Chemical dispensing - coping with the pressure

12th of July 2018
Chemical dispensing - coping with the pressure

Good water pressure and a consistent water flow are fundamental to the efficient operation of any chemical dispenser. A potential problem with the water supply is one of the most common concerns voiced by laundry owners prior to the installation of a chemical dispensing system. Matt Hayas, global product manager for Hydro Systems, writes for ECJ.

Water pressure can be influenced by many factors. Low pressure can occur typically at different times of the day and similarly due to variable peaks reflecting seasonal demand. Low flow rates and low pressure have a range of contributory causes that can be a result of geography, the aftermath of periods of extreme weather conditions; as well as those arising from more strategic issues, such as the long-term consequences of insufficient water company investment in infrastructure and reservoirs. These broader factors impact on and amplify the more localised problems of laundries, where water pressure can vary from building to building - and even from one area to another.

Low or varying water pressure can affect the performance of the eductor or venturi in your dispensers with a significant impact on their accuracy. Without the means to regulate pressure you will have to deal with the issue of inconsistent dilution rates. Quite apart from the inconvenience of downtime, there is the additional impact on your bottom line from rewashing to be considered; also the extra costs incurred from overdosing of chemicals and the negative impact on your reputation.

To manage variable water pressure, you should look for a dispensing system with a component to regulate the pressure. This eliminates dilution variance by controlling the amount of water allowed into the unit. With a regulated water pressure system, you will get even greater accuracy over the long term because the exact same bar pressure is assured on every cycle. The simplest and most common way to address this is fitting a pressure regulator or integrated flow control washer.

There is also technology which can act as a restrictor of flow. This solution is available already built in to dispensing units and can maintain the water pressure at two bars - but with the clear proviso the pressure is above this in the first place.

You will know if you have low pressure from your everyday observations: a good indicator is a machine that will only fill at a certain speed. Attempting to install a chemical dispenser with an operational requirement of at least two bars of pressure will simply confirm this if you are in any doubt.

Going with the flow

If a laundry is situated on the top floor of a building this can also contribute to pressure problems. There’s a number of solutions. Installing a booster system with a tank is one highly effective remedy. Another key remedy relies on the skill of the installer and involves altering the timing of the machines. For example, if you have five industrial washing machines running at the same time, this simultaneous demand for water can result in a drop in pressure.

If your laundry is in a hard water area it will be self-evident. If you aren’t using a water softener any potential issues with the performance of your chemical dispensers will be overshadowed by the tell-tale scale deposits in your washing machines and in other equipment. Attempting to clean out these deposits without sufficient knowledge and expertise can be a risk.

Hard choices

Another challenge laundry facilities may face is the overuse of water. Without a proper chemical dispensing system in place, the impact to these other cost drivers can be significant. Most facilities have the potential to conserve and recycle more resources but don’t have the proper equipment installed to help manage and reduce use.

Chemical dispensing systems are able to help your commitment to the environment by reducing rewash rates; and by measuring water and chemical consumed in the dosing process. A green laundry programme is an attractive option. Green products and services have a very specific appeal to customers and send a strong sustainable message.

It is crucial you control the long-term costs of your laundry when margins are tight. All laundry environments; whether they are large or small, industrial or on-premise (OPL), can make gains in efficiency if water pressure and other common water issues are placed firmly under control in the chemical dispensing process. These efficiencies offer significant financial gains; while also delivering positive kudos to your reputation through quality assurance and a reduction in your impact on
the environment.


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