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Reduce Operator Time Spent on Wastewater Operations

Posted August 27, 2020 Categories: Automation & Controls

How COVID-19 is forcing change in unexpected areas of manufacturing operations

For manufacturers, change is the new normal. COVID-19 is forcing change in unexpected areas of manufacturing operations. We may have thought we were operating in a competitive, resource-constrained world before, but COVID-19 has shown us that we can do more with less. There is an expectation for everyone to adjust to changes in manufacturing—your technical staff in particular. Not only do they work on the production line, they also operate and maintain support systems like wastewater treatment systems.

Fewer people at work can mean less oversight on wastewater operations, which can lead to inadequate treatment, high fees for non-compliance, and even worst—a plant shutdown.

While municipal wastewater treatment works operate within predictable water quality parameters, industrial wastewater quality varies widely between industries. That means industrial wastewater treatment systems are often designed to treat specific wastewaters. In addition to that, each facility’s needs may differ from others within the same industry. Optimizing these systems used to mean having highly-trained operators manually operate them for hours, leaving the production line. By leveraging automation, you can optimize wastewater treatment, reduce operator time, and control chemical costs.

Leveraging automation to keep operators on the production line

Leveraging technology in wastewater treatment operations means being able to automate many aspects of the process combined with the security of text and email alerts warning of a potential problem in real-time so your operator can do something about it.

Automating with sensors and controllers

Sensors can now monitor wastewater streams and activate controllers to adjust dosing systems and treatment times based on real-time data. This can lead to significantly reduced chemical costs and time spent by operators. Automated wastewater sampling reduces or eliminates the need for time-consuming human sampling. With DMP’s expertise, automating wastewater processes helped a pork producer reduce costs and maintain compliance with discharge standards.

The site’s highly variable waste streams required constant jar testing and dosing adjustments to keep the customer in compliance and keep chemical costs down. If the fixed chemical rate was set to the worst-case influent scenario, costs drastically increased. If the fixed chemical rate was set too low, violations and penalties occurred.

This inefficient dosing led to unnecessary chemical costs and excessive equipment wear. Instead, by leveraging automation, sensors now monitor coagulant dosing and optimize its usage, which improves contaminant removal and reduce chemical costs.

By leveraging automation, this DMP client reduced wastewater treatment labor costs by 60% and reduced their chemical spend by 40%. Violations of discharge standards were eliminated.

Real-time back up with alerts via text message and email

Of course, automation does not necessarily lead to trouble-free operations. In general, industrial wastewater quality changes due to daily variations in production activities and unexpected events. In a manually managed treatment system, these changes can lead to problems if an operator is not on hand to deal with changes. In an automated system, sensors provide real-time backup, sending out alerts to operators via text message or email so they can take action before the issue becomes a significant incident.

For example, imagine the case where production issues result in an abnormal slug of wastewater being sent to the POTW. The onsite wastewater system can be automated to recognize that this is out-of-spec influent and send an alert to an operator somewhere else in the plant to get involved.

Depending on the issue and/or its severity, rules can be set up to notify different groups like:

  • a manager, operator, or production supervisor;
  • service technicians in DMP’s break/fix support group; and/or
  • a dedicated DMP account manager, who can help troubleshoot issues with your facility.

Best-in-class Wastewater Control Panels

Leveraging automation provides many benefits to industrial wastewater treatment. The capital costs of setting up the sensors and controllers are quickly offset by reduced chemical and labor costs. Plant downtimes are minimized, and incidents of non-compliance virtually eliminated.

DMP’s team of experienced electricians and programmers build best-in-class control panels right in their own manufacturing facility right outside of Charlotte, NC. They work in close collaboration with an expert design team to ensure the system runs as designed upon installation. By building automation platforms in house, DMP can provide unparalleled remote support to your operators by the people who designed and programmed it. Some features of DMP’s automation platforms include:

  • the ability to capture data for better decision-making
  • remote monitoring and support
  • real-time alerts by text or email

If a new system or substantial upgrade is required, you can rely on DMP’s Performance Guarantee. The DMP Performance Guarantee Program is a Five-Year program intended to keep your system operating within the prescribed specifications, guaranteeing that it will meet the regulatory limits outlined in DMP’s quotation. The program can be renewed after the initial five-year term.

DMP Corporation is committed to keeping essential manufacturers like those in the food and beverage industry in compliance during these tough times. Contact us today to discuss how automating your wastewater treatment system can save you time and money!

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