How Industrial Water Softeners Work
The correct balance of minerals of incoming water to industrial systems is essential to the proper operation and maintenance of expensive equipment. It is also absolutely imperative to provide a consistent finished product. Industrial water softeners remove excess minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, to a specified and monitored level to continue the industrial process.
The system of water softening for industrial purposes requires the incoming water to travel through a porous resin bed. This resin has the appearance and consistency of tiny plastic beads. These fine beads have been constructed and treated so that each tiny bead is exceptionally porous. The surface area is also permanently chemically altered to be highly attractive to the offending minerals.
The surface sites of the resin have an affinity for minerals that have an electron charge of positive two and higher, such as calcium and magnesium. Other minerals with a similar valence may also be removed. A complete analysis of the incoming water is essential to the proper design of the water softening system.
Incoming water enters the water softener vessel that is filled with the resin bed. The velocity of the water slows, spreading over the wider surface area of the bed, and travels through the millions of tiny beads. During this process, the minerals in the water are attracted to the resin surface areas. The water then exits the resin bed - freed of the laden minerals with little significant hydraulic head pressure drop. The resin bed captures the hardness minerals in the water.
However, as the surface area of each bed in the resin is occupied by minerals, the effectiveness of the water softener gradually declines. A complete industrial water softening system has to include equipment to regenerate these resin beds. Usually, there is a duplicate resin bed that can be engaged, so that the initial resin bed has time to refresh. After water is diverted to the second bed, the regeneration of the first bed can be commenced.
The alternative is to shut off the outflowing water during the regeneration process. This may be possible if softened water demand is limited to one or two shifts only.
The resin has a much higher affinity for calcium and magnesium ions but it will "give up" those when rinsed with water containing a very high concentration of sodium ions (i.e., very "salty" water) and the sodium ions replace calcium and magnesium ions on the resin. Finally, the resin bed is flushed with water to remove excess salt before the bed is placed back into service.
For more information about how industrial water softeners work, or how to order an industrial water softening system for your facility, please contact WaterProfessionals®