Case Study

Large Pork Plant Eliminates Scaling In Their Hot Water System

The Challenge

A Midwestern pork plant that processes 23,000 hogs per day was having difficulty maintaining the needed flows of 140 and 180 degree water for daily usage. To generate hot water, the plant pumped city water through the rendering heat exchanger for pre-heating and then to a storage tank for use. The pre-heated water was further heated indirectly with u-bend heat exchangers in the plant. The plant heat exchangers had hot water on the tube side and steam on the shell side. Over a period of a few months, the availability of properly heated water was becoming more and more challenging. Heat exchanger inspections found heavy scaling on the water side of the tubes and throughout the hot water piping system. Frequent acid cleanings were labor intensive, added to safety concerns at the plant, and did not solve the problem. The water treatment program was provided by a large international company, but numerous treatment attempts could not solve the problem.

The Solution

Since the u-bend heat exchangers were plugged at the bend and significant amounts of copper piping were so constricted that cleaning was not an option, a project was completed to replace exchangers and piping. This project resulted in lost production and over $200, 000 in capital costs. In addition to the project, a decision was made to change water treatment providers and to implement the treatment and service program provided by Fremont Water Solutions. As part of the overall program change, a new treatment product was utilized to prevent scaling in the hot water system. The unique treatment approach was complimented with a new feed and control system that consistently fed and maintained the correct treatment levels throughout the system. Inspection ports have been installed to easily verify results during regular service visits by Fremont personnel.

The Results

This improvement has allowed the plant to consistently operate without jeopardizing production time due to water quality. Acid cleanings are no longer necessary, resulting in reduced operating costs and a safer work environment. With over two years of successful treatment, the plant has stopped budgeting for hot water system repairs and dedicated the funds to improvement projects in other areas of the plant. This has all been accomplished without an increase in the actual water treatment program cost.

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