Water is an integral part of running machinery in many commercial and industrial applications and the quality of water supply may vary with consequential impacts on plant and machinery. Hard water is a term used to refer to water supplies with higher concentrations of minerals present.
These naturally occurring minerals lead to deposits of calcium carbonate, magnesium hydroxide and calcium sulphate building up on metallic surfaces, creating what is commonly known as limescale (calcium scale). Limescale is a hard, white chalky substance that can greatly impact performance and efficiency machinery or equipment particularly those which involve heating elements or heat transfer equipment.
As limescale builds up in machinery it interferes with performance in a gradual process which can lead to issues going unnoticed despite their chronic nature. Build-up on heat transfer surfaces acts as an insulator, reducing efficiency and the effectiveness of heat transfer. This increases energy demands and exerts a greater load on heating elements. In cooling systems increased thermal stress occurs due to ineffective cooling, again reducing efficiency but also increasing the risk of equipment failure.
Further complications with equipment and machinery occur with pipes and pumps which, even with a large diameter, are susceptible to a gradual build-up of limescale decreasing throughput and narrowing critical apertures. This may eventually lead to water blockage and risking further damage to plant and machinery.
Removing limescale can be costly and risky
Limescale removal has typically been performed by either chemical or mechanical processes. Mechanical removal is a time consuming, and therefore costly exercise which requires expertise to disassemble, clean and reassemble machinery resulting in long periods of downtime. Equipment disassembly often adds further costs with the need to replace gaskets and seals.
Chemical removal methods are comparatively faster and cheaper, however, it is important to consider the risks associated with chemicals used for the process. Two commonly used chemicals are hydrochloric and sulphamic acids both of which are hazardous materials that require special care in use and handling. Hydrochloric acid is classified as a Class 8 Dangerous Good and can cause serious burns to exposed skin and a single drop is enough to cause vision impairment or even blindness. The vapours from acids, particularly with long term exposure, can be seriously harmful to the respiratory system and ingestion can lead to death.
Acids are also corrosive and can cause damage to plant and machinery, particularly with prolonged use.
The use of acids for descaling also adds further complications when disposing of waste material. Acids are extremely toxic to aquatic organisms and waterways and should never be simply released into waterways. This means that the use of acids adds further time-consuming waste management processes adding further costs to their use.
A safer, cleaner and more cost-effective solution
The use of dangerous chemicals is usually unnecessary and safer, cleaner options are available. Natural Water Solutions’ CleanScale is free of both hydrochloric and sulphamic acids and offers a more cost-effective solution that is safe to use in recommended doses. This minimises the requirement for PPE and ventilation and other safety controls.
CleanScale provides a powerful de-scaling action without harsh acids so the corrosion formulation will not damage metals and other surface materials when used at the recommended dosage rates.
CleanScale is not harmful to the environment and, as a non-hazard material has no Hazchem rating and therefore has no special handling requirements for transport, storage, and disposal. Furthermore, the CleanScale waste product provides an ideal safer alternative for marine and other sensitive environments and can be disposed of down the drain, subject to local controls.