The Expertise behind our DI Regeneration: Bob ‘Wicky’ Wickenhauser & Bee Moua
Our DI Regeneration Plant located just a mile down the road from our corporate office is a smooth-running operation. DI tanks from our plant provide purified water for manufacturers with the most stringent requirements such as medical device and micro-chip manufacturing. As a provider of purified water to the biggest companies in these fields we rely on our expert DI Regeneration Specialists to provide the highest quality exchange DI.
Bob “Wicky” Wickenhauser and Bee Moua keep our DI plant running with the utmost care and efficiency maintaining our high-quality standards while keeping up with the growing demand.
Wicky has been regenerating Smith DI tanks for over 38 years. His intuition and dedication provide Smith with high quality tanks that keep our customer’s plants running with confidence. Wicky has been known to stop in on weekends and during his PTO to check on things. We value his consciousness and innate sense of integrity.
Bee has been at Smith since 2018. A relative “newbie” compared to Wicky. He has proven to be trustworthy in this critical process. The efficiency in the DI plant continues to grow because of his presence.
How it works.
Deionized water is water that has gone through an electrochemical process to remove the dissolved mineral content. Water is passed through resin beads that have an electrical charge, causing an affinity for oppositely charged ions. As the water passes through, dissolved salts and ions are “exchanged” for hydrogen or hydroxide ions.
Cation and Anion are two different ways of regenerating. Two-beds are made up of one cation tank and one anion tank. Two-beds are typically used as “workers” before the water enters the mixed-bed. A Mixed-bed consists of the cation and anion resins ‘mixed’ together. A Mixed-bed, often called “polisher,” actually produces the high purity water. A Mixed-bed acts as an infinite number of Two-beds.
Every DI tank has a given capacity based on its size. The resin in the tank becomes exhausted when the resin is saturated with contaminant ions. At that time the tank can no longer effectively deionize the water. The tank is exchanged for a fresh DI tank as routine service. The exhausted tank is regenerated in our plant through a chemical process. Here is where our experts come in.
Wicky and Bee regenerate all the exhausted tanks that come back to our plant. The regeneration process itself is critical.
Bee primarily takes care of our Two-bed regeneration. Two-bed cation resin tanks regardless of size are loaded into a bulk storage tank where the regeneration occurs reusing HCI acid.
All Two-bed anion tanks are regenerated in the same manner using 50% liquid sodium Hydroxide. When the regeneration is complete, the resins are reloaded into the cation and anion exchange tanks. Every single Two-bed is checked out to ensure it meets the resistivity specification!
Mixed-beds must have the two resins carefully separated. How good those resins are separated makes a difference on quality. Not getting all of the cation or anion removed from their perspective batches can cause leakage as far as purity. It is important to get a clean separation of cation and anion by backwashing the resin. Wicky has this down to an artform. He is the mixed-bed whisperer. Anion is lighter than the Cation. Backwashing through the up flow causes the resin to separates itself. Wicky probes the resin in the tank with a clear plastic tube so he can see the resin through the tube. Resin is different colors. He can see where the separation is and how good it is. Anion will be on top which gets removed into a tank. Then Wicky removes the cation to a separate tank to be regenerated.
Once the regeneration is done our DI specialist puts both resins back into a tank and uses air to mix the resins together again. How well the resin is mixed together is very important. As the water moves through a mixed-bed tank in the purifying process it comes into contact with a cation which removes select impurities, then it contacts with a anion which removes select impurities as it’s supposed to. As the water passes through the Mixed-bed exchange tank it becomes highly purified. To complete the Mixed-bed regeneration, Wicky loads tanks individually with the mixed resin. Wicky’s mastery of this process is unmatched.
Smith Engineering’s DI Regeneration plant will continue to provide the highest quality tanks in the industry. Plans are in the works for expanding our DI Regeneration Plant so we can continue to provide high quality tanks on demand.
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