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One simple trick to cut industrial water use in half

22nd February 2024

By: Yolande Botes

Creamer Media Assistant Chief Operating Officer and Personal Assistant to the Publishing Editor

     

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Monitor Engineering, the sole agent for US-based Spraying Systems Co, offer a free sustainability audit that helps plug the water-wasting practices that has made manufacturers and food producers the country's biggest consumers—and abusers—of limited fresh water resources.

In the food and beverage processing business, water is the secret ingredient.

Between cleaning, heat transfer, sanitation and processing applications, the food industry uses about one liter of water to produce just one calorie consumed of food.

Multiply that out, and your 500 calorie lunch used about 500 ℓ of water before it even reached the kitchen. 

When you break these consumption numbers down across the rest of the industrial sector, the manufacturing industry seems to be using a disproportionate share of South Africa’s fresh water supply. 

According to a whitepaper published by Spraying Systems Co., manufacturers in the US use about 45% of the country's fresh water, while only 18% goes for domestic use.

In manufacturing and processing industries where costs and conservation are paramount, the heavy usage recorded in these figures should strike as a little odd. 

For example, there is a mindset in the food processing industry that, when in doubt, use more water. If you are not sure it is clean, if you are not sure it is sanitised, just use more water, it's just water; it's cheap, right?

The cost of water itself is on the rise. But, of course, water is only one part of the overall cost of consumption. 

In addition to water itself, you have to consider chemical usage, and then the energy used to heat it, and then treatment and disposal .Combine all of those together, and you start talking about some serious costs.

At Monitor Engineering we are on the front line to help customers reign in those costs and, along the way, bring down the industry's share of fresh water use.

We do this through a service provided by Monitor that sends local sales engineers into plants around the country for a free top-to-bottom water usage assessment

During these assessments we uncover a wide range of issues and mindsets regarding water usage, working with sophisticated plants that provide years of water bills and usage records and others that cannot even locate their water meter. 

But what surprises us the most in this experience, is the simplest things plants have not done to shore up water flow. 

One of the things we always find in food plants are the number of open hoses .We will see a ball valve on the end of a hose functioning as a spray gun, and it's just wide open.

These open-hose systems can flow in excess of 75 ℓ/min out of every hose—often more than twice the amount that is actually needed. 

To illustrate the waste that produces, a study was published in the whitepaper about a turkey processing plant in the US that participated in Spraying Systems Co.'s water assessment programme. 

Before the assessment, the plant was using 15 open-end sanitation hoses spraying eight hours a day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year. 

That adds up to about 473-million liters of hot water consumed every year. 

To counter that, Spraying Systems Co. introduced their CU150 GunJet spray gun to the plant—an ergonomic, lightweight gun, that offers spray capacities that offer the feel operators like and expect. The fix for this is fairly simple—just attach a spray gun to the end of the hose to cut the flow.

With nothing more than a dozen or so spray guns, the plant brought its daily water consumption down by over 64 000 ℓ/d. 

Annualised, that means saving over 15-million liters of water, plus all of the heating, chemical and disposal costs it includes. 

Altogether, that translated to an annual savings of over $30 000—a salary's worth of saving for the cost of 15 spray guns. 

For more information on your no-charge sustainability audits , please contact Monitor Engineering, sole agents for Spraying Systems Co on 011 618 3860 or email

grant@monitorspray.co.za.

https://www.spray-nozzles.co.za/

 

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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