Wet scrubbers play a crucial role in the safe discharge of exhaust emissions from industrial workshops, laboratories and manufacturing facilities by removing particles and harmful gases from the discharged air-stream, they help keep workers, the premises and the surrounding environment safe from contaminants. Additionally, they require regular maintenance, a portion of the responsibility for which rests on the shoulders of the customer.
Maintenance can be divided into preventative and reactive duties. The former focuses primarily on the proper use of the wet scrubber. This includes taking care not to use it in constant temperatures of over a certain level, depending on what the equipment is made from. PVC wet scrubbers require relatively cooler temperatures – no higher than 54 degrees Celsius, while polypropylene can endure temperatures up to 71 degrees, and Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic up to 82.
Other key preventative maintenance involves ensuring that the wet scrubber is secured on a solid foundation (ideally concrete) for support and is kept out of harsh direct sunlight (especially if it is grey PVC), and is never moved by its flanges.
The reactive type of maintenance is broader, and can be sectioned into daily and weekly duties. When performing any maintenance work, personnel should wear protective clothing and accessories as necessary.
One of the core daily maintenance procedures is the checking of the pH level in the wet scrubber. The level must be kept as close to 7 as possible, with 5.5 – 8.5 being an acceptable range. Checks should be done at least 1-2 times a day, with alkali added very slowly as needed to adjust the pH level. Incorrect levels could result in the formation of crystals and the subsequent blockage of parts of the equipment. When automatic dosing systems are installed they need to be checked on a regular basis and dosing chemical levels maintained. pH probes used to measure and control dosing quantities can be calibrated against standard buffer solutions to ensure correct functionality.
Plugging of spray nozzles is a common problem with wet scrubbers. For this reason, they need to be checked regularly. In addition, no waste should ever be poured anywhere into the wet scrubber, filters should be kept clean, and the equipment washed down daily to remove any residual build-up.
A maintenance procedure that needs to be performed on a weekly basis is the draining, cleaning and refilling of the sump with clean water. At this time, the pumps should be checked too. Water is the critical component of wet scrubbers – it functions as the actual scrubbing agent as it traps gases and particulate matter. A constant supply is required to replace the overflow of contaminated sump water. As a result, levels need to be carefully monitored.
Other maintenance duties include regular checks of the wet scrubber housing for loose or damaged parts, regular checks for debris, ensuring that safety guards are securely in place at all times, checking of ducts for corrosion and fume leakage, checking of the airflow rate, checking of the exhaust fan, and keeping careful records of operating data.
While very technical maintenance work will generally be done by dedicated technicians, basic maintenance such as that detailed as the daily and weekly duties above needs to be carried out by the customer. Failure to perform the necessary maintenance could invalidate the wet scrubber’s workmanship warranty.
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