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Drop by drop: how to find and measure the water consumption indicator in industry

22 de March 5 min. de leitura

Drop by drop: how to find and measure the water consumption indicator in industry

Continuously monitoring indicators is essential to prevent major problems from going unnoticed, in addition to enabling the search for performance optimization. This lesson applies to any area of a company and, taking this into account, the objective of this article is to specifically address the creation and analysis of a characteristic parameter for the use of water resources within an industry. In this case, the beverage sector will be explored, but the approach can be used in any type of production environment.

In a beverage industry, one of the main indicators for optimizing water use is the liter per liter (L/L):

Efficiency=〖Liters 〗_(water captured)/〖Liters 〗_(final product)

As the formula implies the amount of water used per liter of beverage produced, it allows evaluating the efficiency of the production process, identifying opportunities for optimization and savings and facilitating comparison between batches and products.

However, calculating this indicator is not always an easy task, especially when daily monitoring is desired. Factors such as water tanks, treatment plants and production peaks generally bring complexity to the calculation process that requires a very detailed technical survey. This is done in order to avoid generating incorrect information that could lead to wrong decision-making. Furthermore – according to the CNI (National Industry Council), in the material “Use of water in the Brazilian industrial sector” -, another factor that highlights this difficulty is the limited availability of data on the use of water in the industrial sector, which constitutes an obstacle to the effective characterization of industries in terms of consumption of this resource (FERES et al., 2005).

Step by step to find the correct call sign

To survey the water trajectory in the industry, the first step is to create a complete map indicating where water can pass through the plant. This is done with the aim of establishing the ideal measurement points for a quality indicator. Next, we will explore how this process happens in a factory with 5 production lines, 3 of which are soft drinks and 2 are water.

  • Step 1 – Mapping the water path:Before implementing a measurement system, it is necessary to map the complete water path within a factory’s systems. This is important as there may be recirculation points, where the same water can pass several times. The survey stage requires an on-site assessment, with a complete overview.

    Caption: Overview of a water collection system


  • Step 2 – Define the measurement locations After creating the complete map of the plant, it is necessary to define the level of detail of the indicators to be calculated. It is possible, for example, to divide a plant into 4 levels:
    • Plan
    • Area (Ex: Utilities, Process, Packaging)
    • Functional area (Boilers, Filler, Chiller)
    • Machine (Filler 1, Boiler 1, Boiler 2)

Expressing this division of levels graphically, and using some example data, we have the following arrangement:

  • Step 3 – Define the calculation system:

    The greater the level of detail, the more necessary it is to implement an automatic data collection system and install digital meters. This fact is explained because, when carrying out this type of collection manually, in addition to being susceptible to errors and having little resolution, it may not offer the necessary resolution to define, for example, which recipe or SKU has the best performance. .

    efficient water use


    How fluid the process has been

    Recently, the redefinition of water use strategies has been occupying a prominent place in industries. According to the CNI (National Confederation of Industry), in the article “Better use of natural resources and generation of value”, 76.4% of Brazilian industries already use some sustainable economy strategy. These actions are essential to increase the useful life of natural resources, promote innovation and competitiveness in the private sector, as well as stimulate awareness in society.

    This awareness came from the fact that the water used for consumption and production, even though it is essential for the development of various economic activities, is not infinite. Within this scenario, making use of disruptive technologies and solutions guarantees greater longevity of resources and makes a positive impact on society.

    Finally, it is necessary to reinforce the importance of this and other actions aimed at more sustainability in the production process. Although the routine monitoring of water resources plays an indispensable role, there is still room for the industry to advance another level in productivity.


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