Video of this Episode
On the Road?
Listen to AUDIO ONLY
version of the Podcast
Follow the Process Chiller Pro podcast on these platforms.
Listening on your phone or mobile device? These great podcast platforms may require apps to be installed to access the podcast on your mobile devices.
Get an email alert when new episodes are posted.
Today is the day I sit down with Mike Millard about his patented product called SweepClear that can help end-users who use process fluid systems and service providers who work on these systems.
I found Mike’s product SweepClear amazingly simple and appears to be very effective at getting air out of process fluid systems.
After doing some research on SweepClean, I thought this might be something the Process Chiller Pro techs and contractors may be interested in hearing about for both new installs and even perhaps retrofits on existing sites when fluid-related issues start popping up.
Guest provided information to check out:
6-minute video on SweepCLEAR. https://youtu.be/ULXjhkiHtzc
2-minute video on HydroFLOW Electronic Water Treatment Systems that will be of interest. https://youtu.be/3_WsPR8wIFw
Episode(s) That Support This Topic.
A few years back, I had an opportunity to do a consulting job for a company that managed a bunch of MRI centers, these little community centers where patients come in to get their MRIs done. And they had about 30 sites nationwide, very successful company. And I was contacted by one of their founders to try and sort out why, especially on some of the older sites, they were having system failures due to the process, shoulders going down. And it was quite interesting, because out of the 30 sites, they had 10, that had been working great for a long time, the oldest 10 that they had. And then over the years, the trending had turned into multiple failures, whether that had to do with pump failures, they had about four, maybe five pump failures, plugged up strainers and things like that. Now they had a facilities person who took all the calls and sorted it all out. And of course, naturally, the initial look at it was that the service contractors weren’t doing their jobs. And I kind of get wired when I came to that conclusion. But before they jump to conclusions, because finding good service contractors that do work on process shores for medical imaging equipment is not easy. So they had me come in to try to figure out alright, what exactly is going on here? So the first thing I did is I looked at their maintenance checklist, which were okay, there was a few things that needed to be improved. But for the most part, it was a pretty basic checklist. The other thing that I looked at was what exactly the failures were all about. And what I found was, again, as I mentioned, plugged up strainers is one and the other one was they had about four and I can’t remember it was four or five pump failures. And a couple of those pumps, the contractors were forward thinking enough to actually take the pumps to their shops and have them torn down to pictures. They sent all those pictures that made it into the job files that I had to review. And after a quick look, it was obvious that the reason why they were having at least a pump failures had to do with air entrainment. Now I’m not sure if you work on process chillers. I’m super happy that you’re checking out this episode and checking out the podcast. Because on a closed loop application, for process chiller, air entrainment acts like sandpaper, these micro bubbles break up and they turn into just a lot of really small pieces that wreck into the metals and they cause all kinds of issues. In a past episode, I covered discoloration of process fluid. And that is one of the things that air bubbles can do. It can cause sloughing of metals and things like that. So back to our scenario here. That was actually what the issue was was air entrainment. And the other thing that they found out was on some of their systems. Even though the piping was copper, some of the interconnecting fittings were brass and other metals. So again, the air entrainment caused some issues that caused their strainers to plug up. And of course, all this stuff would happen outside their normal maintenance cycles. Now, a lot of times the service technicians caught stuff before it turned into failures, that isn’t really necessarily talked about as much within a company, let’s MRI company, you know, they would say Wow, that’s great. And then they’ve kind of go on, but they do notice when the when the systems break down. So flash forward to now and I had an opportunity to talk to a guy named Mike Maillard. And he is he has a company he has a patent on a product called Sweet clear. And I’m going to tell you right off the bat, I am a huge fan when it comes to air entrainment of the tried and true Hoffman number 79 automatic air event. I’ve designed hundreds of systems in my career working process chillers. And that was my go to. And I was talking to Mike Dillard. And he basically said, well, there is another way so he sent me some information on this product, this sweep clear product. And my first reaction was really It looks like just a rolled up bundle of mash of some type. And after we I talked to Mike for a little bit he shared with me what this stuff does. And I was fascinated by it. And this is a what I call an outcomes razor product. And what I mean by outcomes razor if you haven’t heard that term before, and I mean, I’m paraphrasing here, but basically what it means is all things being considered equal, it’s usually the simplest solution is always better than a more complex solution. And that is basically what this this product is now, Mike’s outfit is not as far as of the podcast. I just happen to run across this product and thought it was interesting. So those of you that are contractors and technicians out there that might be plagued with pump failures or discoloration of your system fluid in no matter what you do you continue to have problems and you suspect that you have air entrainment. And just as kind of a side note, and I think Mike will talk about this in this episode that I’ll be going to be playing here in a minute. The interview is that if your systems not totally silent, in other words, when the pumps are running and you’re not in you hear stuff, usually that is air entrainment, and that’s never a good thing in any process chiller
loop. Before we get started, I wanted to just do a quick safety announcement. The content that process chiller probe podcast provides is really designed for experienced technicians only. So if any of the tasks that I describe in any one of my videos are making you feel uncomfortable and safe, you’re not comfortable and know how to be safe with electricity, refrigeration plumbing, I suggest that you stop and find somebody with more experience to supervise you or help you do some of the tasks that I’m describing. I want you to be safe out there. So please don’t take any chances that can get you heard. I get approached from time to time from people looking for process chillers. And as the cliche goes, I know some guys and those guys are Andy and Paul over at G and D chillers. If you’re an end user and OEM or reseller and you’re looking for a quality chiller to be designed and built, Andy and Paul are the go to guys for the chiller pros out there. GND has been designing and building chillers for over 25 years. And besides knowing what they’re doing, they’re honest and they go over and above to treat their customers right. So if you find yourself in need of a process chiller call GND at 800-555-0973 Make sure to ask for Andy or Paul and use the promo code chiller pro so they know that you’re one of our listeners. I love one of their tag lines to it says that they’re big enough to produce and small enough to care and that’s the for sure GND again called G and D chillers. Ask for Andy or Paul. Use promo code chiller pro 800 105 550973 or check them out online. At GD chillers.com forward slash chiller Pro. So welcome, Michael art with sweet clear, Mike, how you doing today?
All right. Thank you, Mark for having me on.
Awesome. Yeah, I’m excited. I was wanting to get into this episode for a bit because I think that I like to find out about new things. There’s always new stuff coming on the market, although you’ve been doing this for a while, but I just haven’t heard about this type of product before. So give us a Reader’s Digest of your career. Mike, before we get started in drill down into what you got going on today.
Okay, well, going way back, I went to Virginia Tech graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. Out of that I went into the corrugated box industry and design heavy rotating machinery to make corrugated boxes and did that for I guess, close to 35 years, received at the time receive four patents in that industry. Then I decided to go on my own. I was doing retrofits for corrugated box machines and the economy tanked in 2000. So I switched over to believe it or not wastewater treatment systems. My dad was a civil engineer and picked up with a buddy and we went after the decentralized wastewater system. So if you were a developer, we could sewer your property no matter where you were, and the code. That worked great until the next crash of seven, when just about everybody I knew went out of business. So I was hooked up with a company called se pump equipment in Atlanta that did the pumps for our systems. And I stayed with them and they did hydraulics. That’s how I got into hydraulics. So I started started there in oh eight. And they they are hooked up with Grundfos and a bunch of really big name hydronic manufacturers and suppliers. So we had a full gamut of equipment. And the main theme was energy efficiency. So that’s what we went after. And one of the companies we picked up I’ll mention her name, but they actually invented the air separator 50 years ago, we’ve been able to you’ve been able to buy that technology for 50 years. But they never improved their technology. I took one look at it and he you know the engineering and me and patent thing and all that so there’s got to be a better way. So we buddy and I designed a system that would be easily retrofittable lowering costs and all that and patented it and that’s sweet, clear. So we’ve been doing that first installation was about six years ago. And everyone’s worked out great. And the neat thing about sleep clears it’s retro, easily retrofittable So that’s, that I can keep going on and on.
So tell me about, you know, your, I want to know about the early development of this this product because I, you know, I think I even mentioned this to Mike, when I had you on the phone the first time we talked about this, you know, I looked at this product, and I and I had a hard time making connection as to what it was. And then after we had a chance to discuss it, I kind of call it one of those outcomes RIT outcomes razor product, arms race for right for listing is you know, and that’s cuz that was sort of my first introduction. And what you got going on is this, this is just too simple, right? I mean, it looked to me like something pretty simple to do. So tell me about the evolution of this thing. So was one of your patents this particular thing? I actually pulled your patent up. And, and I looked at it, it’s pretty cool.
Yeah, well, what we did was, I was selling the competitor’s product. And it’s a product that you’ve been able to buy this technology for 50 years. Unfortunately, ASHRAE has never recognized it, most people haven’t recognized it. So it’s sold by word of mouth, you put one in it works, and you sell another one, and you keep going. Right. So I looked at it. And so I was selling it. And I got inspected everywhere. But I couldn’t, I couldn’t actually sell one. And the reason why is number one was cost, they were very expensive their design, but they also required a very high pressure drops, he needed bigger pumps to push the water through them. And the final one was, it wouldn’t fit in the building, they were too tall. So get a cut a hole through the ceiling or something to put them in. So we looked at that, and my partner and I, we said there’s got to be a better way. And we we actually played around with probably half a dozen different versions over two year period, and came up with the idea for swapclear, which is basically get back the way that system works is it’s fine wire mesh placed in a tank that the water runs through. And the fine wire mesh pulls out the microscopic air and dirt particles. And it does it by a process called surface adhesion is a physics principle. And I always make the comment, it cannot not work everyone ever done within a closed system within 30 days that the system’s crystal clear, the water is crystal clear. So we said well look, if we can make this media and we can make it so we can put it in an existing tank. There’s there’s a product and there’s a patent. So that’s what we patented the design of the media in coils in in putting it in a tank. And how much media do we put in a tank in a 10 inch tank, we put six miles of media inside the tank. But here’s the beauty of our patent. It’s only the fine wire mesh the wires only 27,000 diameter, the wire in the coils at six miles of wire only fills the tank by 2% by volume. So the pumps pumping the water through don’t see the any pressure drop, there’s no impedance to the flow. Yet with with that we put easily two and a half times more wired and any other company making those air separators. So we remove the dirt and air at a very rapid rate. And yeah, so you can go to any here’s the downside Morton with Tomas, we thought, you know, this is great, we’ll just do the media and we’ll stick in everybody’s tanks. What we found out, most systems don’t have air separators It’s mind boggling. Just absolutely mind boggling. They do have higher events, some of them, some of them don’t buy anything at all. But a higher event will take it’s great for filling a system up. So when you pump the water into a system, if you don’t have a way to release the air, you can’t pump water into the system. So that’s the beauty behind your event. Once the system is full, you can take the higher event off, it’s not doing anything else for you. It’s only it’s only fulfilling the system. But the sweet clear when the water runs through it, it constantly cleans the water. And it does it automatically using the fact that the little particles want to stick to the wire mesh. It’s not magnetism, and it’s not glue. It’s just a physics principle. And it’s actually used for air compressors to, they use it to remove the oil and other particles that are in the air and the compressor they run it through a call Whetstone. It’s almost the same principle. So of course, our patent we combined 50 years ago, you could get an air dirt separator 50 years ago, almost almost within a month of each other a tangential air separator was developed and that’s just a big tank with pipes that lead in from the side and make the world water swirl around inside. And the idea is that centrifugally separates the air and dirt works great. It works great on really big stuff. But we looked at and said you know if we put our media in that tank and combine the swirling separation with a media separation, we’ll have the best air dirt separator on the market. And that’s what we got A patent on.
So Mike, I, I while you’re talking, I’m not let me let the audience know real quick here too. I’m actually we’re producing this in both video and audio format. So I’ve asked Mike to develop a pretty good word picture. And I think he’s doing a good job of that. However, I’m putting some things up on the screen that I think will be really helpful to you guys out there. So if you find what we’re talking about interesting, make sure you check out the video version. So Mike, on the screen here, I think I’m not sure if you can see what I’m looking at here. But this is that you can see this is a setup you’re talking about right? You have a right. What I’m looking at here is a flange mounted, standard air separator. Now explain this, this cyclone action is that what you’re talking about this, this fluid, swirling around this metal,
we actually we actually when we develop twit quitter, we made models, plastic models, see through models of these tanks and saw what was going on inside it and how it worked. And I have a demo unit, I can actually show you that. That’s on our website. You saw that video. Yeah. But that tank was designed 50 years ago. And it’s the industry standard. That’s that’s the only air separator and ASHRAE actually says that’s the one to use. Unfortunately, most people don’t use it because it’s an added cost. And they think well, I don’t have any air in my system. So what do I need that for? And in reality, that separator is kind of like the high air vents. Once you get the air out, you don’t need that separator anymore, because it doesn’t remove the air to a level that’ll stop corrosion. Right. So the centrifugal action is the point you can see the pipes come in on a tangent. So that’s why it’s called a tangential air separator. And it comes in on a tangent swirls around the inside and then leaves on a tangent, right, and actually, it actually creates a cyclone or vortex inside that tank. And that’s what we filled, we actually put a whole bunch of dirt in the water, pumped it into that tank, and you can watch it form a little cyclone and all the dirt ends up in the bottom. So alright, let me
let me get my head around this. So basically, what you do, Mike is you take a standard air separator, and you put this fine wire media which is basically what your product is this
that’s a picture in the lower right side.
And just for you guys on audio version, this, this just looks like a It’s nothing fancy. It’s just basically these coiled up wire. Wire Mesh is all it is. And it’s
304 stainless steel welded wire mesh 27,000 diameter wire, so it’s pretty fun. It’s almost like a needle and Iran quarter inch spacing. Okay, so when we put them in a tank, that each coil has a quarter by quarter by quarter matrix,
okay. So as the as the fluid enters the separator because the way the separator is plumbed, and if you want you guys see this, this picture of it, if you’re not familiar with an air separator, it’s just basically a tank. And I think that’s what might call it a couple of times. The the movement the way this thing’s plumbed is it creates a vortex by design in there. Now, I guess I’m a little foggy mic on. So you’re moving this air latent fluid that has you know, minerals as all kinds of stuff floating around in there. The air connects to the the mash. And then what does it does it just disintegrate? What happens to that air has to go so
yeah, that’s a very good question mark. Because I always scratched my head. When you look at chemical systems, they supposedly remove air and that type of thing and FM so where does it go? I can I can tell you where Iris goes because we physically remove the air with it attaches to the wire mesh to find wire mesh. In microscopic bubbles, you need to you need a microscope to see him. Then the next portion is the with term called coalescing. And that’s another physics principle. The little bubbles want to stick to the wire mesh but they’d rather stick to each other even more. So as the bubbles go by and they stick to the wire mesh more and more pile up and the bubbles come together and form bigger bubbles. Okay. And finally, they get large enough that the adhesion to the welded wire mesh is no longer great enough to overcome the buoyancy of the bubble and a bubble wants to float up to the top. Okay, and the top of the tank has an automatic air release valve so as soon as the air builds up to a certain level, that valve opens and purges air out the top of the tank. Totally automatic process. Even with the vortex going on in there. Yes, yeah, because the vortex creates a low pressure in the center and that’s where the air is going up and who’s out. So it really there’s there’s no actual movement. We that air vent is.
So does it does this system perform better? I mean, I’m assuming you’re talking about closed loops, right?
Close that open. Okay. Well, I’ll qualify that I gotta qualify that. Okay, open loops, we can’t remove the air to the point where corrosion will stop.
Right. Okay, that alright, that makes a lot of sense because most of the process chiller applications anyway, with a few exceptions are typically closed loop. So that vortex that air vent, I was totally up to speed with you, as long as your static pressure no pumps running is above atmospheric it would have to be to be able to push that, that air out if you don’t have that pressure in there, it’s just going to want to hang out. So I mean,
actually, it will it still will go up because what happens is the air is buoyant and wants to rise to the top. Yeah. The way the air vent works, it has a float in it. So soon as the air gets into that bowl where the float is and the float drops, air goes out. Okay. Okay, that’s an automatic air release valve.
Okay. Alright, so So let’s talk about I have a suspicion, Mike, that the reason why I think cost is probably correct, you know, why we don’t see mechanical engineers writing these in I know, service contractors, if there’s some on a chiller system, they’re probably not going to think about anything above the old, you know, half and 79 at the air at the high points and good done, right. That’s what they’re gonna do. The only time you’re gonna get an air separator in there is if you got a forward thinking mechanical engineer when he did the original design, and he’s like, Yeah, this is a really good thing. Because the the whole subject of air entrainment and, you know, buildup of contaminants, which I hope we’re going to talk about next. That whole subject is has a very long tail to it, meaning that, you know, once it gets in, you know, you install the piping, install the fluid, you flush all the initial, you know, smoke come out of the system, that’s a technical term, by the way, you get it all ready to go and you charge it with your nitrates, pressurize it a little bit, do you run test, you’re out of there, and you’re getting paid right? On the air? What’s that?
I said, I can make that whole process a lot simpler.
Yeah, so I can see that, you know, it’s not, it’s not the forefront. So let’s talk about let’s talk about some of the pain. So let’s say you have a process Chillar on MRI, running, you know, seven times to 15 Ton, lots of them out there. Mission Critical these things can’t go down. Let’s say we have a scenario where there is no air separator, there’s some automatic air events working or not, we don’t have this product. And we’ve got, you know, copper pipes for the main hatters and you got copper drops come into the cryo equipment. What is the long term impact if you don’t get that air out? I know what it is. But I want you to tell everybody.
Well, with copper, it’s a little different than black pipe. Right? Like pipes are rough. And you’ll end up you got I’ve sent some pictures over of how bad the Ruskin get on a black pipe system. For copper years. Yeah, that’s that’s a stringer. But there’s another picture that has the pipes completely filled with rust.
Yes, I think I have that somewhere.
Anyway. So what it’ll do the air is does several things to the system. One is it blocks heat transfer. So that lowers system efficiency. The second thing is it’ll cause corrosion. Now, will copper pipes corrode as much as steel plates? Probably not. But that’s an issue. And an other one is that any system that’s buttoned up little by little can have dirt get into it. And you want to remove that there. So it doesn’t clog up any of the heat exchange surfaces or valving or control valves. So if you’re talking
about right here, Mike, I got this up,
I guess one picture that Yes. As several types of corrosion going on here. And it’s also you’re looking at scale build up to but yeah, but that’s, you know, regular corrosion. There’s a picture there that shows a pipe that’s half full of rough
Are you a contractor or facilities manager, or maybe even an end user that has to use process chillers as part of your business? And maybe you’re having some short term issues like reliability or energy efficiency issues, or maybe longer term you’re trying to put together a quality maintenance program that makes your machines run more reliably, will process children Academy offers consulting services. And right now we offer a free 30 minute consultation, we’ll talk with one of our engineers. And we’ll help line you up with either short term or long term solutions. To make your equipment run more reliably and keep your processes running, all you have to do is go to the process Tiller academy.com website in you’ll see on the homepage, there’s a link for consulting services. And right on that services page, you will also see how to schedule your FREE 30 minute consultation. So don’t wait, check it out. And we’re looking forward to helping you as soon as we possibly can.
And that one’s sort of got a lot to do with what happens is over time, right now, most of these are iron systems iron pipe system, right? Well, literally, they were literally just disintegrate. We had we had one where you know it fell out a ceiling because it rusted through. You know, worse than worst case scenario we get. We get calls first sweep clear. But half of our installations have been on condenser water systems, right. They get really gummed up with all the crap that a tower can bring in. It’s a basically it’s an air scrubber, right. But on closed systems, the problem there is rusting pipes. We’ve done a couple high rises in downtown Atlanta, where they had water sensors in the in the chases in the corners where the pipes run up and down the building. And in the water seeped out on that floor, they knew to take that wall out, take that section of pipe and replace it. That’s how bad it is. Yeah, and the monumental costs. So if you put sweet queering that stops the day you put sweet, clear, and you’re going to stop that corrosion process. Now, if you already have thin pipes and weeks, you know, we can’t stop that. Right, we can stop it from getting any worse.
So okay, if I’m hearing you correctly, then for the copper installs, the pvc piping system installs that low on all on all applications, closed loop open loop can benefit from your product for air separation, getting the air out, so that’s the third. Well, okay, so that was one of our go with that. So let’s say in this scenario that I created with this MRI, we have copper piping, you definitely get the value of air separation, but what what’s the value of, you know, you’re going to knock down, you’re not going to have the same type of build up on the inside of a copper pipe than you would on a on a steel pipe on process stuff. Now I’m talking below 100 tons. That’s the stuff that that’s where I live forever. And vast majority of those are either going to be copper or PVC pipe, they just are. Um, so is there any corrosion benefits of you know, anti corrosion benefits from your product and those types of plumbing systems? Well,
you got to look at what’s attached to the copper and PVC pipes. If there’s any other metal components, they would be subject to corrosion, that would be one and then your heat exchangers to if they’re whatever they’re made out of our brace plate. Yeah. So basically, you don’t want air in your system. And we get rid of that we get rid of 99.6% air and we can actually prove that, because what we did on a first couple installations, that people said, well, they looked at the wire mesh, and they said that can’t work. No way. So we’ll put it in, if it works, you pay me if it doesn’t work, you don’t pay me, right. So it worked. The guy goes well, and they paid me but then he came back and he said, You know, I really like to know if it’s working or not. So we put an iron coupon in the water system. Basically an our coupons just a bare piece of iron, metal, flat metal. And the idea is that the Chemical Guys use it. And it’s they they weigh the coupon, they put it in the system and they take the take it out every quarter so and weigh it again, and it tells you how fast is corroding right and it loses weight. So they know to add more chemicals to prevent that coupon from corroding. Right. Okay, right. Right. So, so we put it in, we put it in and came back a month later, look that no corrosion, none are all brand new. Right? I just keep looking at it. I’ve just finished looking at it last year, which was five years later, and there’s no corrosion on it. Okay, and the chemical guy is scratching his head. He goes, I can’t be because no matter what the Chemical Guys do, those coupons will corrode, right? So we take we take all the air out, and that improves your heat transfer reduces your corrosion and all that so it’s all good.
Yeah, well, the other thing I like about it is potentially you’re gonna have less delta p you know, cuz that’s another challenge too. Do you put an air separator on there? And that may be why some mechanical engineers are hesitant, because they know that a lot of times, once the systems installed that, you know, whatever you have in the flow of fluid that could potentially attract, you know, dirt and grime is going to turn into a major pressure drop, which eventually is going to turn into a reliability issue. So that, you know, maybe any be part probably a small part of the hesitancy about putting in an air separator. But it would seem that this product, yeah, since it’s made of you said, 316, stainless
3043 or four. Okay, so yes, that’s pretty much the only version and get it in.
Yeah. Okay. So so you’re not going to have any stuff sticking to this, per se. Now, let me ask you this. What if you have downstream? What if you have other types of contaminants that’s making its way in because this, this mesh being so dense and so fine, it seems to me that, you know, you could potentially end up with larger contaminants getting stuck in there. And what comes to mind is these, these brewers, these breweries, they’re in wineries to they’re constantly opening and closing their loops that you know, because they’re disconnecting tanks, opening tanks, they’re doing stuff, and I’ve seen some amazing things, end up his trainers in these in these applications. I mean, if you run across any problems in that area yet, well,
it’s typically on a cooling tower system where it’s open, we recommend putting a strainer in front of the sweep, clear, a 1/8, mesh, strainer, stainless steel Stringer, and that catches that big stuff. So like I talked, I said, we don’t want any Berger rats getting into our Yeah. But anything smaller than that, we’ll just go right through. And what happens is the the really fine dirt particles of whatever whatever they are, get stuck to the wire mesh, but then they do the same thing. They coalesce and fall off. And all the dirt ends up in a bottom a tank, all the areas up in the top of the tank. So the whole thing is basically self cleaning. ran on on conventional water systems, we put automatic blowdown valves that open and dump about a gallon of water out every day, just to purge that tank to keep it clean. The beauty is that the whole whole system with sweet clear, is basically foolproof, that doesn’t require any maintenance, any adjustment, any oversight on it. And totally automatic. Okay, it’s permanent, it’s permanent. Once you once you put it in, it’s there forever.
So what what what’s the lifecycle? I mean, do you have you run into any lifecycle issues on this stuff?
No, no, in fact effects. The main life cycle on this system is we’ve come to a couple of tanks that air separators are supposed to remove moving air to prevent corrosion, right? And you can almost poke your finger through them. Yeah, they’re rusted out. So you know, we tell our by check your tank, if it’s if it’s still intact and not leaking, then you put swapclear in and we’ll stop corrosion in the entire system. So
is there a minimum velocity? I don’t want to get too off in the weeds here. But I get my engineering brain going here. Is there a minimum velocity that you have to run across this suite clear to make it work?
Yeah, a lot, a lot of good questions. We’ve actually tested it because we have a test rig and we can run it slow, we can run it fast we can, we actually got it up to normally you do not want to exceed eight feet per second, you know, in a piping system, for several reasons. But we’ve run across ones that are doing 12 feet per second. And you’re actually making a lot of noise doing it but but then we jacked it down on a hot water system, you’re only doing about four feet per second. And we’ve read all the way down to one foot per second and it still works. So the only thing the only thing in my mind what happens is, the faster you run it, the faster the water repeats going through the tank, right? Since this is not a filter, it’s a separator. So thoroughly remove all the stuff in one pass. So the more passes you get through it, the more and more crap is pulled out of water.
Yeah. Because what I was thinking about Mike is on. I see this as a potential retrofit. But the hard sell on this type of thing, Mike is you’re gonna have to get a very, very aggressive contractor that’s going to go out to their their customers and recommend installing an air separator because it’s just a hard conversation to do. But I’m, I am thinking that maybe somehow this could be retrofit and what what comes to mind for me is we shipped a lot of chillers with a Open plastic tanks there. So we did research system. So you have two pumps, you have a pump drawn off the tank, up through the evaporator. And there’s there’s a strainer on that line, of course, and then back to the tank, and then we have a separate pump that will pull fluid out of the tank out to the process. And it would seem to me that I mean, there was a lot of turbulence because we, we figured a minimum of two and a half GPM per ton. But you know, a lot of times it was way more than that. So there was a lot of turbulence in these open tanks, and these open tanks would have these big spin off caps on it. Right. So I just be curious if you could, you know, come up with some type of, you know, I don’t know some type of an apparatus that would join these things together on some kind of a hook. Right? So it just basically floats around in the tank. And it’s and it hooks over the lip of the opening. And, you know, it can easily be retrofitted into a high turbulence. I don’t know, it’s not going to be a cyclone, but it’ll be a high turbulence tank. I’m wondering if you know that this could be a possible retrofit type thing?
Absolutely. We the very first one, we we retrofit, it was at an elementary school in Atlanta. And they did not have a tangential air separator. They had what’s called an inline air separator. So the pipe came in in the middle of the tank and left the middle of the thing. Okay. And that that is and what reason why that exists is because the other company had a patent on air on a tangential air separator. So nobody, nobody else could do a tangential air separator for 15 years. So these in lines came up everybody. So this is a poor man’s version of it. Well, it is a total total piece of whatever it put the guy that’s what a guy when we did it, I said, Look, I’ll guarantee it works. But don’t work don’t pay me. And I was I kept my fingers crossed. Because that didn’t have a tangential air separator. You know, it was a written line. It worked just as well, in one month’s time that systems absolutely clear. So it’ll work on any system where the water’s flowing through it. So your big tank, filled the whole tank with a wire mesh from from top to bottom, and let the water flow through it and all the dirt will end up in the bottom and all the air will go at the top you put an air release valve on it, you turn it, turn it into it, turn it into an air dirt separator.
Well, you wouldn’t need an air release on these tanks, because it’s got an open vented cap on it anyway, it’s it’s just gonna
open so it’s open atmosphere, then, yeah. Oh, well, if it’s open to atmosphere, then you really can’t get all the air out. But we can take the dirt out.
Right? I mean, I’m just looking at Retrofit opportunities. That’s all yes. You know, the other thing is, um, yeah, I have some children manufacturers that listen to me. Listen to the podcast, I The other thing I was thinking about is if you buy a closed loop, like in our case, we used a company called schellenger. They’re out of Pennsylvania, little pitch there. They’re excellent. And they, they used to build our, our pressure rated tanks. And one of the things I always liked about those guys is we could have ports put in, um, we had jobs that had you know, special needs or whatever. Um, so I’m, you know, I’m wondering, okay, what is the diameter of one of these MeSH? MeSH things?
Well, it’s made to match the diameter of the pipe. So if the tank has a 10 inch opening, the diameter of the mesh is 10 inches.
Okay, what’s the smallest? Can you get down to two inches?
Yes, yeah, we just we just shipped a whole bunch of two inch ones. Okay, go from we go from two to 36 inch. Now once once we get over 24 inch, then that’s, that’s the largest coil we can make. Yeah, we fill a 3636 inch tank up with a whole bunch of 24 inch coils.
Okay, because I was just thinking experiment if you could have a any I’m just spitballing here, Mike. I’m liberal. Yeah, I’m just trying to think about this. So it’d be pretty easy for a chiller manufacturer as they’re making, you know, getting their pressurized tanks made to put a two and a half inch port on there. Okay, just just a just a threaded port, you stick a plug on it. Right? You seem to me that if you could come up with something that’s a two inch mesh, that maybe through the center of these things, it has a you know, a thread or a tube or something like that, where you can you can daisy chain these all the way into the tank, as many as you want. You could spec how many that you need. And then those can be pulled out for inspection at some time. Right? Using using some some type. So it’s sort of like a rod, if you will. And that that would be I think, again, you know, there’s two audiences here. I think it would benefit from knowing about this product would be the mechanical engineers out there who design and they can they can put these air separators in which I’m a big fan of but on the other side of it if you’ve got you know, ah EAC refrigerant refrigeration contractors out there, they’re doing process chiller work, they can, you know, potentially retrofit an existing system without having to sell the customer on an air separator. So
okay, sure, if you could send me a schematic or sketch of what that system looks like, I could mark it up for it and you’re good to work. Yeah. Okay, that’s good. It just, there’s one only one caveat for sweet quitter. We do not have an NSF rating. I don’t know how many times we’ve been asked to put it on potable water systems to get the dirt out, especially on a well systems. And I know it work, but we can’t do because we don’t have NSF.
Yeah, I don’t think that’s a huge deal. But, um, alright, so let’s talk about value proposition. Before we wrap things up. So what? What’s the payback on this stuff? I mean, you guys, you have a few. How many systems do you have out there running this thing now? Roughly? got several 100. Okay. And what’s the value proposition like, on a return on investment? So let’s say you get, you get somebody that will put our retrofit aside for a minute, let’s say they have a traditional air separator on the system? And what’s the value proposition as in return on investment when they buy this product for, let’s say, a 50 ton or 100 ton system? I don’t care if it’s on the condenser side, or, or, or closed loop side. But what what’s the payback on this thing?
Well, most of our systems have been sold, because stringers get clogged. Okay, and they have, they have a price associated with unclogging and stringers, as a pretty quickly maintenance cost. So that’s one, that’s one that a engineer running a facility can see I got to pay this guy every month to come out clean the strainers. Or you put the sweep, where’s the six inch swapclear to coil, Okay, looks like we put that in, and that strainer will never ever get clogged again. Okay, you can just write that on your bottom line. That’s number one. Number two on closed systems, we reduce the energy usage by at least 10%. A lot of the papers published from our competitors and other places, they show like 30% or more, but we’re conservative, we say 10%, you’ll you’ll drop your energy bill by 10% on your air conditioning.
So that is that’s because of the you’re not building up the air, air film and the right, the minerals and all that kind of stuff.
Right. And there’s actually a product on the market, there’s several of them, kind of like glycol type products are there. When you call it, they send the water out, they make it make the Water Wetter. Right and, and they they they’re pretty interesting how they work they d increase energy efficiency by transfer, moving the little tiny microscopic air bowls that are attached to the pipe away from the plate because the the solution is wet enough to do that push the water out, or air bubbles out away. We actually tested one a guy, I tried to hook up with a guy and he sent me a sample and I put it in our demo unit. And our demo unit stopped working. We moved here because the because it made the wire mesh so wet that the will air bubbles wouldn’t stick to it. Perfect Asian. Okay, so
let me ask you this, if if with this product, would you be able to avoid having to use chemicals?
Well, remember, sweep clay removes air and dirt. Right? Your problems. The other problems with hydronic systems, whether open or closed, or scaling, biofilm and bacteria, right? We can address those. There’s another product on the market. It’s okay to say what it is here. Yeah, yeah, we’ve actually teamed up with and we’ve done a bunch of installations together is called hydro flow. And it’s an electronic water treatment system. You look it up on the internet, you combine hydro flow and swapclear together, and now you don’t need chemicals. Right? But what will happen is you got to say that sort of tongue in cheek because of liability and all that we recommend, if you have a chemical system, put hydrophone swapclear on and then just back off on the chemicals, maybe one template you’re using, and just use them as a backup, which you probably don’t have need because hydroflow and sweep clear are both no maintenance systems, right for permanent governance, nothing to do with anything. We’re just so you know, so we can theoretically eliminate the need for chemicals and there’s there’s been quite a few things published and by large outfits that manufacture chillers and all that I’ve actually published a letter to hydroflow Saying that we’ve used this technology and we no longer using chemical Yeah. Yeah, just just a thought. Yeah, what I like about it is I like it. It’s the KISS principle, you know, use technology and you don’t have to food anymore. Whereas for chemicals, you got to worry about, are they using the right chemicals or using the right amount? Are they putting in the right time? They got this guy know what he’s doing? And all right. And we just did one for Georgia Tech. We’re on a conventional water system. We’re supposed to they had chemicals in and the whole system got clogged. Well, they cut the pipes loose eight inch pipes, and they were half full rust. Right? Yeah, obviously wasn’t working too well.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I think this this product is a good idea. Mike, I think that there’s a lot of channels for this. Um, you know, so yeah, this is this is really interesting. Well, before we wrap things up, Mike, how do people interested for the contractors and the tax and the engineers out there, they want to reach out to you and get more data on this sweet, clear product or this hydroflow thing you were talking about? How do they get ahold
of you? Oh, the easiest way is just go to our website swapclear.com And on that website, we’ve got a six minute video that explains the whole technology and the history of it to explains what’s going on and with a corrosion in the dirt in a hydronic system. And at the end of the website, we have a contact you can contact us via just a button you hit Yep. And or, or Yeah, it’s out. You just call me my phone numbers 678-458-6906 and my email is Mike dot Mullard Am I ll ARD at Sweet clear calm
Very good. Well what I’ll do for the audience out there I will put links to the Sweet clear site as well as a couple of videos those videos that Mike is talking about I’ll put the YouTube links on the show notes for this particular episode. And I think this is a this is interesting product he got because I remember we ran into a lot of issues in the field where you know the chillers working fine the process is doing what it’s supposed to do. But because of air entrainment and we had a lot of issues with pump impellers which we didn’t really touch on but air is not your friend in a closed loop environment it’s just not it’s just a roll. Roll tough thing to get out well this episode of the process children Pro is a wrap as they say. Thanks so much for joining me today. I’m very much looking forward to developing relationship with you and seeing if I can help you in your career path as much as I possibly can. I’m looking forward to hearing from you on LinkedIn where I’m at most of the time I’m also on all the social networks. You can also send me emails at M King at process chiller. academy.com and I will see you next week for our next installment of the process. Chiller pro podcast. You have a great week and go get them out there. I’ll talk to you soon.