Processing Magazine

All water problems are local

Culligan guy now appears on plant floors — software in hand

December 1, 2013

Almost everyone knows “Hey, Culligan man,” from the radio and television commercials that have spanned decades and are part of American culture. That “raucous” voice and that phrase are a big part of why Culligan, the provider of home water softeners and filtration systems, is such a recognizable brand name to consumers.

Perhaps less well known is the company’s approach to the industrial sector and the existence of Culligan Matrix Solutions, a division of Rosemont, Ill.-based Culligan International Co. As you might expect, Culligan Matrix Solutions looks to take advantage of the economies of scale in design, manufacturing and distribution Culligan has to offer based on its more than 800 dealers in 90 countries, as well as its technologies and best practices.

The company says processors partnering with it can expect to achieve return-on-investment savings — including energy consumption, labor and maintenance costs and compliance with EPA regulations — in less than one year.

The Culligan man is relevant here too. Because he’s the “local” guy, and meant to emphasize that all, or at least the vast majority, of water problems are specific to a locality. And that’s true whether the context is residential or industrial.

Singular sources

Therefore, for industry, Culligan says it has a single-source, comprehensive water treatment technology platform, based on which its application engineers develop customized solutions to specific challenges. These pre-engineered, modular treatment technologies are “easily connected together to address the customer’s specific situation.”

Regardless whether the issue is feed water or product water, says Rod McNelly, VP C&I sales, Americas and Asia-Pacific, his company “looks to small municipalities, food & beverage, oil & gas and energy & power as our key markets because all are concerned with water filtering and clean and treat. These markets aren’t interested in a standardized approach or in highly customized projects. Our software-based approach is the right one.”

Product lines include multi-media filters, softeners, de-alkalizers and chemicals for pre-treatment; membranes; portable-exchange, continuous electro and automatic deionization; storage tanks; and the distribution and polishing of water, including pumps and disinfection technologies.

Finally, a mobile-water-treatment fleet can deliver multi-level water purification, monitoring and control for peaking plants and base-loaded plants in energy, power, oil & gas and chemical-processing industries.

In a time when venerable brands don’t always make the cut, Culligan this summer opened a facility expansion in Libertyville, Ill., that tripled its manufacturing capacity to 75,000 square feet, and in total added more than 200,000 square feet, combined manufacturing, assembly, warehousing and office space to the facility.

Expanding capacity

The expansion supports executing large, complex capital projects that include technologies for industrial markets. In addition, Culligan can assemble as many as five mobile water-treatment containers at one time. Design and application engineers and project managers now work in one location.

Processors depend on quality water for such things as boiler feed water make-up, recycling back to cooling towers, improved process run times and overall quality and consistency of production, Culligan notes. Some even reuse grey water in other parts of the business. Complying with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discharge requirements is also a constant driver of quality water treatment.

Why bother?

“It’s at the point where companies now want to reduce discharges and reuse water. We’ll see our business on the industrial side triple this year,” says McNally. “We’re excited about the projects we have in the municipal and industrial markets.”

Culligan says its best practices are based on decades of experience engineering industrial water-treatment systems that minimize waste, extend equipment performance, reduce maintenance costs and improve operational efficiency.

Electronic controls for reverse osmosis and water softening technologies are part of a custom-designed system. Water reuse and brine reclamation help improve environmental compliance and sustainability. Remote monitoring and telemetry options help avert system failures.