Saving Water is one of the Key Benefits to Drinks Processors, Manufacturers and Bottlers

From soft drinks, juices and plant-based beverages to spirits, beer, wines and liquors, HPS liquid product recovery (‘pigging’) technology is in wide use in the beverage industry.

It’s is one of the most effective ways to improve yields, increase production capacity, minimise contamination risks and improve process efficiency. In addition, one of the key benefits of pigging is that it significantly reduces water use in beverage production and bottling.

This blog article looks at why reducing water consumption is important and how HPS pigging systems save beverage companies water. It also looks at areas where pigging saves water, the amount of water saved by pigging, plus much more.

If you have just come across this page and are unsure what the term ‘pigging’ means in regard to the process industries, here’s an explanation of what pigging is and how it works.


Why Reducing Water Consumption is Important?

Water is an essential component of just about every beverage industry product. But, water is a finite resource. In some areas it’s also scarce. The beverage industry uses massive quantities of water as a major ingredient in the production of everything from soft drinks and beers to juices, alcohol, and other drinks.

However, not only is water used as an ingredient, but the beverage industry also relies on water for maintaining hygiene standards and to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria that pose a risk to both staff and consumers. Flush water often has to be treated and incurs disposal costs, which has a direct impact on drinks companies bottom line.

With water scarcity a serious concern throughout the world, there is a need for water-intensive industries such as the beverage industry to address the impact of their water consumption. Failure to use water efficiently and responsibly has the potential to damage the brand image of a beverage company.

That’s why many beverage companies have taken significant steps in recent years to better manage and reduce their water usage where possible. Here’s more about global water scarcity and the challenges it poses to businesses.

How Do Pigging Systems Achieve Water Savings in Beverage Production?

Pigging systems can help beverage manufacturers reduce water consumption and meet their water conservation targets by:

  • Reducing long, continuous flushes between product transfers and batch changeovers
  • Improving control and efficiency of the CIP process
  • Increasing water efficiency by re-using and recycling rinse water

By reducing the need for long and continuous pipeline flushes, pigging saves water at various stages of beverage production. This is because the HPS pipeline pig removes practically all of the residual product from the line prior to a flush. The HPS pig typically achieves recovery rates of up to 99.5%, but in some circumstances this can be even pigging systems save water

Depending on the product and process, the 99.5% recovery rates of the HPS pig are enough to eliminate the need to flush completely. However, in cases where water flushes and CIP are still required, their length and intensity (and hence the amount of water used) is much less due to pigging.

In addition, a common issue in beverage production is that many beverage companies often ‘over flush’ their lines. This is less likely to happen if a beverage company has incorporated pigging technology. This is due to HPS pigging systems being automatically controlled and their operation optimised.

Furthermore, in some processes such as distilling, pigging also provides the potential to recycle flush water by pigging it out of the line and reusing it as cooling water.

Where Do Pigging Systems Save Water?

Typical examples of where pigging saves water (and product) in beverage processing are in the lines to and from:

  • Tanker to holding vessels
  • Tanker to process
  • Storage vessel to blender
  • Blending to bottling lines

In general, the longer the pipework and the larger the diameter, the more there is for beverage processors to gain from pigging in terms of water savings and product recovery.

bottling plant hmi

Saving Water by Using Dual Pig Pigging Systems

From single-pig to double-pig pigging systems, there are many types of pipeline pigging systems. However, for beverage companies looking to reduce water consumption substantially, they should consider implementing a dual-pig pigging system.

Dual pig systems, as the name suggests, uses two separate pigs. The two pigs are introduced into the line with a measured amount of water between the two pigs.

Usually propelled by filtered air or carbon dioxide, the dual pig system quickly and efficiently recovers residual liquid and at the same time sanitises the line.

How Dual Pig Systems Reduce Water Consumption?

Although most CIP processes are already highly optimised, dual pig pigging systems provide a straightforward way to reduce water and optimise CIP even further. But, how do dual pig systems help beverage companies save water?

  • Instead of a continuous line flush, a smaller ‘slug’ of water held between the two pigs is sent down the line.
  • Sometimes a slug of CIP fluid (or water), followed by a second slug of water, is used for a more thorough cleanse.
  • The water in the second slug is often recycled by reusing it in the first slug on the next rinse. 
  • The savings in the water and CIP fluid, in comparison to a full flush, are significant.
  • Water use is also more measurable and can be controlled more precisely than with standard flushing.

How Much Water Does Pigging Save?

Because most pigging systems are bespoke and designed around the needs of each customer, there is no specific answer for how much water a pigging system saves.

Water savings can depend on a wide number of factors. In addition to length and diameter of pipeline and the type of pigging system used, other factors such as the number of changeovers, intensity of flush and the degree of product removal necessary can also have a direct impact on the amount of water used.

For example, Orlando Wines, located in Adelaide, Australia, is a long-standing customer of HPS.  They produce and bottle a range of high-quality brand wines. The company uses a a combination of HPS pigging technology, as well as HPS liquid distribution and transfer technology (in this case the HPS piggable rotomatrix liquid transfer and distribution system). They are finding water savings of approximately 40 mega litres a year. This is in addition to wine savings of around 440,000 litres per year. You can read a case study on pigging in the wine industry here

Find Out More

If you process beverages and are looking to save water, increase yields, reduce waste, minimise contamination risks plus more by pigging and product recovery solutions, then please get in touch.

Alternatively, if you process any other liquid and are looking to bring the benefits of pigging to your business, then contact HPS. Our friendly and knowledgeable team will be happy to help!

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