Gone are the days of the 8-hour boiler room shift. Every industry — from manufacturing to healthcare — juggles pressures to produce more products and services with less resources. As such, boiler system management has evolved from the sole focus of one to just another item on the to-do list of many.
Unfortunately, the immediate savings brought by labor reduction means higher utility and maintenance costs in the long-run because the system is not cared for in an optimal manner. Some Watertech of America customers have experienced the following issues as a direct result:
- Increased water and energy use from uncontrolled blowdowns
- Frequent boiler maintenance required from drastic swings of conductivity, intense blowdowns, and water refill
- Quality assurance audits to determine if boiler downtime or carryover have impacted production or nearby equipment
- Plumbing repairs if carryover causes corrosion, sludge or deposits in the building piping system
- Excess chemical use from scheduling doses on a calendar instead of responding to the needs of the system
“The positive spin is that this trend has opened the door to a new, innovative era in the water treatment industry,” says Jeff Bodendorfer, territory manager for Watertech. “Many automated systems are now available to commercial and industrial businesses that simulate the critical oversight that a full-time employee once provided, while offering prevention and efficiency never possible before monitoring technology existed.”
Watertech recently helped a food processing client with three steam boilers save $7,000 in one year on chemical costs alone. Additional savings will be identified when water and energy conservation, decreased downtime and increased worker productivity also are factored in.
Why would Watertech consider this a success?
“Although we sell chemicals and water treatment solutions, our business is to keep our clients’ businesses running,” Jeff says. “The new system is so efficient and reliable that when the processor opened a second facility, they installed the same setup.”
Plant workers manually monitored the boilers in between their other tasks, creating big swings comparable to a rollercoaster: conductivity would steadily increase and then energy-intense blowdowns were needed when values got too high.“This resulted in a wasteful use of water, energy and water treatment chemicals,” Jeff says.
Watertech eControllers were installed to monitor all of the critical real-time conditions of the boilers. Water system operators and Watertech service providers are instantly alerted to conditions that may require immediate attention and a corrective action.
The web-based tool helps the processing plant:
- Collect and store historical data, inspection reports, tests and product information
- Remotely monitor conductivity, make-up water and blowdown water usage
- Respond in a more consistent fashion with automated blowdown control, chemical feed pumps and flow meters
- Generate reports that can easily be compared with operator test
- Send alarm messages via email or text
“The eControllers have taken on 95 percent of the work, leaving only 5 percent to the plant staff, which mainly entails testing and verifying the automation is doing what it is supposed to do,” Jeff says. “And since our team is monitoring as well, it is like we are in the plant 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”