Food & Beverage Industry – How to Specify Industrial Water Filtration Equipment in the Food Industry

Water filtration applications in a Food and Beverage facility

In a typical Food and Beverage facility there are many different water and process applications, each demanding its own specific level of water purity. The presence, flows and purity of each of these streams is driven by the Food and Beverage plant design, e.g. canning, dry-goods, soft-drink, brewery.

These can include:

  • Pre-treatment of well, surface or city water
  • Boiler water treatment
  • Condensate treatment
  • Process water treatment
  • Cleaning and sterilization service water
  • Hygiene Services
  • Waste water disposal.

Regardless of the application, there is a good chance that some type of industrial water filtration will be required in order for the Food and Beverage application to operate at its peak efficiency.  

Defining the Types of Water Filtration Systems

Water filtration options can be divided into two major categories, based upon the filtering media used

  • granular and
  • membrane.

Granular water filtration has been used for many decades in the Food and Beverage Industry, and will be familiar to most. Examples of granular media filtration include sand filters; activated carbon filters for taste, odor, and chlorine removal; anthracite filters; and fine garnet filters.

These types of filters can remove suspended particles down to about 10 microns in diameter (1 micron = 10-6 meters). With the use of certain coagulant or flocculation polymers fed prior to these filters (fed as filter aids), some success has been seen in the removal of particles down to almost 1 micron.

The spacing between the discrete filtering media particles serves as the pores. Suspended solids trapped out by these filters will be collected on top of the filtration media bed, or within the pores.

Membrane water filtration uses membranes to remove suspended particles. Unlike granular filters, the membranes are designed with pores and are capable of removing much smaller particles. The ultimate membrane filtration is reverse osmosis (RO), where dissolved solids (metal ions) can be removed. This is not really a filtration mechanism in the truest sense of the words, as the semi-permeable membranes used in RO do not have pores. It is more properly thought of as a demineralization mechanism.

Membrane water filtration is best characterized by the size range of the filterable particles, as follows:

  1. Microfiltration (MF) can include woven or wound depth-type cartridge filters, or true membrane filters. Can remove particles from about 0.1 micron to over 1 micron.
  2. Ultrafiltration (UF) can remove particles from below 0.01 microns to over 0.1 microns. Can remove some large molecular weight organic dissolved material.
  3. Nanofiltration (NF) can remove particles from below 0.001 microns to 0.01 microns. Can remove smaller molecular weight organics.
  4. RO can remove particles from 0.0001 microns to 0.001 microns. Can also remove DISSOLVED IONIC SOLIDS.

Industrial Hot Water Systems in the Six Stages of Industrial Laundry Operations

Industrial laundry services are employed by large institutions such as hospitals, hotels, and prisons. With the constant need for clean linen and clothing, it’s no wonder these facilities depend on industrial hot water systems that use direct contact water heaters. Discussed below are the six stages involved in industrial laundry operations.

Soiled Retrieval

This step involves collecting the soiled items to be laundered, placing them in a collection point such as a laundry chute. Upon collection, these items will be placed in carts and transported to the laundry facility. Laundry personnel are typically required to practice safety precautions and use protective gear; this is due to the possible contamination in the soiled items, particularly in hospitals.

Soil Sorting

After the retrieval of the soiled items, they will then be unloaded and sorted based on the type of item. Not only will sorting make it easier to identify items and re-distribute them after the laundry process, but it also makes it easier for the laundry personnel to perform the necessary laundry procedures. For instance, hospital linen requires intensive washing as compared with hotel curtains or tablecloths. Removing blood or feces stains may need stronger formulas and require the use of industrial hot water systems.

Washing

This is a crucial stage in industrial laundry operations. The items sorted are then weighed and washed based on the washing machine load limit. Large washing machines are used in this step, along with a special detergent to thoroughly clean the soiled items. The use of hot water makes it far easier to intensely clean the soiled items, especially with the help of boilers that utilize heat reclaimer systems.

Processing

After washing, the items are dried, ironed and folded. Industrial laundry facilities utilize dryers that use hot air and mechanical action for moisture evaporation. Along with these, irons equipped with heavy steam-heated rollers are used to dry and press these items. The processing is capped by the use of mechanical folders.

Packaging and Distribution

Upon drying, ironing, and folding, items are then prepared for delivery. This is done through a filing method that states the information of each customer or department. The packaged items are delivered to the main distribution points and storage areas. This final step involves transporting the clean items to the customers. In hotels, distribution is done per department-food and beverage department, rooms division, and housekeeping, among others. This step requires an organized system and skilled personnel.

These six stages in industrial laundry services employ various techniques for speedy and effective laundry processes. The use of direct contact water heaters, mechanical folders, and organized distribution systems all contribute to the efficient operation of industrial laundry facilities.