How to reduce contamination from iron fragments, sand, and mineral particles in recycled cooling water — Production downtime tears a hole in manufacturers pockets. Preventing interruptions is therefore a main topic on the agenda of each production manager. Read in this article how the right filtration solution could reduce contamination in recycled cooling water and protect from system shut-downs and production loss.
No matter where you look you will see that industries worldwide rely on iron and steel as an integral component within projects such as ship building, bridge construction and railway infrastructure. The global appetite for these materials is huge and for most manufacturers of iron and steel, production is a 24/7 process.
China is a major supplier to the global iron and steel market. The well-known manufacturer Xinxing is based in He Bei Province, employs over 23,000 people in order to produce over 13,000,000 tons of high quality iron and steel annually. It is therefore imperative that the manufacturer’s processes are optimized to reduce the amount of production downtime in order to satisfy the ever growing global demand.
Filtration in a Hostile Environment
The manufacturing environment typically associated with the production of iron and steel can be considered somewhat hostile in nature. High levels of water consumption can lead to a variety of contamination issues being present. Heat is a common factor in manufacturing facilities, with furnaces and associated equipment utilized throughout their processes. Cooling this manufacturing equipment with water is required to keep their systems running at optimum levels.
Once applied to cool the iron-making furnace equipment, the water is gravity fed upstream to a collection sink basin before being pumped onwards at a flow rate of 13,210 GPM (3,000 m3/h) to a heat exchange recycle system. However, the water that is collected in order to be reused has a very high level of contamination, with iron fragments, sand and mineral particles being present. The water needs to be filtered in order to remove stated contaminants before it can be pumped onwards.
Contamination Effects System Performance
The filtration system that was being utilized simply couldn’t cope with the process of removing those particles. Any contamination greater than 4 mm in size was causing problems within the heat exchanger, as it contains many sensitive components such as flow rate valves. When these valves were being fed with ‘dirty’ water they degraded rapidly in terms of performance and even failed.
Maintenance was an ongoing issue and bi-weekly cleaning was required in order to clean out the contamination. Typically, these maintenance periods lasted around one week and entailed a full system shutdown thus incurring significant production losses. The situation simply could not be sustained by Xinxing and the manufacturer realized that the current installation setup was not fit for purpose and had to be replaced.
The recycled water has a number of different uses around the factory, but it is also important to note that one of the uses is within a district heating system for local residents who have come to rely on the source for warmth in winters where temperatures can drop below -22 °F (-30 °C). What’s more, waste water drainage represented an environmental risk due to strict policies, was harmful to maintenance employees and increased the total cost of production.
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