Sunday, 12 June 2016


De-mineralization plant is employed for removal of minerals or dissolved salts from the water. Salts on dissolving dissociate into electrically charged particles called ions: for example common salt  will be split into sodium ion (a positively charged ion or cation) and chloride (a negatively charged ion or an anion). If such a solution is brought into contact with a suitable ion exchange material (called resin), some ions from the solution are taken up by the resin and an equivalent number are transferred from the resin to the solution. Ion exchange is thus a reversible interchange of ions between a liquid and a solid.
A simple Demineralization Plant consists of two beds of chemically treated resin beads operating in series. The first column- cation exchanger- converts the dissolved solids in the raw water to the equivalent acids; these acids are removed as the water passes through the second column- anion exchanger. The final product from this process consists essentially of  pure water. When exhausted, the cation exchange resin is regenerated with acid and the anion exchange resin with alkali.
In essence the DM plant comprises of  resin vessels with charge of strong cation and anion resin; control-panel encompassing a conductivity measurement and alarms, etc; acid and caustic injection facility from bulk, semi-bulk or carboy containers.
The high-purity water from a demineralization plant is typically used as feed water for high pressure boilers in many industries; as wash water in computer chip manufacture and other micro-electronics manufacturing processes, as pharmaceutical process water, and any process where high-purity water is a requirement. DM water is used as process water in the manufacture of chemicals and fertilizers, food products such as soft drinks, automobiles for rinsing of parts, textiles, etc.
Two-bed INDION DM plants are made in all sizes, from small portable units for laboratories to large multi-stream installations for Thermal power stations, refineries, petrochemical and steel plants.
Why are there numerous types of resins used in demineralization plants?                                               .
The type of resins employed and selected depends on numerous factors: Treated water quality required- If silica removal is not required, anion exchange resin used  in two- bed  DM plants is usually INDION 850  weak base anion resin. If silica level of 1.0 ppm can be tolerated, then INDION N-IP strong base Type -2 resin is offered. When water free from silica is required, the anion exchanger is charged with INDION FF-IP strong base Type -1 anion resin.
  • Input water quality
    Presence of organic foulants- In cases where water has high level of organic foulants such as humic and fulvic acids occurring in natural surface waters, Macroporous resins such as INDION 810- Type 1strong base resin are better suited for the application than INDION FF-IP
  • Flow through plant required
  • Considerations of minimization of operating costs in terms of regenerant chemical consumption: In order to  reduce regenerant chemical consumption in large plants, INDION 850 resin (which is very efficient for removal of strong acids such as HCl and H2SO4 with minimal requirement of alkali for regeneration) is used in combination with INDION FF-IP strong base resin which is best suited for removal of weak acids such as carbon dioxide and silica from water
What is co-current flow regeneration?                                                                                                  .
The regeneration is usually carried out in three steps. Firstly, the ion exchange column is backwashed with an upflow of water. The pressure vessel has about 50% free space above the resin bed (known as free board). This free space allows removal of any entrained solids, and re-classification of the resin bed by backwashing. Backwashing also relieves bed compaction. Secondly, a predetermined amount of acid or alkali is injected into the column in a downward direction (same direction as the service flow or co-current) to displace sodium/calcium/magnesium in the cation exchanger and chlorides/sulphates/alkalinity in the anion exchanger taken up during the service cycle. Lastly, the column is rinsed to remove excess regenerant. The entire operation takes about 3 hours for a two-bed DM plant.
With counter-flow regeneration, the regenerant acid or caustic passes in the direction opposite to the flow of water during  the service cycle. With counter-flow regeneration, the fresh regenerant  enters  at the bottom of the resin bed and passes in an upward direction (opposite to the downflow direction during service cycle- or counter-current). Hence, bottom layer of the resin bed is always in highly regenerated condition. This means lower leakage or slip of  ions during the service cycle producing better quality of treated water than the co-current method.
What is mixed-bed Demineralization?                                                                                                  .
The mixed bed is a single column of  INDION 225 cation exchanger and INDION FF-IP anion exchanger  mixed together. Water passing through the column comes into contact with these materials and is subjected to almost infinite number of demineralizing stages. Thus demineralized water of extreme purity is produced.
As with two-bed demineralizers, mixed bed units are regenerated with acid and alkali: but the ion exchange resins must be separated before this can be done. Bed separation is accomplished by backwashing: this carries the lighter INDION FF-IP resin to the top of the bed and the heavier INDION 225 sinks to the bottom. Two completely separated layers are thus formed, into which the acid and alkali solutions and rinse water are introduced through specially designed distributors. After regeneration, the two resins are mixed with compressed air.
Normally mixed bed unit treats water from the two-bed DM plant that is already of high purity and their ionic load is low. They can consequently be operated at high flow rates, and are of relatively smaller size.
What is the quality of the treated water from a demineralization plant?                                                 .
Electrical conductivity is used to express the purity of demineralized water. Depending on the application pH and/or reactive silica in DM water may also be specified as parameters to measure the purity of DM water.
The quality of the water depends on the type of scheme used:
Cation-Anion-Polishing Mixed Bed
For standard plants our guarantees are as follows:
1) Conductivity 0.1 micromhos /cm-1.0 micromhos/cm. at 25°C (We guarantee conductivity of 0.1 micromhos/cm in  very large projects only)
2) Sodium 0.01 mg/l  - pH: 7 +/- 0.2
3) Reactive silica 0.02 mg/l -0.05 ppm
Cation-Anion (Counter-Current Regeneration)
For standard plants our guarantees are as follows:
1) Conductivity 0.5 to 1.0 µS/cm at 25°C- 30 micromhos/cm  (We guarantee conductivity less than 10 micromhos/cm in large projects only)
2) Sodium 0.05 to 0.1 mg/l -  pH: 7.5 - 9.0
3) Reactive silica 0.025 mg/l - less than 0.5 ppm (with FF-IP we  can guarantee less than say 0.3 ppm)
Cation-Anion (Co-Current Regeneration)
With typical co-current regeneration, the outlet quality will depend on the regenerant applied, resin employed and raw water quality
1) Conductivity 5 to 30 µS/cm at 25°C- conductivity can be upto 2 to 5 % of conductivity of raw water
2) Sodium 0.5 to 3 mg/l
3) Silica 0.1 to 0.3 mg/l - less than 1.0 ppm
How do I size a demineralization plant?                                                                                               .
For the sizing of a demineralization plant, a good in-depth water analysis is normally required which gives the breakdown of total anions and total cations and any potential organic foulants. The final water quality specification, as well as flow rate and water used per day is required.
The alkalinity or bicarbonates and carbonates present in raw water appear as carbonic acid or dissolved carbon dioxide at the outlet of cation exchanger. Weak base anion resin such as INDION 850 does not remove weak acids such as carbon dioxide or silica. The demineralized water is therefore passed through a degassing tower for removal of carbon dioxide or CO2. The tower, made of rubber-lined steel is filled with packing rings through which the demineralized water percolates. Low pressure air introduced at the bottom of the tower scrubs out CO2, and the degassed water collects in a sump beneath the tower.
How is conductivity measured?                                                                                                            .
All INDION DM plants are provided with conductivity indicators that have two basic elements: a conductivity cell with electrodes of special design between which demineralized water flows and a sensitive milliammeter for measuring the current passing between the electrodes. This current is proportional to conductivity of the water.
a. Increase in ionic load
b. Flow recorder defective
c. Insufficient chemicals used
d. Resin dirty
e. Plant being used intermittently
f. Channelling in bed
                                                                       g. Resin fouled
                                                                         h. Resin deteriorated
i. Resin quantity insufficient in unit
Check by analysis
Give prolonged backwash
Avoid this
Check and ensure uniform distribution /collection
If cation, give HCl wash; if anion, resin give alkaline brine treatment
Check and replace charge
Check and top up
a. Cation exhausted
b. Anion exhausted
c. Mixed bed exhausted
d. MB resin not in uniform mixed state

e. Some valves like backwash leaking
f. Na slip from cation high

g. SiO2 slip from anion high

h. Unit idle
i. Unit not sufficiently rinsed
j. Excessive/low flow rate

k. Channelling

l. Resin fouled
                                                                       m. Resin deteriorated
Repeat air mix and rinse
Check raw water analysis; change in Na/TA and SiO2/TA ratio; use more chemicals
Check raw water analysis; change in Na/TA and SiO2/TA ratio; use more chemicals
Rinse to satisfactory quality
Adjust to between unit min/max flow rate
Check and ensure uniform collection/distribution
Check resin and give alkaline brine/ HCL treatment
Check resin and replace
a. Resin not separated during backwash properly

b. Air mix not proper
c. Final rinse not proper
d. Some valves may be leaking and contaminating the treated water
Give extended backwash after exhausting the bed
Check and examine
High residual CO2 from degasser
a. It can be due to choked suction filter of degasser air blower
b. Improper air flow to the degasser

c. Degasser blower not in operation
d. Air seal not fitted/broken resulting in short circulating of air
Check and clean filter

Check damper, speed of blower, discharge pressure
Check and operate blower
Check and replace fitting
a. Flow rate too high
b. Unit exhausted
c. Backwash valve passing
d. Anion resin organically fouled
e. MB air mix not satisfactory
f. Acid/alkali pockets formed in unit
Increase flow rate
Regenerate unit
Check and rectify
Give alkaline brine treatment
Carry out air mix once again
Faulty design check and rectify. Temporarily backwash (followed by air scour if MB) and rinse again
a. Choked valve and suction strainer of pump
b. Cavitation in the pump
c. Low inlet pressure
d. Distribution or collecting system choked
e. Resin trap at outlet choked
f. Control valve shut due to low off-take
Check and clean
Increase off-take
Pressure drop across the bed increasing day by day
a. Defective valves
b. Packed resin bed and resin fines present
c. Collecting system choked
d. Pressure gauge defective
Give extended backwash with open manhole and scrap off fines from top surface of the resin
Check, repeat backwash
Check and rectify/ replace
Flooding in degasser
a. Very high air flow rate

b. Packed tower chocked due to dirt or broken packing material
Reduce air flow rate by adjusting damper
Open and check
Resin being lost
a. Excessive backwash pressure

b. Faulty collecting system
c. Inlet strainer damaged
Check inlet pressure and reduce if necessary
Examine same for breakage
Check and replace
Ejector not working
a. Low power water pressure
b. Air lock in the unit
c. Choked or defective valves
d. Ejector nozzle may be choked
e. Too much back pressure from the unit

f. Bulge in pipe lining
Backwash & open air release
Examine and rectify
Check for chokage of collecting system; passage of inlet/outlet valves
Check and rectify
Incorrect reading rota-meters
a. Chocked orifice lines/orifice
b. Dirty glass and float
Check and clean
check and clean
Improper reading from flow recorder integrator
a. Choked impulse lines/orifice
b. DP transmitter requires recalibration
c. Leakage in signal tube between transmitter and panel
d. Low air pressure for DP transmitter or recorder
Check and clean
Level electrodes system for measuring and dilution tank not functioning properly
a. Improper contact between electrodes and control
b. Shorting of the two electrodes due to moisture or
any foreign material
c. Improper working of the level controllers
Check contact and rectify
                                                     Check and dry the contacts of moisture and dirt
Leakage from acid injection/unloading/transfer pumps
a. Improper adjustment of the mechanical seal
b. Low strength of sulphuric and presence of ferrous sulphate
Check and adjust
Check concentration and take appropriate action
Corrosion in concentrated acid tanks and lines
a. Low concentration of sulphuric acid
b. Lining of HCl tank/pipe line damaged
Check silica gel breather in acid storage tank and replace silica gel charge if exhausted
a. Defective solenoid valves
b. Leakage in airline from solenoid valve to the respective control valve.
c. Improper contact of micro switch giving false indication to panel
d. Fused mimic lamp giving false indication to the panel
a. Defective relays in the control circuit
Check and replace relays
Solid state programme not functioning properly
a. The controller can be kept in "hold" due to the reasons explained under operation
b. Improper operation of the controls for the controller
c. Defect in the inside of the controller
Remove conditions which cause "hold" of controller
Press test switch & check the complete cycle
Check the instruments thoroughly from inside. Meanwhile, operation may be continued by using bypass toggle switche

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