How to get the best out of your chemical proportioner
24 June 2015
Chemical dispensing systems are robust, but as is the case with all equipment and machinery, issues may arise during use, causing the proportioner to not operate as effectively as it once did. A system that is not 100% functioning to capacity does not necessarily mean it is broken and needs replacement. Fortunately, there are clear signals that operators can watch out for which indicate a potential problem. By understanding the significance of these signs and knowing how to act on them, the system can be examined to ensure optimal performance.
Paul Francomb, Technical Product Executive at Brightwell Dispensers, looks at two common signs of system malfunction and offers advice on how to overcome such issues:
Ineffective cleaning: Signs to look out for include streaky, sticky surfaces and residue build-up. With the use of chemical proportioners, ineffective cleaning is most likely caused by an inaccurate dilution ratio or incorrect cleaning solutions.
The initial step is to check with the installer to ensure that the dilution ratio has been set correctly to suit the desired application and cleaning environment. Next, check that the appropriate chemical is being delivered to the proportioner.
“The use of the wrong chemical is a common issue we see with end-users who have not been trained on usage and chemical replacement procedure. When the proportioner is running low on chemical, sometimes operators accidentally end-up replacing it with a different concentrate to the one that’s currently being dispensed. The new concentrate may mix with the previous chemical residual inside the tube, thereby causing a cross-over of chemical and potential contamination,” comments Paul. “Let’s take the case of a food facility as an example. If an operator inadvertently replaces floor cleaner with a weaker multi-surface sanitiser, the effectiveness of the cleaning solution would be compromised and could result in illness and contamination being spread across the facility.”
One way of overcoming this issue is by clearly colour-coding chemicals so that end-users can easily identify which chemical to use. In addition to this, chemical concentrates could be locked safely inside chemical dispensing cabinets with supervisors or appointed personnel only having access to the cabinet. The appointed operators would undertake training regarding usage and chemical replacement and would have complete control of chemical concentrate replenishment.
Reduced chemical delivery: Limescale build up could interfere with the system’s operation and may limit the amount of chemical that is being dispensed. In some geographic regions, hard water is a particular problem. Similar to your kitchen kettle, hard water can cause limescale build up which needs to be removed from inside the dispensing system.
“On most proportioners, the venturi is the apparatus that draws the chemical in to mix with the water coming from the water mains. If the filter gets too clogged up with limescale, the water won’t be able to pass through the venturi efficiently to create a vacuum,” advises Paul.
Creating a vacuum is the underlying principle of venturi technology, and if there is no suction, then the chemical concentrate will not be able to mix with the water to produce a ready-to-use cleaning solution. Paul recommends maintaining filters and serviceable items periodically, just like you would descale your kettle, to ensure optimal performance.
Using the incorrect chemical and the build up of limescale are just some of the factors that may contribute to system malfunction. Other indicators to consider include reduced chemical suction and no water flow; however, as an end-user, these issues require more of a technical know-how to solve. The most important thing to bear in mind is that chemical dispensing systems require periodic maintenance and, while an end-user can take certain measures to fix less complex issues, it’s best to consult your distributor or installer if in doubt.
In the next article, Paul will examine troubleshooting from the point-of-view of the installer which will help end-users gain a deeper understanding of potential technical issues to look out for and offer advice to installers on how to overcome technical problems.
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