James Hallatt, sales and service engineer at Xion Water Solutions explores how scale build up can be a major contributor to catering equipment breakdowns and how manufacturers can minimise its effects:

Water is a fundamental element in everything that we do, but with around 60% of the UK in a hard water area, scale is a common problem for those manufacturing kitchen equipment.

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Unfortunately, the detrimental effect of hard water on catering equipment is not an issue that is widely discussed by many working within the industry.

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Yet it is reported to have caused 70% of beverage machine breakdowns in the UK alone last year.

The science is simple – when hard water is heated, limescale will precipitate out of solution and form deposits due to the high levels of minerals present, such as calcium and magnesium.

While scale on some parts of the equipment may be visible to the eye, other areas may be affected without anyone realising.

Once scale has built up, equipment will be more expensive to operate and eventually begin to breakdown, causing disruption to operation and expensive repairs that could have all been avoided.

A good example is glasswashing machines; hard water can scratch the surface of the glass resulting in costly replacements, as well as scale building up on the machinery itself, which can block water jets and result in downtime.

Machines such as boilers, coffee makers and dishwashers use water regularly as part of their functionality, with some using up to 30,000litres a year.