Water Filtration Project

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Requirement: A San Diego-based semiconductor company engineers and manufactures electronic chips for various applications. During the manufacturing process, they utilize approximately 6,000 gallons of water a day. Once the water is used, it becomes waste water and is being disposed to drain. The task for this project was to reclaim the waste water, filter it, and re-use it again for manufacturing in order to become environmentally friendly and save water consumption costs.

Implementation: At the heart of this operation are four 10 foot tall ultra filtration units that take turns filtering the waste water. During the filtration process, two ultra filters are actively cleaning the waste water, while the other two are cleaning themselves via a process called backwash. After a period of time, the ultra filters reverse roles: the two filters that were actively cleaning the waste water shut down to begin their self-cleaning backwash process, and the other two filters that just finished their self-cleaning process take over the duties of filtering the waste water. This approach allowed for continuous water filtration, and greatly increases the lifetime of the ultra filters by regularly allowing them to self-clean.

Water flow through the ultra filters is controlled with over 12 electronic valves, timed to open and close at precise times in order to avoid pressure spikes and damage to the ultra filters. There are also many other instruments that communicate with the system, such as pressure, flow, temperature, and water quality instruments. Some of these instruments determine water flow at certain points of the pipe line. Controlling the system is a Siemens PLC unit along with a Maple Systems HMI touchscreen.

I was responsible for:

  • All logic programming required by the Siemens PLC to control the sytem
  • Commissioning, preparing and testing all PLC modules prior to installation.
  • Programming the HMI touchscreen in order to operate the system, record data, and generate charts.
  • Research and test all instrumentation, including calibration and working with electrician for PLC connections.
  • Assisting with the design of the system, including: physical piping paths and major component placement (tanks, pumps, instruments, etc).
  • Attending meetings with the client in order to gather requirements, obtain special requests, and provide updates during the different stages of the project.

Result: This system was installed on June 2012, and as of December 2014, has been running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week while reclaiming over 87% of water that would otherwise be going to drain. The San Diego-based company is saving thousands of dollars per year in water consumption costs.

Skills Used:

system design
client interaction
ladder logic
low voltage