After being closed for long, spas, open-air water parks, and swimming pools are finally opening, just in time for the start of the season. Following the government’s sudden – albeit long-awaited – announcement, the whole sector has been revving up to open its doors thanks to the good weather. The rush is being felt not only by operators but also by suppliers, who have to restart equipment in the engine room that have been out of action for months. In addition to the considerable costs involved, restarting requires attention to several subtle details. According to the President of the Hungarian Pools & Baths Association, the cost of restarting large spas can be around HUF 8-12 million. (Világgazdaság) We asked András Diós, managing director of Neptun Filter, about the lessons of the past few months and the outlook for the coming months.
Draining pools could have serious consequences
Water systems of pools are basically designed for wet use.
Draining a pool completely can damage tiling and components, which can result in extra costs when restarting, so it is important to keep the pool dry only until there is no serious damage about to occur. The maximum of this dry period is usually one week. In drained pools, the concrete and tiling may dry out completely, causing several construction issues to surface. As for the water system, dry gaskets and pipes remaining underwater are the main sources of issues.
For example, it is not at all recommended to drain pools lined with foil, as the foil can easily shrink from the heat of the sun and tear wall fittings (e.g. diffusers) during contraction.
The water treatment system behind the pools
As a supplier to high-end spas and water parks, these are busy times for Neptun Filter
Neptun Filter has been on the market as a specialist in swimming and public pool solutions since 2017, while founder András Diós has 20 years of experience in water treatment and pool engineering. His vision with the company was not only to provide technologically impeccable solutions to his clients but also to optimize maintenance costs. Neptun Filter was founded in this spirit and has been a supplier of swimming pool equipment and water treatment solutions for such prestigious facilities as Tiszavirág Sport Swimming Pool in Szeged, Downtown Sports Center in Budapest, and the 2019 Budapest World Pentathlon Championships.
Neptun Filter’s main interest is the trade of swimming pool equipment and related services: consulting, design, installation, and commissioning of the products. Their main products include Defender perlite filters, HEXAGONE pool cleaning robots, STENNER peristaltic chemical dosing pumps, GENIUS automatic measuring and control systems, and a wide range of other accessories and tools for swimming pools and wet environments (swimming pool experience products, fitness equipment, playground products, products for institutional water treatment).
Solutions supporting automation are gaining ground
The current situation has highlighted the need for flexibility in operation of spas and baths. While it used to be possible to plan exactly when to open at the beginning of the season, last year there has been little to plan for. More and more operators are realizing that by automating certain tasks, not only can they adapt more easily to unexpected events, but overall maintenance can be more efficient. No wonder there is a growing demand for pool cleaning and artificial grass maintenance robots, as well as chemical metering and control automation.
Hexagone pool cleaning robot at work
Pool cleaning and maintenance robots
Collecting dirt that has accumulated on the bottom or walls of the pool is now possible with underwater robotic vacuum cleaners. Pool cleaning robots use their side brushes to sweep up dust and dirt from the walls and joints and suck it up into the vacuum cleaner bags. Built on a stainless steel frame, the extra-durable HEXAGONE robots are fully customizable in terms of filtration fineness and program. Cleaning pools with complex geometries is no effort at all, as they can be controlled like a remote-controlled model car.
“The HEXAGONE Peps model is a great favorite with our customers. It’s fast to drive and gives you the absolute experience of a remote-controlled model car,” the founder said.
Maintenance robot for artificial grass
Robots can also be used for the maintenance of artificial turf football pitches and grass carpets. The HEXAGONE BUKY straightens grass blades and rubber granules, moreover it even changes the number of granules if necessary. With regular maintenance, the useful life of the artificial turf can be doubled, not to mention the labor time saved.
Chemical measuring and controlling automations
Manual chlorine and pH control is a thing of the past in communal pools, much greater precision and efficiency can be achieved with centralized chemical storage and chemical measuring and control systems. With centralized chemical storage, storage tanks are set up in a central location in the facility, from where dosing pumps are used to deliver the required chemicals and mix them with water in the mechanical circuit.
Automatic chemical metering and control systems ensure precise dosing. A standard pH probe or chlorine cell and chlorine probe continuously measures the chlorine level and pH value in the water and controls the chemical dosing.
Increased operational safety and efficiency
The trend is clear: facility managers are placing greater value on operational safety and cost-effective operation. Neptun Filter is tailoring its product range to optimize the operating costs of baths over its entire life cycle, focusing on products from manufacturers that are reliable and practical to operate. A good example is the Defender perlite filter, whose technology means that a given water flow rate requires significantly less space, less drain connection diameter, less makeup water, and fewer chemicals.
Choosing the right technology is therefore critical, both at the design stage and when renovating or replacing mechanical components, to ensure that operating costs are significantly reduced over a number of years.