Water consumption is a big concern for many food and beverage manufacturers. The use of large volumes of water for cleaning and processing means that water costs are significant for many types of food production and in very high use sectors like dairy they can be one of the biggest costs for the business. So it follows that any improvements in water efficiency will rapidly translate to reduced costs.
Spray nozzle selection can play a critical role in improving water efficiency. Indeed the whole purpose of spray nozzles is to improve the efficiency with which fluids interact. Essentially nozzles can be viewed as water efficiency devices that allow more to be done with the same amount of fluid.
Increasing surface area
Breaking fluids into small droplets increases the surface area of the fluid. 1 litre of water can have a surface area as low as 0.048m2. This would be a single 1 litre 'drop' with a radius of 0.062m, i.e. a single sphere about 12 cm in diameter. If this single droplet litre of spray is divided into smaller droplets then the surface area will double with every halving of drop size diameter. A typical spray might have a droplet size average diameter of 100 microns. This is 1200 times smaller and so the surface area will be 1200 times higher meaning the same litre of liquid would now have a surface area of about 576m2.
This incredible increase in surface area from a simple nozzle has many water saving applications. It allows for hugely increased reactivity and heat exchange making any such processes far more efficient. In coating applications a finely atomised spray will bond better and more evenly meaning less water produced. Sanitising sprays will penetrate better in nooks and crannies meaning less can be used. Increasing the surface area of a spray, through atomisation, means that more can be done with less fluid.
Correct nozzle selection can reduce the droplet size for a variety of applications and so can be an easy way to save water. SNP have helped hundreds of businesses optimise their spray systems, reduce their water costs and improve product quality.
In contrast to the efficiency improvements gained by better atomisation some applications need the opposite approach. When cleaning impact is required atomisation and its associated increase in surface area are actually undesirable traits in a spray. Instead nozzles that focus the fluid into a high impact jet or narrow fan are required. Correct nozzle selection for cleaning applications can dramatically improve cleaning whilst reducing water overall water consumption.
Clean in place (CIP) systems are an essential but water-hungry part of many food manufacturing lines. A thorough cleaning of process, fermentation or storage tanks between batches is required on a regular basis and a failure to clean can result in contaminated/lost batches. As such the fear of failure is very high. This tends to mean that water and/or caustics are over used.
Significant savings can be made by looking at newer types of tank cleaning heads. The very commonly used static spray balls are cheap and reliable but they are also water inefficient. Depending on the tank size, residue and cleaning schedule the payback (in terms of water savings) for swapping to rotary jet style cleaners may be realised in only weeks or a few months of operation. Please click on the article icon to read an indepth analysis of water saving in tank cleaning applications.