Filtration is simply defined as the process of separating solid matter from a liquid, by causing the latter to pass through the pores of a filter. So, why should you filter your water? At first glance, this question seems pretty straightforward – we need filtered, clean water to survive. Two-thirds of the human body is made up of water and without it, we would not exist. Even more so, contaminated water carries disease and parasites that are known to cause severe health problems. But, have you thought about how filtered (and unfiltered) water impacts manufacturing operations?
Clean water is the life force in manufacturing. It cools, cleans, and sanitizes systems. Operators rely on it to run pure and steady without issues. The quality of the end-product relies on it. But, what happens when water becomes contaminated with dirt and other pollutants? Dirty, unfiltered water hinders the whole manufacturing operation. It increases friction losses, induces erosion corrosion, and wastes energy by requiring an increased demand for higher flow rates because of scaling (less capacity). The picture above is a great example of "scaling", and what cooling water pipes look like after less than one year’s operation without filtration (TEKLEEN Automatic Filters, Inc.).
So, what’s the most effective and economical way to solve equipment fouling and scaling problems caused by dirty water?
It's simple, water filtration! When dirt particles in water settle out, equipment (heat exchangers, molds, pipes, tubing, sensors, monitors, etc.) becomes fouled. Calcium and magnesium are responsible for cementing residue onto equipment; however, chemical analysis shows the majority of this residue is made up of airborne particles, rust, sand, biological organisms, and other contaminants, not calcium and magnesium, which make up less than 2%.
If that isn't enough to convince you about the importance of water filtration, here's one more reason why filtering water in manufacturing is recommended: "Scale formation and fouling reduces the heat transfer rate and increases the water pressure drop through the heat exchanger and pipes. In fact, one study suggests that .002” fouling will increase pumping needs by 20%" (TEKLEEN Automatic Filters, Inc., 2003).
Tell us what you think about water filtration in the comments below. Is it necessary? Have you had issues with equipment because of unfiltered water?
If you need help with a filtration application, ask us about it! We gladly provide technical assistance to businesses in Wisconsin and upper Michigan.
Stay tuned next week where we'll talk about the different filtration technologies available, so you have a better understanding of what will work best for your application.