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Anglian Water falls back on ABB softstarts

Posted: Friday 3rd February 2006

A new softstarter from ABB is helping Anglian Water safeguard its supply of water and wastewater services to the Lincoln region in the east of the UK.

Anglian Water always has three backup pumps on stand by at its Newton Water Treatment Works, Newton-on-Trent, Lincolnshire, which supplies the city of Lincoln with its residential and industrial water needs. These units provide emergency back-up in the event of failure of one or both of the two 500 litre per second pumping units.

A mystery fault with one of the company’s existing 250kW soft starts of another make was causing one of the backup pumps to repeatedly break down on start-up. To help rectify this problem, Anglian Water turned to ABB Softstart Alliance partner, Inverter Drive Systems.

Gavin Hall, works technician optimiser for Anglian Water, says: "We have five pumps running in parallel, two with a softstarter and three with a variable speed drive (VSD). At any one point in time, we have two pumps running, one with a VSD and one with a softstarter. This allows for flexibility within the system and also saves on cost. To cope with any fluctuations, we need one pump constantly running at full speed and one that can have its speed varied. As a softstarter is a fraction of the price of a VSD, we opted to use a softstarter to drive one pump constantly at full speed while a VSD drives the second one, adjusting the speed depending on the required output."

When Anglian Water’s existing emergency softstarter broke down, they were left without any back up at all.

"This could have been a disaster if one of the functioning pumps had broken down as well," says Hall.

Working with Inverter Drive Systems, Anglian Water installed ABB’s PSTB470 softstarter to replace the failed one. The PSTB470 softstarter features a LCD screen which uses plain text to display a range of data on multiple parameters, including output current, voltage, number of starts, total run time and motor temperature. Operators are also able to set advanced warning parameters, allowing potential problems to be identified before real problems occur.

"The ability to know about any problems before they develop further is a major benefit for us," says Hall. "In this way we should be able to prevent unnecessary downtime and ensure that we always have our back-up pumps ready to go online."

Previously, the station also suffered a power failure, which was attributed to one of the external protection devices serving the old softstarter. As the PSTB470 softstarter has an integrated bypass contactor and thermal overload, Anglian Water was able to remove the existing protection devices, eliminating the risk of a similar failure occurring again.

For Anglian Water, one of the main advantages of using Inverter Drive Systems was its knowledge and expertise about softstarters and variable speed drives.

"With Inverter Drives and ABB, not only did we get a great product but also the knowledge, support and expertise to get the most out of it" said Hall. "We have been more than happy with the outcome."

Georgina Shaw
Account Executive
Armitage Communications Ltd

T + 44 (0)20 8667 2219
F + 44 (0)20 8667 9426

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