In this issue of the Water Industry Journal, we take a look at a business which harnesses process analytics to assist the water industry in tackling phosphorus removal, amongst other challenges.
Metrohm Process Analytics design, develop and custom-build online applications for their customers – replacing laboratory analysis with systems providing continuous online analysis. Their applications take many of the manual steps out of a process, meaning clients can make more timely, evidence-based decisions.
As Jon Lidster, Metrohm Business Manager explains, “We take the time to understand what a client is trying to achieve, whether it is effective phosphorus removal or another process. We then gather information about their existing processes, their parameters and operating window, helping clients to understand what is going on and what improvements could be made.
“Once we’ve analysed a client’s existing processes, we set to work developing applications in the lab, before scaling them up and building an online application, designing systems that improve and streamline their processes, aiding business improvement.
“When analysing phosphorus removal processes, for example, we would always look at phosphorus recovery too, so that clients can make use of this finite resource, optimising their resources, creating a sustainable future and potentially adding an additional revenue stream to their operations too.
“Harnessing process analytics allows business to work better and smarter, and with any process that involves the application of chemicals, this is especially beneficial, improving safety, helping the environment and potentially reducing costs too.
“The fact that our online systems work continuously and can be accessed remotely has obvious benefits for the many unstaffed and inaccessible sites you find in the water industry and elsewhere.
“Rural sites can be monitored with ease, you’ll receive notification of any emerging problems in real-time, before they escalate, helping to prevent out of consent discharges and enabling your resources to be planned more effectively.”
Metrohm has over 40 years’ experience of process analytics, they have recently invested £1.5million in new premises that provides specialist laboratories and they have an in-house engineering department, supporting their clients’ applications, with the expertise to design bespoke systems.
“Our analysers have a high capability, are accurate and robust,” explains Jon, “plus they are modular, future-proofing them for our clients, meaning they can be added to over time.”
One such analyser is the 2035 Process Analyser, which provides 24/7 online-monitoring of critical chemical parameters such as ortho- and total phosphate phosphorus in wastewater streams, utilising a compact digestion cuvette photometer module to monitor levels to DIN EN ISO 6878:2004-09.
In addition, Metrohm provides toxic metals monitors, plus pH, ammonia and alkalinity analysers, which work according to the DIN and ISO standard methods and are commonly used in wastewater treatment processing.
“We only sell our own products, we are not re-sellers, all of our components, even down to the screws we use, are designed and manufactured by us, which is rare indeed – meaning we never have supply issues. Moreover, given we have full support in the UK and around the world, we are always here to give our clients the support they need.”
Metrohms services, go beyond providing a system, for they deliver full support for their applications, with excellent facilities to host training sessions, workshops, seminars and instrument demonstrations, so that businesses make the most of their investment.
One example of a bespoke system they’ve created is the surface water monitoring system designed for Heathrow Airport – a critical application helps keep the airport operating. The mixture of aviation fuel, de-icer and water, plus the vicissitudes of the weather, had proven a challenge for some of their competitors, yet Metrohm designed a system which was fit for purpose, being robust, accurate and reliable.
Metrohm also designed a unique online sulphate analyser for the Royal Mint, helping them to utilise their resources more efficiently, allowing for more accurate dosing, with less waste, fewer emissions, helping the environment and helping their bottom-line too. Such systems have obvious relevance for the water industry, not least in the sphere of phosphorus removal, providing the ability to analyse and dose water more accurately.
Metrohm expertise spans a wide range of industries, including the petrochemical and biofuel, pharmaceutical, chemical, polymer and plastics, environmental and energy industries, amongst others. The specialist equipment they’ve designed includes titration, chromatography, spectroscopy and voltammetry instruments to name a few, and they bring all of this expertise to each client.
As Jon explains, “we are proactive and solution driven, our knowledge and experience of a broad range of industries, informs the work we undertake in the water industry, helping to improve business processes.”