Articles & Case Studies

Argument for not cleaning up process water is wafer thin

Posted: Wednesday 5th March 2014

When facilities management and water treatment companyMSSGroup was called in to clean up the process water in a globally renowned manufacturer of semi conductor wafers, the company was presented with an untreated water system suffering from significant corrosion.

The ongoing performance of the plant was suffering heavily due mainly to the fact that the murky brown process water had been accepted as being ‘the norm’. Water quality tests and particulate analysis had never been carried out and part of the plant’s processing facility had deteriorated to such an extent that some of it had worn away. The resulting debris was repeatedly blocking the flow of water so the process was continually overheating and tripping out. The amount of scrap was considerable and costs were escalating to £10’s of thousands over a 12 month period.

With MSS’s core business being the treatment of water using chemicals, in this particular instance the company had to find a process that would coexist with its chemical treatment and filter out the high particulate content.

Having known Industrial Purification Systems (IPS) for some time, Dave Robertson director of MSS called the company in to provide a solution.

“It so happened that IPS had just completed a similar project where the process was almost identical” said Dave. “Over a six month period water filtration technology that had been installed by IPS had proven to be highly effective.” A particulate spread analysis was carried out and it was determined that IPS’s CrossFlow 300 high quality water filter would be installed which incorporated a new controller with an electrically operated valve so a smooth transition between online operation and offline cleaning could be instigated.

Operationally, the high quality water filter system utilises a unique patented vortex bed stabiliser which maintains flat bed filtration with high surface turbulence. This ensures that no bio-fouling can be seeded whilst holding filtered contamination in suspension above the media bed. This gives lower pressure drops, longer filtration and shorter backwash cycles making direct savings on operational costs.

The high interstitial void volume of the media allows for greater dirt holding capacity and contamination interaction for the Zeta potential of the media to remove the finer particulates down to 0.45 micron

Compared with conventional media filtration, the inlet configuration allows for high flow rates, these being 5 times higher than the normal accepted flux rates of conventional filters. Backwash volume used is also significantly lower, especially when the longer operational period is taken into consideration. It is also more effective with backwash times per unit being as low as 2 minutes.

This technology has been shown to provide a high efficiency removal rate of over 86% at 1.0 micron in one single pass whereas conventional filters have to undertake multiple passes to get anywhere such efficiency.

Dave continues: “There was an improvement in the water quality within a fortnight. After six to eight weeks we saw a remarkable improvement. The water filtration technology is now running concurrently with a chemical package to eradicate future corrosion. “My relationship with IPS goes back a number of years and I have always been satisfied that its technology would do what I hoped it would.

“The end user has been so pleased with the results that it has bought another filtration unit for another system.”

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