Siemens expert bores into water treatment considerations

Tuesday 31 August 2010

In the first part of a special edition on beverage processing, we explore the different water treatment requirements and options facing soft drink manufacturers.

Because water is a key ingredient for beverage manufacturers, how it is treated and used is vital for quality reasons but also has a big impact on efficiency and overall cost of ownership.

David Bridgers, food and beverage business development manager at Siemens Water Technologies, told that one of the main challenges for soft drink makers is determining what treatment strategy to employ for incoming water.

Different requirements
The quality of the source water is a major consideration but so is the nature of the products being manufactured. What level of treatment is needed will vary with the product that is handled.

Bridgers said carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) are the least demanding while purified drinking waters require the most treatment. Water must be thoroughly filtered to meet the limits for total dissolved solids and chloride set out for purified bottled water.

Other soft drinks have there own specific requirements. For example, the water used in ready to drink tea products must have a hardness level of less than about 25 parts per million to prevent them from turning cloudy. Energy drinks and other fortified beverages also need a higher water quality than CSDs.

Soft drink bottling plants that handle a variety of different products therefore face the challenge of designing a water treatment system able to cope with these differences.

A beverage plant making both bottled water and CSDs will have to decide whether to treat all its water to the highest standard required or to have a separate system to meet the more stringent controls for bottled water.

Bridgers said this is a scientific calculation that will depend largely on the volumes of the different products. There is also a decision to be made when it comes to the barrier system to install and how much water to push through it.

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