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Longer plant life, less downtime from Hydromag conditioned water.

Longer Plant Life, Less Downtime from Hydromag Conditioned Water

The build-up of hard water scale in water-carrying plant has always been a problem and one which works engineers in food processing plant have tried to solve with varying degrees of success.

Scale brings with it premature failure, high maintenance costs and increased downtime. Boilers, heat exchangers, pipework, jets - in fact, any plant exposed to hard water needs to be protected for both commercial and hygienic reasons. Such plant may be concerned directly with the food production process but equally important is the efficient use of water for maintaining essential levels of hygiene and cleanliness of equipment and the factory itself.

One of the latest means of preventing the build-up of hard water scale is electro-magnetic water conditioning; and a company which recently introduced such systems is Hydromag UK Ltd.

The nature of Hydromag lies in its patented system of polarity reversal which results in it being self cleaning, thus eliminating the need for any maintenance on a water conditioner.


The theory of electro-magnetism is relatively straightforward.

Hard water contains a number of chemical substances, predominantly calcium carbonate but also various magnesium and iron compounds. These microscopic particles - colloids - are present in solution.

If the concentration of these substances exceeds the solubility of water, scale deposits may be formed on surfaces such as pipe walls, heating surfaces, heat exchangers, heating coils and sanitary equipment.

When flowing through the electro-magnetic force field of the Hydromag unit, the positively and negatively charged colloids in water accumulate to form larger particles and these are carried in solution within the flow rather than forming a crystal which adheres to plant.

The action of the unit differs from traditional water softening in that hardness minerals are not removed from the water. They are merely 'inactivated' when it comes to the formation of hard scale deposit. In softened water, on the other hand, these minerals, which may well be beneficial to health, are removed and replaced by sodium. Hydromag conditioned water is completely safe for all purposes, including drinking.


The main benefits to industry of electro-magnetic water conditioning are threefold.

Firstly, the elimination of the build-up of limescale enables valves, pipework and other elements to perform to specification rather than steadily deteriorating in performance. Hydromags have also been shown to reduce the build-up of vegetable growth of algae and other potentially harmful or unhygienic conditions. This is achieved by removing the scale which encourages their growth.

Secondly, downtime is minimised and productivity will often be increased when equipment is functioning properly. Although it is advisable to maintain normal inspection routines of water- carrying equipment, the requirement for descaling is normally eliminated in plant served by electro-magnetic water conditioners, thus saving the cost of materials, labour or maintenance contracts.

Thirdly, the fact that electro-magnetic water conditioners use no chemicals eliminates the need to buy salt. This itself saves both materials and, because they require no maintenance, the associated labour costs will also be saved.

Hydromag is manufactured in West Germany by HydroTec GmbH & Co KG. HydroTec invented its polarity reversal system in the early 1980's and, following extensive field testing, the first commercial sales were made in 1985.

Dairy hot water pump

A West Country cheesemaker has solved the problem of scaling and complete blockage of a hot water pump used for washing down in the factory, following installation of a Hydromag water conditioner.

A.J. and R.G. Barber Ltd of Shepton Mallet, Somerset, suffered 'rocking' and subsequent complete blockage, and seizure of the Grundfoss 200 hot water pump which serves the power hose used for washing down the dairy. The problem resulted in high maintenance costs - approximately 500 [pounds] every three months for a major overhaul. It also involved the purchase of a spare pump at around 1,000 [pounds].

A Hydromag DN25 installed during the Autumn in the 1 in. cold water supply to the 800 gal. header tank, has cleared the pump of rocking. The pressure valve which was removed recently for inspection appeared 'as new' whereas previously it had been badly affected by scale.

The benefits to Barber are that the pump now requires only a routine service, which results in a saving of approximately 300 [pounds] per service. It is anticipated that the original cost of the Hydromag DN25 will be recouped within the year.

Second Order

As a direct result of the performance of the Hydromag DN25, Barbers' have ordered a second DN25 which will serve the hot water tanks used for shrinkwrapping and sealing cheese. At present the elements of the hot water tank are being affected by hard water scale - a problem which Barbers anticipate will be solved by water being conditioned through the Hydromag.

The third phase of the installation of Hydromags by Barbers is a DN40 which will condition the main water supply for the company's principle dairy.

A side benefit of the conditioned water now flowing through the pump is that the lifespan of the power hose guns has also been improved. Previously, scale rock was partially blocking the nozzles but, since the installation of the Hydromag, the time spent cleaning the guns has been minimal.

PHOTO : Inside the Hydromag unit

PHOTO : The Hydromag unit seen installed
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Food Trade Review
Date:Jun 1, 1990
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