News
Read articles and the latest industry news from ProChem.



About Wet Testing

Before we ship a system to a customer site for installation, we test it here in our facility in Virginia. We call it a "wet test." Wet testing includes running water through the system, testing and calibrating instruments, checking for leaks, simulating scenarios, training Technical Services staff, applying finishing touches, and ensuring all the pieces are functional and present before shipping.

ProChem is currently starting up a 10gpm CWP - continuous flow wastewater treatment system at a leading global securities company. The system will remove heavy metals and suspended solids from their waste stream before discharging it.  The following images are from the wet testing that was conducted on this CWP system.

T104 filling with water for the wet test.

Technician, Turner Ward, calibrating a pH sensor.

Technical Services Representative, Scott Buff, getting familiar with the HMI.

I & C Manager, Mark Trussell, triple checking the PLC program.

Next Steps

After the successful we test, this system was shipped to Utah for installation. The installation and start-up process is now nearly complete. This process includes operations training and dedicated Technical Services staff on site. They are there to ensure that the system is running effectively, that the operations staff is ready to operate it on their own, and that our customer's expectations have been met--before we leave the site.

Watch a video from the wet testing on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ja76_vpMCM

Many Engineered Wood and Pellet manufacturing facilities experience regular periods of scheduled downtime just to clean their equipment (WESP, centrifuge, piping, etc.). Downtime for scheduled maintenance can be frustrating and cost millions of dollars, especially if that maintenance includes replacing RTO media.

RTO media can be cleaned using hydroblasting and/or caustic based cleaners. That works but only for a few cleaning cycles. It's also expensive. The other repair option for plugged RTO media is replacing it. This can cost millions between the media itself, the labor associated with the replacement, and the downtime for the facility. RTO media replacement and regular equipment cleaning are only two costly maintenance activities. Engineered Wood and Pellet facilities incur many costs when it comes to maintaining their valuable equipment:

  • Replacing RTO media every 2 to 3 years (about $1 million each time)
  • Hydroblasting once per quarter
  • Between 60 and 80 man hours for equipment cleaning
  • Plant shut down for the maintenance time period
  • Disposal costs for solids from centrifuges
  • Cost associated with storing wastewater on site during maintenance down time, and then hauling it off for disposal
  • Costs associated with environmental compliance violoations for storing wastewater

Facilities can save on these costly repairs and replacements by preventing contaminants from entering the equipment in the first place. Removing contaminants such as tars, lignins, sodium, and potassium from the water fed to the WESP, for example, prevents any of those liquid fine particles from entering the RTO. This can extend the life of the RTO media indefinitely. Since implementing the CleanWESP treatment program, one ProChem customer has gone 10+ years straight without having to replace their RTO media. CleanWESP is a chemical treatment program designed to remove damaging contaminants from recycle tank water in order to protect valuable equipment and save time. ProChem, Inc. performs a treatability study on the water from each customer site to determine the appropriate treatment program for that situation. The goal of CleanWESP is to protect valuable equipment, saving the customer down time and maintenance costs.

CleanWESP for the Wood Industry

Downstream of a WESP, the RTO can receive a multitude of residual particles from the air, including those found in water vapor. These particles are left behind in the media and can plug it up, causing it to become dysfunctional. Hydro blasting and/or caustic cleaning may clean the media successfully, but it is only effective for a few cleaning cycles--and it's expensive. The other repair option is to replace the media, which can cost millions of dollars between the materials, labor, and plant downtime.

To prevent RTO media fouling, you have to know what's going in to the RTO; that is, you must know the inputs. In this way, you can predict what may linger behind on the media that could foul it and then implement a method of removal prior to the RTO. RTO inputs include both coarse and fine particles. Coarse particles (those over 5 microns) may be dust or liquid droplets. Likewise, fine particles (those less than 1 micron) can be liquid or solid, depending on their makeup. Fine particles are typically formed when vapor cools and condenses into a particle and can include oils, resins, and iron as as a solid. Liquid fine particles such as tars and lignins will be left behind deep within the RTO media as the water evaporates. Some fine particles such as sodium and potassium oxides and others, like chlorides, can cause more damage than plugging. Because they are chemically reactive, they will actually react with the makeup of the media itself at high temperatures. This reaction can cause the media to become brittle. One way to save on costly repairs and replacement is to prevent the inputs from entering the RTO in the first place. Removing or reducing water contaminants such as tars, lignins, sodium, potassium, and chlorides from the water fed to the WESP prevents any of those liquid fine particles from entering the RTO. This can extend the life of the RTO media life indefinitely.

CleanWESP for the Wood Industry

CleanWESPTM is a chemical treatment program designed to remove damaging contaminants from recycle tank water in order to protect valuable equipment and save time. ProChem, Inc. performs a treatability study on the water from each customer site to determine the appropriate treatment program for that situation. The goal of CleanWESP is to protect valuable equipment, saving the customer down time and maintenance costs.