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Project for the adaptation of mains water for use in the food industry

  • Project for the adaptation of mains water for use in the food industry

About the entity

J. Huesa Water Technology
J. Huesa is a Spanish company based in Seville and founded in 1971 experts in the Integral Water Cycle with a multidisciplinary work team and proven technical capacity to respond to everything related to water treatment.

On this occasion, we are reporting on the start-up of a water treatment plant for the adaptation of mains water for use in the food industry, specifically for the manufacture of spirits.

Our client, a leading company in its sector, needed to adapt the mains water for the expansion of its spirits factory located in Spain. Therefore, after analysing the conditions of the project and the specific needs of our client, who required a conductivity lower than 5 µS/cm, el equipo técnico de J. Huesa technical team opted for the design and manufacture of a double-pass reverse osmosis plant to guarantee the organoleptic conditions of the water to be used in their production process.

Adopted solution

The main data of the implemented system, consisting of a double-pass reverse osmosis system preceded by its corresponding pre-treatment, are detailed below.

Table 1. Installation design data

The rejection flow from the second stage, 3.5 m³/h, will be returned to the head of the first reverse osmosis stage. Therefore, the flow rate to the first stage osmosis system is 24.70 m³/h.

The main components of the system are detailed below.


The water coming from the mains is introduced into an activated carbon filter, the purpose of which is to retain chlorine compounds and any type of organic pollutant present in the water.

Picture 1. Filtration System

This filtration process has two distinct phases:

  • Production or service in which the water is introduced through the upper part of the activated carbon filter and exits through the lower part, with the impurities subject to this filtration equipment being retained in the activated carbon particles.
  • Cleaning is carried out to prevent the activated carbon particles from becoming saturated and ceasing to perform their function. The cleaning cycle has two phases, backwashing and settling, which guarantee the correct functioning of the system. The raw water used in this process is diverted to the drain.

The water is then subjected to a dosage of anti-scalant and sequestering agent, before passing through a cartridge filter, which is made of AISI 316 stainless steel. It consists of 9 cartridges of 40″, with a filtration degree of 5 microns and a maximum pressure of 10 bar.

When the filter is saturated, it can be seen by the difference in pressure on the pressure gauges placed at the inlet and outlet of the filter.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis is a process by which water is demineralised by pushing it under pressure through a semi-permeable reverse osmosis membrane. a semi-permeable reverse osmosis membrane. It works by using a high-pressure pump to increase the pressure on the salt side of the reverse osmosis and force the water through the semipermeable reverse osmosis membrane. reverse osmosis semi-permeable membrane, leaving almost all dissolved salts (between 95% and 99%) in the reverse osmosis stream. 99%) in the reject stream.

This natural pressure plus the net pressure necessary to obtain the production flow (which is called operating pressure) is obtained by using a vertical high-pressure centrifugal pump in AISI 316 stainless steel.

This is one of the most important parts of the equipment, as it is the only mechanical element in permanent movement, which determines the maintenance of the equipment and the cost per cubic metre of water treated as a function of the electrical energy consumed.

The plant is equipped with centrifugal pumps:

  • The pumps with the highest power are for supplying the osmosis plant.
  • The pumps with the lowest installed power are those that will be used for sweeping and chemical washing of the membranes.

The plant shall be able to operate at constant pressure (by means of a pressure transmitter of the discharge pump) or at constant treated water flow (by means of a treated water flow transmitter).

The plant shall be fitted with spiral wound polyamide membranes specially constructed for high salt concentration water up to specially constructed for high salt concentration water up to 8000 ppm. These membranes have high chemical resistance, they can work in a pH range of 2-13, which makes them very easy to wash and recover, and they can be used in a pH range of 2-13. They are easy to wash and recover, and can be used with a variety of washing chemicals.

They are mounted in pressure housings, manufactured in coiled GRP.

Picture 2. RO System

Membrane cleaning system (flushing/CIP)

In this plant, CIP cleaning and flushing are carried out automatically by means of screen configuration,  activated manually by the operator.

This equipment, which is common to both reverse osmosis lines, ensures the automatic cleaning of the membranes inside the pipe. These cleanings are programmed from the touch screen, according to the needs of the operators and/or every time the plant is stopped.

The system is equipped with a pump whose impeller and jacket are made of AISI316, capable of withstanding the most chemical products used to recover the membranes of the installation. The water will be sucked from a 2 m3 tank with osmosed water in which the mixture of chemical products will be diluted.

Instrumentation and control

The reverse osmosis plant is equipped with instrumentation and control elements (automatic valves, pressure switches, pressure transmitters, flow meters, conductivity and pH meters…) which communicate with the programmable logic controller, included in the control panel, through IO-Link technology.

The control panel also includes a touch screen for the operation and configuration of the plant. The J. Huesa Instrumentation and Control team has designed the control panel so that it can be integrated into the customer’s SCADA system. It also includes a remote control system.

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