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OptiPure OP System - When you need it, what it does & how it works.

If you are considering the purchase of an OptiPure OP Reverse Osmosis system, or if you already own one, here is a basic description to help you understand what the system does and how it works.

When do I need an OP system?

No matter how sophisticated your espresso machine, coffee brewer, steam oven or other commercial foodservice equipment you cannot avoid the demons that may lurk in the water they use. An array of different minerals are dissolved in water; which ones, and how much depends on where your water comes from. The right amount of some of these minerals, which are commonly referred to as TDS (total dissolved solids) are necessary for water to have a good chemical balance; but too much scale-forming calcium, corrosive chloride or other dissolved solids can wreak havoc with equipment and ruin beverages.

In order to select the right water filtration for any application you must know the basic characteristics of the water chemistry at your location. You can have it analyzed by a lab or you can often get the information directly from your water utility. When the amount or scope of contaminants is more than basic filtration can handle, or if you are required to meet manufacturers specific water quality requirements for warranty purposes, an OptiPure OP system might be the perfect solution.

What does the OP System do?

In a nutshell, the OptiPure OP system removes the majority (95% plus) of everything from water including suspended particles, organic chemicals and dissolved minerals. Pure water is ‘natures solvent’ and, as we discussed earlier, needs some dissolved minerals to be balanced. So, once most of the impurities are stripped out of the water a special blend of minerals is dissolved back in to give it the balance it wants. This ‘optimized’ water drastically reduces the potential for scale or corrosion with equipment and has the minerals essential for consistent, great tasting espresso, coffee and tea.

How does the OP System work?

The OptiPure “OP system” includes a processor that produces optimized water, a storage tank to hold the water and a repressurization pump to deliver it to equipment. The system utilizes several water treatment technologies including reverse osmosis.. Here is a more detailed breakdown of how it

works.

Produce Optimized Water for your commercial foodservice operation

Step #1 – Pre-filtration

OptiPure CTO pre-filters take out dirt, sediment and other suspended particulates down to 0.5 micron and reduce chlorine and organic chemicals. A primary purpose of pre-filtration is to protect the RO (reverse osmosis) membrane against contaminants that can damage it. Water with high levels of water hardness may require additional pre-treatment such as a water softener. Replacing the pre-filters on a routine schedule ensures consistent system performance and extends membrane life.

OP350 Pre-Filters Pre-Filters

Pre-Filters

Step #2 – Reverse Osmosis

After pre-filtration water goes into the OptiPure AMS RO membrane where most (95%+) of the dissolved minerals (TDS) are removed. Reverse osmosis is a separation process where pure water molecules are forced, under pressure, through the membrane. The dissolved minerals cannot pass through and are flushed away to the drain. Water that has passed through pre-filtration and RO has had a wide range of contaminants removed including suspended particles, and dissolved minerals.

OP350 RO Membrane Reverse Osmosis Membrane

Reverse Osmosis Membrane

Step #3 – Mineral Addition

By nature water that has no (or very little) dissolved minerals is out of balance and aggressive. The OptiPure Mineral Addition cartridge allows the pure water from the membrane to dissolve a balance of specific minerals back into the water. The result is ‘optimized’ water with a non-aggressive nature with equipment, and a good balance of minerals that are desirable for coffee extraction and other beverages.

OP350 Mineral Addition Mineral Addition Cartridge

Mineral Addition Cartridge

Storage Tank

Producing water utilizing reverse osmosis is a slow process that does not make water fast enough to meet the needs of equipment. The storage tank is a clean environment where the optimized water is stored until called for. It includes  a 0.2 micron absolute air filter to protect the optimized water against airborne contaminants and a low water level cut-out switch to protect the pump.

Repressurization Pump (RP)

When your espresso machine, coffee brewer or combi steam oven call for water the RP pump draws it from the storage tank and delivers it to your equipment. The RP design allows it to efficiently deliver optimized water at a consistent pressure and flow rate to a single piece of equipment or to several different points-of-use at the same time.

Post-Filtration

There are a couple of optional post-treatment filters to consider depending on your application and water chemistry.

To add a final ‘polish’ to water used for beverages and ice it is passed through an activated carbon post-filter just prior to use. This assures that any taste or odor that might be picked up from the storage tank or distribution plumbing  is unable to affect the quality and consistency of beverages.

About half the water supplies in the U.S. use chloramine as a disinfectant and with some applications, such as combi and steam ovens, it is desirable to remove it. This pesky chemical can sneak through an RO membrane, however when needed; a special chloramine post-filter is a simple add-on to the OP system to remove it.  

Simple Operation

There are three basic operator interfaces:

  1. Water Quality Monitor – By pushing the ‘in’ button, the water quality monitor allows you to see the TDS of the water coming from the storage tank on the way to your equipment. By pushing the ‘out’ button you can check the performance of the RO membrane.
  2. Operating Pressure Gauge – You can see the water pressure at the RO membrane following the pre-filters. Monitoring the operating pressure allows you to see if the pre-filters are becoming loaded and need to be replaced.
  3. System Bypass Valve – Should there be any problem that causes a loss of water, a simple quarter turn of the big red valve on the processor will keep you up and running until the problem is resolved.

The OptiPure OP is a complete and simple to operate reverse osmosis water treatment system designed for commercial foodservice applications. It can transform problematic scale-forming or corrosion-causing water into “optimized water” that protects your equipment against expensive, damaging problems and that has the right chemistry for the specialty coffee beverages.

In an upcoming blog we will discuss the routine maintenance and trouble-shooting procedures for the OP systems.

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