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Build-up monitoring

Increased process insights in groundwater extraction

A water treatment plant in Germany faced the problem of unexpected downtime due to clogged water wells. The customer now uses Promag W 400 with Heartbeat Technology build-up index to successfully monitor iron hydroxide build-up in the groundwater extraction process. With this new feature, build-up can be monitored reliably and continuously without interrupting the process, leading to an improved maintenance plan, optimized cleaning cycles, less downtime and higher efficiency in the process.

Picture of Promag W measuring tube with build-up ©Endress+Hauser

The results

  • After evaluating the build-up during the first year, a more accurate maintenance plan for the well was established.

  • The customer was also able to track and shorten the cleaning process.

  • Additionally, the customer set a self-defined switch point which initiates planning of process maintenance in case build-up increases faster than expected.

  • Moreover, continuous process insight reduced unexpected downtime, giving the customer a higher reliability and confidence to control the process.

The challenge

Build-up due to iron hydroxide deposition in groundwater is a common aging problem for operators. Iron(II) oxide dissolved in water oxidizes to iron(III) oxide which precipitates, e.g., in wells, pipes as well as in any flowmeter. If users don’t realize that build-up reaches critical levels, downtime due to interruptions of measurement signals or a clog in the process takes them by surprise. Moreover, the reduced pipe diameter causes pressure loss and thus energy loss leading to increased costs.

Our solution

To solve these issues, Promag W 400 with the build-up index monitoring feature of Heartbeat Technology was installed in the customer’s water extraction pipe at the well.
The feature analyzes the distribution of conductivity in the measuring tube to compute an indexed value proportional to the build-up thickness. This allows to monitor the increase or decrease of build-up during operation or cleaning process. The indexed value is displayed between 0% and 100% (no vs. max. detectable build-up).

Repeatable build-up index

During two 12-month-periods, the build-up of iron hydroxide in the customer’s application was continuously monitored. Every second month, the build-up thickness was measured and compared with the index value. After 12 months, a cleaning was conducted and during another 12-month-period, the build-up index values and build-up thickness were compared. The results of the first year could be confirmed, proving that for the same fluid the values are identical and therefore repeatable.

Further advantages for the customer

Besides other parameters like pump performance loss and lower flow rate, the operators can now monitor the build-up index to estimate the optimal cleaning time of the well to avoid unexpected downtime. Furthermore, the feature reduces the duration of the cleaning process since the operator knows exactly when the device is clean.

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