Two methods of water treatment increase productivity and reduce operating costs.

Producers who don't treat batch water often are not aware of problems due to scale buildup in boilers until it's too late. Then they recognize obvious symptoms, such as slow water flow rates, lengthened heating periods, or excessive boiler pressure buildup. Economically preventing scale by preventing these warning signs results in significantly lower operating costs.

Scale with a thickness of a few hundredths of an inch can greatly reduce heat transfer rates and increase energy consumption and cost. Producers also can expect increased operating costs when they use untreated mineral-rich water. Excessive scale buildup slows flow and can eventually block pipes, even presenting the danger of explosion from too much pressure. Also, pit-forming pockets of carbon dioxide often exist, further increasing corrosion. And acid washing of copper coils is not only expensive; it also leads to rapid deterioration and reduced service life of heating equipment.

To control their maintenance costs, several producers have employed two innovative water treatment processes that not only prevent scaling but also reduce existing scaling. Both systems inject small doses of proprietary chemical mixtures that alter the mineralogical structures of the calcium carbonate and other salt crystals, eliminating their interlocking abilities. Thus, as water temperature increases and minerals precipitate, the altered crystals continue flowing through the heating tubes rather than adhering to the pipeline's interior.

Three years ago, before Pre Mix Concrete of Rochester, Mich., began treating its batch water with a new chemical dispensing unit, repairs were frequent, often occurring during the height of production.

Bob Manookin's Geneva Rock Products plants chose a liquid chemical injection treatment system that used a chemical mixture developed by area chemists familiar with the local groundwater's mineral problems. The results of concrete tests conducted by an independent concrete-testing lab in Salt Lake City indicated the chemicals had no effect on concrete strength.

The Hydroblend treatment system uses cartridges that contain a chemical that distorts the almost-perfect cube shape of each calcium carbonate molecule, keeping scale particles separate instead of allowing them to combine. The compound in the cartridges contains another chemical that forms a protective coating on metal surfaces. The chemical also combines with calcium, keeping it more soluble. With the treatment housings in place, scale buildup has been significantly reduced.

Units are easy to install, require no wiring or special permits for use or storage.

The article defines scale and graphs fuel use as related to scale thickness.