Scaletron - case study

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Courtesy of Fluid Dynamics International Ltd

The Customer

L A Maintenance is a leading building services maintenance contractor well known for its innovative approach. One of its functions is the maintenance of air-conditioning units for computer suites and other areas where controlled air quality is essential.

The problem

In order to ensure a controlled air quality the air conditioning units are fitted with humidification units. The humidification unit generates steam by boiling the water in a bottle and as a result the electrodes progressively scale up. Eventually the bottle is packed solid with hard scale and has to be replaced altogether.

L A maintenance reported that on average the humidifier bottle had to be replaced every four months. Hence in addition to the bottle replacement costs there was also an associated labour cost.

Water softeners are one of the possible options to control scaling in buildings. However, in many buildings there are space constraints which mean that there is either no room for a softener and/or the salt used to regenerate the resin.

Furthermore, a backwash line for the softener has to be installed. Even if these issues were not a problem the humidifier cannot work on softened water as it needs to pass a current through the water in order to function.

The Solution

It was decided to test the Scaletron on a computer suite air-conditioning unit, which ran 24hrs a day. A 15mm Scaletron unit was conveniently fitted, under the floor tiling, on the incoming water line to the humidifier.

The humidifier is fitted with a blow down tray and it was soon evident that additional solids were being collected in the tray. After twelve months the bottle was changed. This means that operating life after fitting Scaletron was trebled giving considerable cost savings

Furthermore, on examination, it was noticed that the scale build-up on the electrodes was not as severe as before and the scale was quite soft, nor was the bottle packed full of scale L A Maintenance has decided to take the solution one stage further and intends to establish procedure to wash the bottles with a mild inhibited de-scaling chemical, which would not effect the electrodes.

Pfi zer trials endorse Scaletron

The customer

Pfizer is a leading international pharmaceutical company. Pfizer believes in supporting the community through a wide range of initiatives. As part of this program Pfizer's engineering department at their Sandwhich site support the Astor School technical educational program. For the 1995 project they decided to investigate non chemical methods of scale prevention

Pfizer's Sandwich site is located in South Kent , England near the white cliffs of Dover and as such is situated in a very hard water area.

The project

The aim of the project was to investigate non chemical methods of scale prevention. An experiment was setup using two Vapac steam humidifier units, one as a control, one fitted with a non chemical scale inhibitor. The system was allowed to run, and the scale formed in the vapac bottle was measured by weighing the bottle. Two physical scale technologies were tested - Scaletron and an electromagnetic type.

The results and Recommendations

Referring to the graph the following measured results were determined.

The Scaletron produced a measurable reduction in the scale formation and the researchers recommended that Pfizer pursue further experimentation with this product.

The electromagnetic unit did not produce any measurable reduction in scaling.

Other applications

Pfizer has since 1993 used a 3' Colloid -A-Tron to successfully inhibit scaling on the heat exchanger of a multistage compressor which needed to be cleaned every four months despite the use of chemical scale inhibitor.

Fluid Dynamics

The Colloid-A-Tron is Fluid Dynamics patented industrial non-chemical scale inhibitor available in standard sizes up to 14' (350mm) diameter. The scaletron, available in sizes up to 2' (54mm), is designed for building services applications.

Fluid Dynamics has provided non chemical scale inhibitor technology for over twenty years and its products are widely used in over twenty six countries. Fluid Dynamics offers a full cooling tower protection service including scale inhibitor, biocide, particulate filtration and on site tower cleaning.

Flushing away scale Problems

BPL, part of the former national blood authority, suffered from serious scaling on ball valves in their urinal systems caused by hard water. This results either in urinals flushing continuously or not at all.

BPL decided to install a catalytic SCALTRON unit manufactured by Fluid Dynamics on an initial bank of thirty toilets to prevent the scale build up.

The results were excellent and within a period of three months the scale problems were literally 'flushed away'

Scaletron is a non-chemical method of water treatment that requires no maintenance - Simply installed, the special alloy core generates a small electric current as water passes over - this triggers a rise in pH causing calcium carbonate to precipitate as tiny crystals in the body of the water rather than on surfaces.

Scaletron's sister product for industrial water treatment - Colloid-A-Tron - is used by companies such as Nestle, ICI, Guinness, Carlsberg and many other in more than twenty five countries worldwide.

Scaletron is used by a number of County Councils and local government bodies throughout England as well as in Belgium , France, Holland, Ireland, Turkey, Argentina, Chile and the U.S.A.

Food industry

Making life easier in the fish factory

At a fish factory in Portugal it was necessary to soak cod for three days in order to clean it and not withstanding the fact that because of the heavy sediment contamination in the water the cod fish used to stay brown. In addition the fish washing machine needed to be descaled every 15 days because of scale build up on the element.

A Fluid Dynamics Fast Flow sediment filter and two 1' Scaletrons were fitted to the fish washing machine. The effects were dramatic, cutting the soaking time for cod from three days to one day and the cod now stay white suffering no discoloration. In addition the heating element now need descaling only once every two months, instead of every 15 days. Needless to say the client is very happy.

Garment industry

Scaletron maximizes performance on vacuum steam ironing systems

The client:

Maxim is a major Indian manufacturer of vacuum ironing tables, steam irons and steam generators

The Problem

An important feature of Maxim's sales team is that their steam ironing systems can double the output of finishing rooms by drawing out steam and moisture rapidly for the garments. The vacuum system also means that the operator can use heavy amounts of steam and yet end up with garments that are dry and cool.

The steam is generated in a self contained boiler which is very suseptable to scaling which leads to downtime of the unit whilst it is being descaled.

In order to maintain the Maxim performance their technical department evaluated the possible options and chose Scaletron as the method to control scale.

The solution

a 15mm Scaletron unit was fitted to each of the six ironing stations and according to Maxim 'the period between descaling the equipment has gone  down drastically and this has greatly increased productivity and efficiency '.

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