When the world’s largest producer of fiberboard, Kronspan, LLC, located in Oxford, Alabama, required a flow monitoring system to monitor the wastewater flow of their recently updated industrial plant, they chose Hach Data Delivery Services (DDS). Kronospan is a worldwide organization established in 1897.
According to Jeff Williamson, EHS Manager the plant manufactures wood panel products used for laminate flooring that is primarily sold to flooring distributors. The Oxford facility manufactures both MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) and HDF (High Density Fiberboard) that is used in a wide variety of applications including furniture, laminate Flooring, store fixtures, mouldings, doors and other architectural applications.
The Oxford plant came on line in 2007 and in 2013 a waste water treatment facility was added as part of an expansion project. Williamson states, “We never had to monitor wastewater flow in the past so this was new to us. We wanted a reliable system that would allow us to remain in compliance with our NPDES and SID permits and we knew we had to use a very reliable measuring technology. We typically use 200,000 gallons of water a day.” Refined water used in the manufacturing process at Kronospan is laden with total suspended solids (TSS). When considering what type of sensor technology to use for their application to get the most accurate and complete flow data, it was determined that submerged probes that used bands or the use of weirs or flumes would certainly pose fouling problems and require extensive maintenance by Kronospan staff.
An introduction to Hach Company Flow Products and Services by local Hach Flow representative, Shane Sangalli with MoS Environmental, led them to Hach Data Delivery Services. DDS is a highly efficient flow monitoring service where, for a fixed monthly fee, Hach Flow will provide the equipment, resources and support you need to acquire your flow data. A suite of sensors with differing technologies are available with a DDS system and selection is dependent upon specific site conditions. A Hach FL900 Series Wireless Flow Logger and selected sensor are together designed to reduce monitoring costs, increase efficiency, and provide better data with less hassle.
Williamson along with other plant personnel involved in finding a flow monitoring solution felt that DDS had a very impressive track record and liked the fact that it included a 95% uptime guarantee. Williamson also noted that the use of non-contact sensor technology set the DDS system apart from other flow meter systems that have submerged probes that would clog up with that amount of solids in their refined water. He adds, “The FLO-DAR/FL900 DDS system is perfect for high TSS and it’s the only way you can get accurate readings.” A three year contract was approved and the DDS system has been installed since May 2013. He adds, “For a new start-up with flow, that DDS reliability was very valuable for us. Plus being an upstart, the fact that the DDS contractual agreement included both maintenance and service was paramount for us. We were learning how to treat the water and with DDS now the flow data is one element we had reliability in and didn’t have to do a whole lot of work. It was the path of least resistance.” Hach Flow rep Sangalli’s detailed knowledge and recommendation of DDS was key in their decision making process.
Hach FSDATA Online Data Manager software allows 24/7 access to real time DDS system data via the internet and was another feature that sold Kronospan. Real time data allows personnel to plan for how much water they have used and how they will treat the wastewater for daily production allowing for increased efficiency. Williamson adds, “It’s absolutely amazing to me that we have access to this information and this information is actually a driver for our waste water production efficiency. On the flip side of that it also allows us to control how much wastewater we are sending out because we have that real time number and that supports us because there is a surcharge associated with our waste. It kind of gives us a speedometer for where we stand as far as when we are going to go over our flat rate usage.”
Alarms used with FSDATA are a valuable benefit for the facility. When a surcharge event occurs at the end of the line located some 900 yards away from the plant, personnel are notified that the outlet has backed up. He adds, “The surcharge alarm has turned into an awareness tool for our maintenance staff. Since the outlet is at the furthest point, it can be out of sight, out of mind. When the first hole begins backing up toward the plant it saves us a bunch of effort because normally we could not know this until it would come to closer to us. We now know at the beginning and that’s an added benefit. We are happy and proud of our DDS system so we are a very satisfied customer.”
In keeping with Kronospan’s commitment to the environment, personnel feel that the Hach DDS system will allow them to wisely use accurate flow data in their manufacturing process to comply with their permit requirements and allow them to do the right thing as a part of their overall corporate environmental commitment.