Innovation in action: a new way to renew wastewater tanks
Posted by Elisabeth Casas Bolivar - 23 September, 2022
MasterSeal 7000 CR is a good example of how to succeed in a change of era that requires us to innovate in the way we take decisions, especially for water preservation.
No future without innovation
We live in an era of continuous transformation, learning and reinventing ourselves almost daily. Every day we make choices, ideally, ones that lead to more sustainable solutions: lower environmental impact, lower cost and positive social impacts which can be maintained over time.
With water becoming a scarce resource around the globe, even in regions not traditionally prone to drought, each decision around its preservation becomes vital in securing the water supply of tomorrow.
It was with this in mind that Master Builders Solution developed MasterSeal 7000 CR, launched in 2017, to solve the unmet challenges of protecting concrete structures in wastewater treatment plants effectively. Based on our own Xolutec technology, the innovation found in MasterSeal 7000 CR lies in its combination of crack-bridging properties with the level of chemical resistance required in each stage of the current processes of treating urban wastewater. Its novel resin technology gives it a high tolerance to moisture so that it can be applied on very damp substrates by spray or roller providing a quick curing system.
The result is longer-lasting structures and, crucially, less downtime planned or unplanned. But how can organisations adopt new technology such as this? Change can be a long and difficult process.
Below, we take you through the five stages of innovation that are needed for effective change management, using our experiences with MasterSeal 7000 CR to illustrate the process.
The Innovation-Decision Process
The five stages in the innovation-decision process were defined by Everett Rogers , They are (1) knowledge, (2) persuasion, (3) decision, (4) implementation, and (5) confirmation, stages which typically follow each other in a time-ordered manner.
The 5 stages of an innovation-decision process by Everett Rogers
However, Rogers one of the most influential writers in the field of innovation, claims that it is difficult to get a new idea adopted even if it has an obvious advantage .
If you are reading this article, you are probably interested in knowing about an innovation you can adopt right now which will help combating what is known as the biggest enemy of plant operators: unanticipated downtime.
Anyone looking to introduce a new idea or technology into an organisation needs to come armed with the facts. This is an important stage because stakeholders need to feel they have enough information to help them in the decision-making process.
When it comes to refurbishing a concrete tank, although advances have been made in concrete design and admixtures, concrete itself is not sufficiently resistant to the aggressive substances present in wastewater. The composition of wastewater has been changing over recent years due to water-saving measures which means that acids and other harmful substances in the water are more concentrated. Traditional protection systems were not designed to deal with these new, much more aggressive conditions.
Additionally, water levels within tanks and containers are changing more often and by bigger amounts due to fluctuations in weather conditions and temperature. With more frequently changing loads and thermal variations, we all understand that concrete can crack. But so too can a rigid protective coating exposed to these same conditions.
The persuasion stage sees individuals trying to assess the potential value of adopting an innovation. Will it save them time, will it save money, will it ensure that a process is done to a higher standard?
Facts and figures are important during this stage. For a product such as MasterSeal 7000 CR, it is vital to find out what tests have been done to ascertain its performance and what formal accreditations and certifications it has received. For MasterSeal 7000 CR, we can be sure of its waterproofing properties keeping intact after an exposure to a period of time equivalent to 5 years in the real conditions to a sewer, as tested in the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany.
You can find all the test reports and technical performance data for MasterSeal 7000 CR here: https://masterseal-7000cr.master-builders-solutions.com/
Although the decision to use a new system may be taken by a small group of people, it is important that all those who will be working in a new way feel involved in that process. Being a pioneer is a cool tag, but it can involve more work initially, as well as time spent in research, evaluation and applying lessons learned.
At Master Builders Solutions, we have technical experts around the world who can advise decision-makers and stakeholders about a tailored and complete solution involving our innovative technology and its application across a wide range of projects, climates and structures. The specialist firms who apply our technology are also an important part of the change process; we would urge you to talk to them, find out their experiences and ask them about their existing customers and previous projects.
On the left, the strong concrete degradation due to the biogenic sulfuric acid (BSA) corrosion can be appreciated.
On the right, the same tank is waterproofed with MasterSeal 7000 CR.
Those introducing an innovation should look for ways to limit the risk of failure. These could include training, pilot schemes and sharing early successes between different groups.
One of the earliest adopters of MasterSeal 7000 CR was a water operator who found out about the new technology through a university professor whom they had asked to evaluate all the different concrete protection technologies for wastewater tanks after seeing them all fail in the previous years. It was just before the formal launch of our new technology, but the professor knew about MasterSeal 7000 CR and the water company trusted his opinion and all available supporting documentation to go with our new technology.
In October 2016, the operator was able to apply the new coating system to a deteriorating concrete tank, despite heavy rain and high humidity, and to return the tank to operation in a timescale that they previously thought impossible.
in the same wastewater treatment plant
This stage of the change process involves evaluating whether the goals set when introducing an innovation have been met. If people are using a new process or technology, without reverting to old ways, that is a good form of confirmation.
The water operator referenced above adopted the new MasterSeal 7000 CR system for all planned refurbishment works after that first trial project. They have already been benefiting from their innovative approach for six years.
And since that first, pioneering use of MasterSeal 7000 CR, it has been used successfully in many different projects around the world.
You can check the complete list of job references around the world here: https://water-infrastructure-experiences.master-builders-solutions.com/references
Remember, taking decisions now is not just about the price you pay today, it is about the price the whole world will pay tomorrow.
We would love to hear from you, whether you have questions, comments or ideas on how we can help you take better decisions for a better tomorrow.
I(1) INNOVATION THINKING SYSTEM; Article Innovation Decision Process, published on March 30, 2021, by Business Consultants, Inc. Available at: https://its.bconglobal.com/resources/innovation-decision-process-1
[(2) INNOVATION THINKING SYSTEM; eBook How New Ideas Spread (Part 1), published on November 2021 by Business Consultants, Inc. Available at: https://its.bconglobal.com/resources/how-new-ideas-spread-part-1