Motion Control & Drives


Intelligent pumping cuts maintenance

July 2011 Motion Control & Drives

The installation of an AC drive with advanced software tools dramatically cut blockages at an Irish council pumping station.

Control Techniques’ IPC Lite software has been fitted to a Commander SK AC drive at a pumping station at Kelly’s Bay in North County Dublin. The solution has cut callouts from ‘ragging’, the fouling of a pump’s impeller, from a weekly occurrence to just once since it was installed six months ago.

Ragging is a long-standing nuisance that eats up thousands of hours of maintenance time in sewage pumping stations and wastewater treatment plants around the world. At the Kelly’s Bay pumping station, two variable speed drives control the main and standby pumps: “The pumping station would run for a couple of weeks and then we would get three or four call-outs in a week,” explains supervisor Jim McGuiness. “So, when it was time to replace one of the existing 15 kW Control Techniques AC drives, Control Techniques’ Drive Centre in Newbridge suggested that we had the IPC Lite software loaded. It has worked extremely well, before the software we switched between the two pumps weekly to spread the load from a maintenance point of view. However, since August we have run just the one pump with the IPC Lite software and monitored its performance by telemetry, maintenance costs have reduced dramatically.”

Call-outs for blockages at Kelly’s Bay took an average of two hours to clear, a significant maintenance burden and one that has been virtually removed. The pump now runs around the clock with IPC Lite providing early warnings of ragging and initiating cleaning routines when required.

IPC Lite is an in-drive solution to ragging that provides early ‘predictive’ detection of a problem as well as initiating a client-defined cleaning cycle. It measures onboard active current and calculates real torque every millisecond. As soon as it sees a change, remedial action is taken to remove the potential blockage. The cleaning routine is configurable via parameters and a manual cleanse can be triggered by staff anytime if required. To prevent repeated cleaning in the event of a major blockage, the system has a detection of successive cleansing functions with lock-out and alarm indication.

IPC Lite can be tailored to suit individual pumping stations; in this case a level sensor was added to trigger high speed pumping in times of flooding. It also features advanced pressure and flow monitoring to check performance, since even with clean pumps, low flow can indicate other problems.

For more information contact Bill Tedd, Control Techniques, +27 (0)11 462 1740, bill.tedd@emerson.com, www.controltechniques.co.za



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