innovations that are reducing water usage

Innovations that are Reducing Water Usage Throughout the Process Industries.

Water is a Finite Resource

Many industries which process liquids have a high dependency on water. It’s routinely used in production as an ingredient, for cleaning, maintaining hygiene and sanitation and manufacturing purposes.

However, as the world’s population grows, the value of water as a precious and finite resource is being increasingly recognised, especially in industries which are highly reliant upon it.

To ensure continued production to an ever-growing population and reduce environmental impacts, many industries which process liquids are embracing water efficiency management strategies. These include using advanced treatment and processing technology to save water.

Often, the ultimate goal is to achieve zero water discharge solutions.

How HPS Technology Can Help

A technology that is increasingly being implemented by companies that process liquids to reduce water consumption and meet environmental goals is called liquid product recovery (“pigging”).

Pigging systems use a specialist projectile (called the “pig”) which reclaims valuable residual liquid from pipelines. This liquid which would otherwise be wasted.

From food, beverages, and pet food, to paint, coatings and cosmetics, HPS pigging technology is in wide use in the process industries.

Not only do they recover product, they are also an incredibly effective way to save water and improve sustainability in liquid processing.

Importantly, pigging technology yields a consistently substantial payback and return on investment (ROI). Here’s more information on pigging system payback and ROI.


innovations that are reducing water usage

How Do Pigging Systems Achieve Water Savings in Liquid Processing?

Pigging systems help companies that process liquids and wet products decrease their water consumption, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve environmental performance by:

    • Reducing the requirement for long, continuous water flushes and washouts between product transfers and batch changeovers. Therefore, decreasing washout duration and using less water.
    • Using washout/sanitisation water instead of compressed air to push the pig when recovering product residue after a transfer. This reduces or removes the requirement for water flush, reducing overall water usage.
    • Utilising the pipeline pig to recover washout/sanitisation water to a recovery tank, instead of sending it to drain.
    • Improving control and efficiency of the Clean-in-place (CIP) process.

Reducing Waster Flushing and Washouts by Pigging Process Pipelines

Because pigging systems reduce the need for long, and intensive pipeline flushes, pigging saves water at various stages in industrial process applications.

This is because the HPS hygienic (sanitary) pig reclaims nearly every drop of residual product from the pipe prior to a flush.

HPS pigs are long-lasting, robust, and flexible and can recover up to 99.5% of product from full pipelines. In some circumstances, product recovery rates can be even higher depending on the application.

For some applications, the high recovery rates of the HPS pig are enough to eliminate the requirement for flushing completely. However, in processes where water flushes/washouts and CIP are still required, their length and intensity (along with the amount of water used) is significantly less with a pigging process.

HPS experts pigging equipment

Washout and Sanitation Water and Pigging

Another innovative way pigging systems can save water, is by using washout/sanitation water instead of compressed air to push the HPS pig when recovering product residue after a transfer. The pig can then be washed at the receiver (here’s an article on how HPS pigging systems clean pigs) before being returned to the launcher with compressed air.

This method will significantly speed up cleaning times and reduce water consumption. That’s because, during the pig’s return journey, it will evacuate the water residue from the main line and recover practically every drop from the internal surface of the pipe.

Plus, instead of two pigging operations (one for product recovery and one for water residue evacuation), only one complete pigging operation is required. Not only does this save time, but it extends the longevity of the pipeline pig and pigging equipment.

Recycling Water with a Pigging System

Pigging systems also provide the potential to recycle water. That’s because the pig can be used to push water residue to a recovery tank for re-use as cleaning, sanitising, utility, or process feed water.

This can equate to a significant amount of water. After all, there’s the water residue used to push the pig forward when recovering product and the subsequent cleaning of the pig at the receiver. This water will usually contain a medium volume of product content. There’s also the water recovered by the pig on its return journey to the launcher. This would have very low or no volume of product content. So, both variables of water may be sent to different recovery tanks and handled/used differently.

reducing water use with HPS pigging and liquid transfer technology

Preventing Excess Flushing

Another innovative way pigging systems save water is by preventing the ‘over-flushing’ of pipelines.

This is a common issue in certain applications which can easily be avoided with a pigging process in place. Over-flushing is less likely to happen with an HPS pigging system, due to automatic control and pigging system automation and the optimisation of the pigging and related processes.

Saving Water by Using a Dual-Pig Pigging System

For applications that only require cold water washout/flushes for each changeover, a pigging system to consider is the dual-pig pigging system. The dual-pig system can significantly reduce the volume of water required.

Dual-pig pigging systems (not to be confused with double-pig systems) , as the name suggests, use two separate pigs. The two pigs are introduced into the line with a measured volume (slug) of cold water injected between the two pigs.

Usually propelled by filtered air or carbon dioxide, the dual-pig pigging system efficiently recovers residual liquid and pushes it to a selected destination. At the same time, the water located between the pigs sanitises the internal surface of the pipe.

reducing water usage by pigging

How Dual Pig Pigging Systems Reduce Water Consumption?

So, how exactly do dual-pig pigging systems help companies that process liquids significantly reduce their water consumption.

  • Instead of long and continuous pipeline flushes, a smaller measured ‘slug’ of water injected between the two pigs is sent down the line.
  • In some cases, a slug of CIP fluid (or water), followed by a second slug of water, is used for more thorough cleaning and sanitisation.
  • The dual-pig system recycles water. This is notably in the second slug which is often recycled by reusing it in the first slug on the next rinse.
  • Instead of long, continuous flushing, water use is highly measurable and can be controlled precisely.
  • The savings in water and CIP fluid, in comparison to a full water flush are significant.

Please note, dual-pigging systems are a fairly new innovation from HPS, but many of our customers are already using it highly successfully. There are also many potential ways to use the dual-pig pigging system. So, if you process liquids, contact our experts to find our if a tailored solution can be applied to your application.

Other Innovative Ways HPS Technology Can Save Water

As well as pigging systems, HPS liquid product distribution and transfer systems are also being widely used by companies that process liquids to save water and optimise the cleaning process.

Many processing plants have multiple product sources (mixer/storage tanks) and multiple destinations (fillers), so they require full product distribution flexibility.

And that’s where the HPS Automatrix Automatic Valve Manifold comes in. The Automatrix can accommodate this requirement and provide flexibility and fully automated source and destination selection from any product source to any destination.

It’s important to note that most valve matrix systems are not piggable and have ‘dead space’ areas between the valve bodies and the transfer pipe. This makes them difficult to clean, therefore requiring significant quantities of water, energy, and resources.

However, using advanced Automatrix valve technology that incorporates the HPS Max Yield Pigging Valve can address these issues. The Max Yield Pigging Valve has minimal dead space, which enables the recovery of nearly all the product and ensures simple, fast, and efficient cleaning.

The Automatrix is best incorporated where the source tanks hold dedicated products and full automation is required.

automatrix hps pigging

HPS Rotomatrix Technology and Water Savings

As well as Automatrix Automatic Valve Matrix technology, the HPS Rotomatrix Piggable Manifold also offers full product distribution flexibility. In addition, the Rotomatrix allows HPS pigs to be propelled from the source tank outlet to the destination filler/tank.

No automatic valves are required for this technology; therefore, less power, compressed air and PLC controls are required.

What’s more, because the Rotomatrix is fully piggable, it will not only increase yields and reduce waste, but it will also reduce water consumption. The ultimate result is lower production costs and higher profits.

The Rotomatrix Piggable Manifold is best incorporated where the source tanks are required to hold various product types and some minor manual operator intervention is acceptable.

Find Out More

There are many innovative ways HPS Pigging, and Liquid Transfer Technology can save water in liquid processing.

Whatever your process, HPS Product Recovery Solutions can help. So, if you want to discuss reducing your water consumption and improving environmental sustainability using our pigging and liquid transfer solutions, then please get in touch with our process system experts today.

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