Articles & Case Studies

Plant protection using remote technology

Posted: Friday 7th July 2006

New technology from ITT Flygt’s Monitoring & Control division installed within Abbey Mills, one of the largest sewage pumping stations in the Thames Water region and in the UK, will provide considerable repair and maintenance savings for the customer. Water Active talks more to Nigel Kenton, Flygt’s product support team leader.

Steeped in history, Abbey Mills pumping station in East London was originally built and designed by Joseph Bazalgette in 1868. A new Pumping Station was built on site in the mid 1990s as part of an upgrade to London's sewerage system to serve in excess of six million people. The station lifts the sewage arriving in two low lying sewers by 40ft (13m) to join the gravity flows from the higher areas of north London onto Beckton Sewage Treatment Works.

Some of the world's largest submersible pumps are housed within four wells receiving the flows from two different sewers within the station. Sixteen Flygt CP3800 pumps are each rated at 375Kw running on a 660 Volt supply and can achieve a duty of 2.12 m3/s at a total head of 12.0 meters.

In order to reduce operational costs ten years after their initial installation, Thames Water and its framework partner, Engenica, looked to Flygt to suggest a way of minimising the number of unplanned visits to the pump station. Flygt’s new Monitoring and Status system (MAS), the MAS 711, was put forward.

Nigel Kenton, explains, “The MAS 711 pump protection and monitoring system is designed to monitor and record events using a built-in web server enabling information to be viewed quickly and easily. By utilising this system over a pump unit’s lifetime, reliability is increased and un-planned maintenance costs can be significantly reduced.”

“The MAS 711 system consists of a base unit located within the control panel, an operator panel for user interaction and a memory chip located in the cable connection housing of the pump.”

“The units have been developed by Flygt’s Monitoring & Control department to allow sensors to be installed within the pumps to produce data from a range of parameters and accurately record operational patterns and trends.”

“Additional sensors were retrofitted into the existing pumps so Thames Water and Engenica can gain a true time picture of the pumps’ operational status, particularly in terms of temperature, blockages (vibration), power consumption etc. This way it can be better understood why some pumps have operational difficulties and allow the cause to be investigated. This data is displayed via the built-in web server to enable trending and data logging functions to be achieved. From this logged data the operator can analyse and plan preventative maintenance.”

“One of the new sensors, a pump mounted memory chip, stores data applicable to the pump, i.e. serial number, hours run etc. This assists the operators to track the pumps if they are moved from location to location in the different pump wells.”

“In addition to the memory chip being retrofitted into the existing pumps, a new sensor specifically designed to be used with the MAS System - a Vibration Sensor - was also fitted into the pump junction box. This monitors the rate of vibration and provides an indication of the running condition of the pump. Excessive vibration readings can indicate problems with the bearings, the impeller being out of balance, or debris caught on or around the impeller vane.”

“Settings for the specific selection of sensors are loaded into the memory module located within the connection housing of the pump. These settings are then uploaded to the MAS base unit at installation, greatly simplifying setup. All the information gathered by the system can be viewed at any time via a standard web browser using a function called ‘web tool’ (embedded web pages). A quick overview gives the operator a snapshot of the unit’s status and all the installed monitoring functions are presented in a list, showing current status and measurement results. Any triggered alarm can be analysed and pump settings changed in order to optimise operation.”

Commenting on the success of the MAS system since installed, Martin Coddling, engineer for Engenica, says, “The MAS system monitors the pump’s temperature, leakage, and vibration. It also produces alarms to advise that the unit should be manually or automatically shut down to stop the unit from running if certain limits are exceeded, thereby avoiding costly repairs.

“Alarms are listed on a browser page linked to an alarm plot (‘black box’) function, which can be used for troubleshooting and maintenance, thus providing us with detailed information nine minutes immediately prior to the alarm event and one minute after.”

Using Flygt Monitoring & Control’s technology, the stand alone network was configured to provide access to the MAS data from any PC on the customer’s own internal network (LAN), or even via the Internet, thereby enabling the Operations Team to monitor the Abbey Mills installation remotely. By utilising the data collected by the MAS system, Engenica can produce its own trends which will highlight any unusual readings and therefore provide advance warning of any possible problems.

In view of the MAS unit’s ability to monitor operational data collected by the sensors mounted within the pump and the fact that the Operations Team can change the alarm limits of the individual sensors based on the historical running of the pumps, Engenica can be assured of the protection of the plant whilst unscheduled and costly maintenance visits are kept to a minimum.

Contact Details

Joanne Houghton

ITT Flygt Ltd

Tel: 0115 940 0111
Fax: 0115 940 0444

E-mail -
Web -

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