Building a Panel to Make the Water Treaters Life Easier
Around AquaPhoenix, we are always talking about continuous improvement and looking for ways to advance our manufacturing operations and the customer experience. We feel the same principles of continuous improvement should also be applied to the daily life of a water treater. After all, improving efficiency and reducing problems should always be on our minds.
Recently, Blaine Nagao, CWT, and President of our Equipment Division went out to the shop floor and started creatively thinking about ways water treaters can improve their daily routine. He started grabbing things from our shelves, cleared a spot on a workbench, and built his ideal panel.
Below, he outlines what you can do to a panel that will make your program work more effectively. Hopefully, these ideas make you look at your day-to-day routine and see areas for improvement, and the next time you need to build and install a new system, you can incorporate some of these job-enhancing features! How can you make a panel build serve you and your customer better?
Ask yourself these questions:
- What makes your job easier?
- What makes a customer's job easier?
- What makes your program work effectively?
We've all balanced our laptop or test kits on a drum that may be covered with chemical or something else and gotten it all over our stuff. That's not what tanks were made for. Tanks and drums were made for holding chemical and for pumping out of.
Integrate a work surface onto the panel. Integrate lighting or shade if needed. How many times do you have to go to a panel out by a cooling tower and you have to put your jacket over or hold your hand over to read the screen? That's not a failure on the controller manufacturer’s part. An LCD screen does not work well in direct sunlight. In contrast, you may have to run tests in the evening or in a dark basement. Why not put a light on your panel? It's low cost and easy to do.
Receive alarms, emails and upload data from anywhere internet service is available. Wi-Fi is great because you most likely will have a laptop with you on location. Most manufacturers have routers on their controllers however, many people do use that feature as a hotspot. Create a password that only you know to eliminate the risk of an operator using all of your data.
Our routers have an extra waterproof ethernet port. You can plug your laptop right into that and access your controller. It's nice to have a port that you can access without opening the controller.
Storage for Parts and Coupons
There is plenty of open space on a panel. Make use of that space by designing holders for all of those miscellaneous items. Save time and expense by eliminating those 'quick' trips to the hardware store.
- Corrosion coupons
- Coupon envelopes
- Spare holder screws/nuts
- Corrator tips
- Injection valves
- Electrodes, etc.
It may seem like a lot of money upfront to keep these items stocked, but it does not compare to overnighting just one of those items or having to not feed product, or compromise performance.
Order parts with toolless fittings. A simple union fitting on an injection valve is much better than trying to pull the tubing off of an injection valve to check to see if it's clogged.
Consider adding a tee with a plug to your next panel build. If your rejection line clogs, you can inspect it. Valve it off and run a cleaning/rod brush on the end of a drill to clean out those clogged-up tees and lines.
If you replace your injection valve, tees, and coupons, with toolless fittings, you will eliminate the need for additional tools to service your system.
To see the entire presentation, including tips for choosing the correct products for your panel, click here to see the entire on-demand recording.
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