Articles & Case Studies

Simocode creates a splash at Welsh Water

Posted: Monday 15th January 2007

The use of Simocode from Siemens Automation & Drives at a water treatment plant in mid-Wales has saved the utility company over £50,000 in civil construction costs thanks to a significant reduction in the resulting panel size.

Having identified the need to upgrade the motor control centre (MCC) at its Strata Florida Water Treatment Works, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water turned to Black & Veatch, the main process contractor that handles the utility company’s capital schemes.

“Dwr Cymru wanted to install a new CO2 dosing facility at Strata Florida,” explains Gwyn Edwards, Electrical Engineer at Black & Veatch. “A new MCC to house the new motor starters required would cost around of £55,000. However, when we looked at the proposal, the new panel required measured 5.3m in length, which was 1.3m longer than the previous MCC.”

With space inside the treatment building at Strata Florida at premium, the only option was to look outside to construct a new MCC ‘building’. A location was subsequently identified but it involved the relocation of diesel tanks and other equipment. In total the civil engineering costs associated with this proposal amounted to an extra £40,000.

Black & Veatch uses Bristol-based General Panel Systems Ltd (GPS) one of its electrical contractors on such projects. Stuart Squires of GPS takes up the story: “As an alternative we proposed the use of Simocode from Siemens with direct Profibus communication to the existing Mitsubishi PLC.”

Simocode provides an ‘intelligent’ motor overload and protection system. It features built-in logic functions (relays, timers and counters) and can replace not only the motor overload but all of the other panel mounted components and control wiring that consumes space in a conventional system. Using Simocode reduced the total length of the panel to just 3m, meaning it could be sited inside the Strata Florida plant near the line dosing plant.

As well as saving the £40,000 required for the additional building work, the cost of the MCC was actually lower than the originally proposed conventional system, leading to a total project cost saving of £50,000.

The project was completed in April this year, with the new MCC overseeing the rate and interval of chemical dosing, all of which is adjustable via the existing InTouch SCADA system.

The water industry increasingly perceives Simocode as the standard device for protection and control of motor and load feeders. The basis for this success includes the functions for comprehensive motor protection and plant/system monitoring. Not only this, but also the integrated control software for typical motor applications (such as direct starter, reversing drive and star-delta starter), which replaces complex hardware solutions.

MCCs are used increasingly within the water industry to house motor starters and protection devices for pumps. Adding local ‘intelligence’ to each starter component can drastically reduce wiring from each compartment to the central control system. Diagnostic information necessary to reduce plant down-time is also available, which can give valuable data on plant performance such as predicting early pump or motor failure.

Peter Costello, Product Manager for Siemens LV Control & Distribution, said, ‘’In most applications we see that Simocode is able to provide immediate cost savings on capital expenditure (Capex) due to the reduction in MCC length, at Strata Florida this was very apparent due to the space constraints in the existing building. Simocode can also help with the longer term operational costs (Opex) and to help the maintenance team to get the most out of the many diagnostic features we were able to provide an application specific on-site Simocode training programme soon after the new panel was installed.’’

Simocode is meeting the needs of Dwr Cymru and others in the water industry by offering better communications, increased control at plant level and lower installation costs.

For further information email Peter Costello via

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