Through simple measures that smarten up operations such as reducing leakage and cutting workplace wastage through to water recycling, there are significant gains to be made in terms of environmental performance and impacting positively on the bottom line. It is vital to choose a system that meets each plant’s specific operational needs and one that guarantees every drop of water is in compliance with legal, corporate and customer demands – for today and tomorrow.
Siemens Industry UK
T: 0845 770 5070