Articles & Case Studies

Midnight installation of ABB drives brings Welsh Water back on stream

Posted: Thursday 3rd October 2013

Overnight work by ABB drives supplier APDS allowed Welsh Water to continue to serve its customers after two variable-speed drives failed at its Tynywaun water treatment works.

The treatment works, near Treorchy in South Wales, has a capacity of 10 mega litres a day to serve the upper Rhondda Vall ey. The works uses two variable-speed drives for the interstage pumps, in a duty/standby operation. The duty drive suffered a failure and when the pumping load was switched to the standby drive, this also failed. The drives had been in operation for 15 years since the water treatment works was built and were reaching the end of their lives.

When the second failure occurred, at around 7:00 pm, Marek Cegielski, Welsh Water’s mechanical, electrical and instrumentation supervisor for the region was faced with a major problem. With no pumping capacity, by 7:00 am the next day the area would run out of water as stored capacity would be exhausted.

Says Cegielski: “Initially, I called our incumbent drives supplier, but they told me they could only get a drive to me following a four week lead time.”

Leaving the area without a water supply for this long was not feasible. If the pumps could not be brought back on-line by the following morning, the only other option was to bring water in by tanker. The tankering of water causes extra vehicles on the already congested roads in the area, as well as being expensive and not environmentally friendly. Says Cegielski: “I called our capital investment team who recommended calling APDS, as they had done previous installations for us and we were already considering ABB as a drives supplier under a new framework contract.”

APDS, based in Bristol, is an ABB Authorized Value Provider. When he got the call from Welsh Water at 8.00 pm, APDS’ Sales and Marketing Manager Alan Jones responded to get the drives to the site as soon as possible. “I loaded two ABB ACS800 75 kW drives and reached the site at around midnight,” says Jones. “By 5:00 am, we had the drives up and running and pumping water, before the first tanker was due to arrive.”

Adds Cegielski: “Alan pulled out all the stops to get us back in action. At first I did not have much hope that we could be back on-line by the morning, but Alan and APDS sorted it all out in the middle of the night and we have had no problems with the ABB drives since they were installed.

“We have since used ABB drives on several other installations and the company is now a preferred supplier for variable-speed drives.”

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August 2021

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