We tend to think of water filtration as a solution that creates clean water. We know the issues with contaminants in our waters and the risk they pose. We know that clean water is needed for almost everything in our daily lives. We understand the benefits filtrations systems like Reverse Osmosis, Nanofiltration, and Ultrafiltration brings to water purification.
So when GEA partnered with GE to develop a Reverse Osmosis system we immediately perked up. The two corporations worked together to develop “GE Blister Free” membranes to reduce dairy processing costs. While not too farfetched, it was a new take on an industry problem, utilizing technology that was already close to perfecting the problem.
The issue they set out to overcome was the fact that most membranes and filtration systems are susceptible to blistering. This blistering happens due to the pressures during processing. If they could solve this issue they would create efficiency and reduce waste for the dairy industry, an industry in need of a technological breakthrough.
Traditional membranes also posed a risk during USDA inspections. They posed the risk of harboring microorganisms that can cause the products to be unsafe for consumption. If during an inspection, the USDA discovered this was happening it can result in the plant being shut down until the membranes were replaced. Not only are the membranes expensive, but the cost to shut down the plant unexpectedly can be extreme. The loss of revenue, time, and resources can cripple a dairy plant.
GEA and GE considered this issue when looking at a new solution for membranes. The partnership took hold after a mutual client, using GEA equipment and GE membranes continued to experience blistering. The following initiative was sparked by this client’s issues and caused the two companies to enhance their RO membranes to stop the blistering.
GEA partnered with cooperative end users, allowing the membranes to work under conditions similar conditions they would see on a daily basis. Using GEA equipment they allowed for the tests to run for a full year and monitored the data being produced to ensure the membranes solved the issue. Some of the tests ran included whey concentration and water recovery operations, along with membrane formulations.
During the tests, the final version of the membranes showed prevention and resistance of blistering. GE partnering with GEA allowed the two companies to create a product that reduces product contamination, which is in the best interest of everyone, especially the end consumer. The “blister free” reverse osmosis membranes have been available from GE since November.
We are excited to see how they do over the next few quarters and to find out what benefit they provide to the bottom line of those using them. As always we stay abreast to the newest technologies so you don’t have to. In this case, it was a new version of the same technology we use and love daily. The only difference was the application and solving a problem that was causing an industry to run the risk of losing revenue. If we apply this type of thinking to all of the clean water issues we face, then we are bound to create a better product and world for the future!
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