IMC – the engine driving innovation at Organica

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Posted on November 10, 2016

Intensive Measurement Campaigns, or IMCs for short, are a set of heavily focused efforts in collecting a set of technical data and measurments, that are not typical methods in our industry, but Organica Water is not a typical wastewater solution provider, either.

We have a relatively large Technical Innovation team covering process and product development needs that are guided by our sales teams’ inputs from their direct market experiences. In order to support our innovations and ideas that address these market needs, we have a dedicated R&D Center in Telki, Hungary. This small town has its own Organica WWTP for 12 years now, efficiently treating the wastewater of the 8000 citizens who live there.

The full-scale R&D Center is adjacent to the Telki wastewater treatment facility. It began as only one small pilot system ran by a single Organican who is on maternity leave with her second baby, and is still working for us as a senior process development engineer for almost 11 years now.

Thanks to several EU grants and the investment from Organica’s own side in continuous applied research, we now possess a 500 m2 R&D Center running with 5 full-time employees and 4 to 6 continuously-changing pilot systems. Every week we process at least 60 wastewater and other samples and at least 300 measurements are carried out. These data points are then compiled in databases, evaluated, reconciled and finally handed over to the respective department to fine tune the models, make decisions in manufacturing or just simply to confirm or (as often happens in the field of applied research) drop ideas coming from all over the company.

Other than helping to further develop Organica’s core processes, there are some very innovative tools we have created, which would not have been possible without such a facility at our fingertips.  For example, when the OCS (Organica Central Station) concept was born we worked to create something not only the people at Organica but a significant part of the wastewater industry have never seen – a completely automated online design generator that produces a full set of proposal-level design documents of our facilities (FCR) in less than 24 hours. To develop this design generator, we collected tremendous amounts of data to calibrate our biological model running under OCS during the critical process sizing step. After running FCR pilots in steady state for months we carefully chose different periods representing a wide range of operational conditions then triggered our Intensive Measurement Campaigns accordingly.

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The results spoke for themselves. We collected weeks of high-resolution lab measurement results at different conditions as well as literally thousands of online sensor data points. After carefully sorting and filtering this vast amount of data, we handed it over to our Process Engineering Department, enabling them to calibrate the model running under OCS and eventually get one step closer to the global launch of Organica’s unique online design generator which has been leveling the playing field ever since.

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