HFL, Nalco in water system overhaul

01 February 2008

Pfizer claims to have boosted efficiency and control of its cooling and boiler water systems at one of its plants in Cork, Ireland.

A typical cooling tower installation
A typical cooling tower installation

The research-based pharmaceutical company called in engineering company, Haden Freeman Group (HFL), and water treatment specialist, Nalco, to upgrade its existing water chemical-treating systems.

Water, supplied to the boilers and towers at the plant, is chemically treated on a controlled basis to ensure efficiency and lifespan of equipment. This can also help to avoid corrosion, scale deposition and biological growth to internal pipework, heat exchange equipment and the plant. The more controlled the chemistry addition to the systems, the greater the efficiency of their operation, resulting in greater energy savings for the company.

A key part of the project was to minimise the plant downtime ensuring the window for the work was not overrun, as this would have an impact upon system integrity. HFL deployed a team of four, led by project manager Ian Dunkley, who ensured the timescale was met by completing the build and testing prior to installation and commissioning.

Nalco’s 3D TRASAR technology was installed on all cooling systems. This is used to monitor and control the chemical dosing and operational parameters for each system via stress management. Webmasters were used on the boiler system with the relevant information fed back to individual LED screens. However, with the plant consisting of two large utility buildings with some distance between utilities, the disparate information from each 3D TRASAR unit and Webmaster meant the system didn’t allow for a ‘big picture’ of the plants performance to be easily monitored.

Haden Freeman decided to centralise all the data sources from the 3D TRASAR units and Webmasters to allow information to be collated, monitored and controlled from a central position. This then converted the data for the entire plant into a clear, graphical form, which could be viewed using a web browser.

The system also allows retrospective data to be viewed for up to seven days and is allied to web/Ethernet connectivity, which allows for remote monitoring of the boiler system, meaning adjustments to water treatment chemicals can be made on an ongoing basis.

Pfizer says it can now monitor and control, with greater accuracy, the chemical dosing levels around the plant. This results in the boilers and cooling towers operating with greater control, meaning they are working more efficiently on a day-to-day basis. This is hoped to result in significant long term cost savings.

Eleanor O’Shea, from Nalco, said the project was a ‘good example’ of existing technology being applied in an innovative and unique way.

‘It was absolutely key that the project was carried out within the timescale and HFL achieved this,’ she said.

‘We now have much greater control over chemical levels in the plant, which will result in significant long term energy, and cost savings.’

‘This project is the latest in a series of high-profile jobs HFL have worked on in Ireland, in conjunction with Nalco,’ said Dunkley. ‘We are increasingly making a name for ourselves in the country and our Dublin base will help us strengthen our offering. We have a raft of expertise, offering a complete range of engineering and management services to chemical, pharmaceutical, food processing, oil and gas, utility, insurance, transport and general manufacturing industries.’

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