Scale treatment in Industrial water systems - utility

Scale treatment in Industrial water systems - utility


This article covers all the aspects of scale treatment methods for any piping system including Heat Exchangers, cooling towers, evaporators, RO system, etc. available in the commercial market only. Descaling is the tedious and cost consuming mechanism, every industry is going through. Recognizing the scale treatment methods to address the scale formation is the new age of solving problem. This article addresses similar technologies and will cover number of methods as magnetic treatment, chemical treatment & Electronic water conditioning.


The process of descaling has the irrelated cost to the process. Though process can be modified and improved over the experience of time, this segment of addressing calcium and magnesium scale is limited to very less technological advancement. The availability and viability are the factors considered before making things commercially available. The customer mindset has a very greater effect on the scale treatment methods adopted in industry. Thus, limiting the hands of scientists and engineers for a compatible solution.

Although in this technical era, organizations adopt to more non-economical operations to address the scaling issue for their system. Example of this is Reverse Osmosis system, where the water is obtained in the purest form for use. In purest form, water have very small OR negligible effect on system. The pure water will not deposit in your piping system and instrument, but it has greater chance of oxygen solubility which in turn increases the rate of corrosion. So, the optimum solutions are generated over the period and rate of usage. Let’s discuss all the methods of treating scale deposition.

1. Softener Scale Treatment Method: In this method, number of chemicals are added in the water system to ensure smooth running of operations. The chemical added replace the calcium ions in the water with sodium ions available through chemicals added.

This process has number of advantages and limitations:


  • • Well experimented technology
  • • Reliable
  • • Calculatable results


  • • Cost consuming
  • • Scaling Occurs – though slowly
  • • Increases corrosion of the system
  • • It makes water pH level change over time as ions consume
  • • Continuous chemical addition required

The softener chemical treatment is nowadays decreasing in popularity as organizations shift towards new technologies available such as Hydroflow electronic water conditioner.

2. Electrolytic Water Treatment process: The use of electrodes for attracting positive ions is basically electrolytic process. The same process is maintained in the battery to store electrical energy in the chemical form. The reverse of Battery is the electrolytic process, where a special electrode is deployed in the system to remove specific ions from the stream.

This system has various advantages and limitation also.


  • • No need for chemical addition
  • • Specific ions can be addressed
  • • High efficiency of control


  • • Cost consuming
  • • Electrode is consumed and thus require replacement
  • • Can take out other useful ions also
  • • The effectiveness decreases exponentially
  • • Electrodes are not corrosion free

This process is used in only special applications in industries like Nuclear reactors, Aeroplane parts manufacturing, etc.

3. Reverse Osmosis: Reverse osmosis (RO) takes advantage of hydrostatic pressure gradients across a special membrane. The membrane has pores large enough to admit water molecules for passage; hardness ions such as Ca2+ and Mg2+ will not fit through the pores.[2] The resulting soft water supply is free of hardness ions without any other ions being added.

This process has various advantages & Limitations;


  • • Pure water can be obtained
  • • Very easy to maintain the water system
  • • TDS can be adjusted


  • • High cost
  • • Membrane degrades over period
  • • Very high amount of water rejected
  • • Cleaning is required
  • • Operators required to run the RO system

This process is giving fine results but its not viable in the commercial market, where one need to get rid of very limited particles such as calcium and magnesium.

4. Magnetic Scale treatment: This method involves use of actual magnet or creating a magnetic field using electro magnetic method. The SOP of the process remains the same. The magnetic treatment vendors claim the no deposition of scale and provoked corrosion in the water system.

This is tested by number of industries and is rejected due to non performance. When initially proposed to commercial market, it involved number of hypothetically created theories. The theories were never proved on any experiment and when any scientific research was done, this treatment failed to address the issue under conversation.

The united stated department of Energy published the report on their website claiming fail of this technology on the subject. The link is in the reference.[3]

5. Hydroflow Electronic Water Conditioner: They Hydroflow is a Patented Technology for solving scale issue. This is Non-intrusive Online water conditioning process for removal of existing scale as well as it will not allow new scale formation in the piping system. Hydroflow is owned by Hydropath Technology from United Kingdom. This technology was first found in 1992 by Dr. Denny Stefanini who, based on his theory of crystallisation, developed first prototype model for treating lime scale.[4]

The Hydroflow induces an electrical signal of around 150 KHz in the water, this signal is nothing but a since oscillating wave of decaying characteristics.

The Hydroflow signal causes the ions to form a cluster, a cluster is the combination of molecules in the suspension. The cluster then provides a nucleation point for further ions to deposit. In normal water system, the piping surface acts as a nucleation point which allows scale formation on pipe surface. But in Hydroflow system, the ions precipitate on each other only leaving the surface as the electrical signal forces them to bind each other and create a bigger molecule. Over the period, this molecule can be precipitated in the sump tank or can be filtered out in a filter.

This system has number of advantages and limitations:


  • • Very effective
  • • Eliminate usage of Any chemical – Makes system chemical free
  • • Economical with High ROI
  • • Doesn’t allow formation of new scale
  • • Removes existing settled scale
  • • The electrical signal goes in all the piping system wherever the water will go
  • • The system works irrespective of position, flow, alignment
  • • No change in physical or chemical properties of water
  • • Very less power consumption equivalent to 20w for industrial ranges


  • • Addresses only Specific Molecules.
  • • Power is required continuously though consumption is very less.

The increase of Hydroflow technology is increasing day by day, with presence in over 68 countries globally and a very good customer base in Indian market, this technology is proving to be the best in the segment.



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