KLa Systems, Inc.

Injecting Innovation Into The Food And Beverage Industry


Courtesy of KLa Systems, Inc.

Not all water treatment needs are the same. That’s why it’s imperative to work with those that understand the subtle differences that make each industry unique. For food and beverage companies, that means aligning with a company focused on oxygen transfer with a track record of innovation in jet aeration and mixing.

Water Online spoke with KLa Systems to discuss its success within the food and beverage industry, its elevated understanding of the water treatment needs there, and one product that has proven particularly successful.

What special wastewater treatment needs do companies in the food and beverage space have?
Food and beverage plants consume high volumes of water containing high concentrations of readily degradable organic materials, so their production facilities often implement a process train incorporating fine screening, flow/load equalization, dissolved air flotation, biological treatment (anaerobic and/or aerobic processes), biomass separation, and down-stream filtration.

How can a food and beverage company be confident they are working with an equipment provider that understands their needs?
An equipment supplier that provides real value to a food and beverage company will have a thorough understanding of a corporation’s environment stewardship, a good working knowledge of the production facility and plant operation, as well as experience with the treatment technologies that work well in that particular sector.

What experiences have you had providing wastewater treatment solutions in this industry?
Our experience is global and covers a wide array of production plants. We have helped solved a nitrogen discharge challenge at a cheese and whey production facility with our Slot Injector ™ aeration system installed in an SBR (sequencing batch reactor) plant. Our slot injector system was also chosen for an MBR (membrane bio-reactor) plant in a water reuse project at one of the oldest running breweries in the United Kingdom.

Many of our larger-scale projects have been in the poultry and protein processing industries where the big challenge is nitrogen removal. Our jet or injector aerators act as both the oxygen transfer device and as hydraulic mixers.

What is unique about these companies as clients?
Many of these customers have the goal to become more sustainable companies, so they balance that with the challenge of strict effluent discharge standards, the threat of water scarcity, the desire for a smaller plant footprint, and lowering their energy usage.

You’ve got a particularly interesting tool that you’ve mentioned, the slot injector aeration system. What conditions make the slot injector the right choice?
The slot injector is a low liquid flow, high pressure jet aerator which has considerable advantages over conventional jet aeration technology such as:

  • The reduction in liquid flow results in smaller and/or fewer pump stations, which provides considerable capital savings.
  • The higher pressure liquid through-put results in more energy-efficient pumps.
  • Unlike conventional jet aerators, the slot injector aeration system can run at both reduced air and liquid flow for maximum energy savings as process conditions change, without sacrificing tank mixing.
  • Our latest innovation is offering this system with removable inner and outer injector nozzles. This is an important feature to address fine screen failures, bypass, or other emergencies where our standard back-flush cleaning system is not the right tool to get the system back on track.

Do you think that enough food and beverage companies consider utilizing a slot injector system? If not, why not?
The short answer is no. As there are so many choices today for aeration and mixing technology, no one piece of equipment is the industry standard. This presents an opportunity for growth and it is our goal to increase our market share by educating potential customers as well as the community of engineers, turnkey contractors,and design/build teams that are active in the food and beverage industry.

Are there other treatment solution companies serving the food and beverage industry that should be considering slot injector technology but aren’t?
Yes, and that is our challenge. We are interested in helping solution-providers ensure their conventional or advanced bioprocesses have an oxygen transfer system that is economical, reliable, and energy efficient. At KLa Systems we like to say that we do not design the biological treatment process: instead we offer the oxygen transfer and mixing technology that makes the process better.

What do you see in the near future of wastewater treatment in the food and beverage industry?
We think the future is going to be all about eliminating the term “wastewater treatment” and replacing it with terms like water recovery, reclamation, or reuse, which emphasize water as a resource, something that has become self-evident. This should result in more MBR plants or the addition of downstream tertiary filtration systems to improve water quality for reuse.

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