Water treatment processes are used in a wide variety of fields, but it is perhaps most crucial in the manufacturing sector. Whether water is being treated to achieve a certain temperature, pH, chemical concentration, or any other reasons, modern manufacturing would be nearly impossible without water treatment. Here are four of the most crucial uses for treated water in manufacturing:
1. Keep Boilers Working
Boiler water isn’t at risk for microbe growth thanks to the high temperatures, but dissolved mineral solids in boiler water can build up and cause scaling, which makes boilers less efficient. Another potential problem is corrosion, which occurs when metal rusts in the boiler. To prevent these issues from compromising boiler systems, manufacturers treat boiler water to filter out excess mineral solids or potentially harmful gases. Oftentimes, a polisher, a type of ion exchange vessel, is used to help keep the water consistently pure.
Oftentimes, a polisher, a type of ion exchange vessel, is used to help keep the water consistently pure.
2. Optimize Process Water
‘Process water’ refers to the water used in manufacturing operations such as rinsing, coating and plating. Groundwater, as well as municipal water, can contain dissolved minerals that can cause problems when present in process water. Unwanted minerals can make processes less efficient and increase manufacturing costs, and in worst-case scenarios, can even compromise certain processes due to chemical interactions. To avoid this, manufacturers frequently use an incoming water treatment system to be sure process water is optimized for specific operations and free of unwanted minerals.
3. Cooling Water
Manufacturing processes require the use of energy, which usually means there will be excess heat that needs to be disposed of. To do this, manufacturers generally use cooled water to absorb excess heat. However, single-pass cooling water, which refers to water only used once for cooling before being disposed of, is almost never used because of legal regulations and increased water costs. Manufacturers will instead recycle cooling water by running it through cooling towers or cooling ponds, where the wastewater is treated to reduce the temperature before being re-used for cooling or other processes.
4. Re-use Wastewater
In many cases, wastewater from other processes can be filtered and treated for temperature, pH and levels of minerals and chemicals, depending on the process it was previously used for. Re-using wastewater decreases water consumption, which helps lower operating costs, and recycling wastewater is also more environmentally friendly since it aids overall water conservation.
These are just four important uses for water treatment in manufacturing. Water treatment provides manufacturers with a recyclable coolant as well as optimized boiler water and process water. Perhaps most important, treating water makes some wastewater re-usable, which reduces operating costs, but also helps conserve water.