When a customer experiences a problem, we can’t always be onsite to troubleshoot. There are times we need to rely on technology to be the eyes of what is happening at the plant. Modern facilities are increasingly relying on automation to help provide visibility and record data about what is happening with their systems. We have more access to data than ever before, but these advancements are only valuable if we know how to interpret the data to create solutions.
At Watertech, our team has over 300 years of combined experience to add context to the data, allowing us to draw conclusions about what is happening, so we can solve the problem. Below is a great example that shows how data, experience, and great communication between our rep and customer, assisted in getting a customer back online quickly.
Mini Case Study
A beverage customer recently shut down one of their production lines for scheduled maintenance. When the system was brought back online, they were experiencing tarnishing and corrosion on aluminum cans during the cooking process. Water and steam are used during this process to help stabilize the product in the cans for shelf stability. If this water is not at the correct pH after the cooking process it can cause tarnishing on the cans. Watertech provides a proprietary chemical to this customer to lower the pH of the water to help eliminate tarnishing. We needed to find out why things were not working as anticipated and the product was not delivering the expected results.
After receiving a call from our customer, we were able to login using Watertech’s WT-Link to look at our controller remotely. It showed everything was working as it should. We had the customer double-check the chemical pump to see if it might have lost prime or have a clogged injection nozzle. They discovered it was not pumping. So even though the controller said it was pumping, it wasn’t. The customer also confirmed that if when the pump was turned on manually it worked, so it had not lost prime. The next step was to see if the connection between the pump and controller was working. In this application, for the controller to send signals to the pump, the pump must be in external mode. We discovered the pump was in waiting mode. This was likely inadvertently switched during the shutdown. We were able to easily guide the customer to switch the setting back to external mode. The system returned to normal operation, the pH level dropped back to a normal range, and the tarnishing/corrosion was no longer a problem.
In this case, one small adjustment to the settings on the pump made all the difference to keep production up and running.
The chart above shows pH levels in-range prior to 12/25. The facility was shut down 12/25-26. When they came back online on the 12/27 the pH was tracking very high. After discovering the tarnishing on the 12/30 they contacted us, and normal levels were restored. Because the feeding system is based on gallons used instead of a controlled pH, we see variability in the pH post Canguard injection due to the variability of the incoming water.
Quick ResolutionEven though our rep was traveling at the time of this problem, we were still able to be there for our customer and fix the problem remotely. We always say “customer service” is our number one priority. Moments like this allow us to put our words into action and let our customers know we are there for them to resolve any issues quickly.
Minimal Down TimeThanks to the ability to leverage our online tools to provide a framework for what was happening, and great communication with our customer, we were able to resolve the problem remotely. The customer was able to continue running production with minimal interruption.
Data and Experience for the Win
Technology is important to create visibility and track the history of what is happening with a system. However, there is no match for human experience and the ability to understand the data and use it to arrive at the solution. Anybody can sell a tool, learning how to use it is the key!
If you want to know more about leveraging automation to keep your plant running smoothly, reach out to us for a free site survey and one of our technical engineers will be in touch.
Brittney Ballenger | Territory Manager
Brittney provides industrial water treatment solutions for boiler, cooling, and wastewater applications. She leads educational training events and seminars to promote better water management and improve safety. She holds a BS in Chemical Engineering & Paper Science and Engineering from UW-Stevens Point.