Water company in Brazil gets 25% energy savings and better uptime — with ABB drives, motors and digital powertrain solutions

ABB drives, motors and ABB Ability™ digital services played a major role in helping the Brazilian water and wastewater company Saneago cut pumping energy bills by around US$700,000 annually. At the same time, the ABB Ability™ Digital Powertrain solution improves uptime by giving valuable new insight into the condition of the equipment and maintenance needs.

Seeking to reduce its high electricity costs for pumping in water and wastewater treatment, and to boost system reliability, Saneago water company recently decided to install a wide range of ABB smart drives, motors and sensors. The company is the major water and wastewater utilities serving Goiás, the seventh largest state in Brazil, located in the south-central part of the country. Saneago treats and supplies drinking water for more than 5.7 million people and thousands of industrial and agricultural users, with the incoming water pumped to the treatment plant from several water sources.

The improvement project involved Saneago’s four inlet water pumping stations where ABB drives and motors, as well ABB AbilityTM Digital Powertrain solutions comprising remote condition monitoring for motors, drives and pumps, Smart Sensor technology and cloud connectivity, proved to be perfectly suited to simultaneously resolve numerous challenges.

Osmar Qualhato Junior, Energy Management Supervisor at Saneago, explains how the project developed. “One of our biggest overheads are our energy costs for pumping water. We knew we needed to lower electricity consumption and ABB suggested a solution that we found attractive, based on a combination of drives, motors and digital tools. We then worked together to systematically implement them.”

Energy audit showed big monetary gains

Following an energy appraisal that Saneago had commissioned from Vitalux, an engineering company specializing in energy surveys, it was clear that there was great potential for energy savings of more than 6,000 MWh per year. In financial terms this meant saving 3.4 million Brazilian Reais, or about US$700,000 annually.

To help Saneago save this energy and reduce electricity bills, ABB worked through their channel partner in Brazil, BEU Engenharia, to install high-efficiency low-voltage motors and drives to control the speed and torque of the water pumps.

“ABB provided Saneago with 15 high-efficiency motors and 15 drives for the four pumping stations, and also included Smart Sensors and remote condition monitoring tools,” says Rodrigo Batista, Technical Director at BEU Engenharia. “A key feature in the ACQ580 water-dedicated drive. Its built-in intelligent multi-pump control functionality was a big advantage. By using this function, we could program the drives to control the pumps to meet flow and pressure requirements, according to the actual demand. This now means that several pumps can automatically run simultaneously when necessary, to meet the precise water pressure and flow needs.”

The energy savings achieved were clearly a success, as Osmar Qualhato Junior from Saneago observes. “By installing the new ACQ580 drives and high-efficiency motors we have been able to reduce our energy consumption by 25 percent.”

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Smart Sensors sensing the condition of motors and pumps




Location Goias, Brazil 
Industry Water and wastewater  
Deliveries Low voltage ACQ580 drives, motors and Ability powertrain solutions 
Keys to success Energy efficient and reliable water operations

ABB Ability™ Condition Monitoring for powertrains improves reliability and resilience

In addition to the energy and cost savings, Saneago also aimed to improve the overall reliability and resilience of their water operations as well. To accomplish this, ABB installed ABB Ability™ Smart Sensors on the pumping station’s pumps and motors and NETA-21 on the drives.

The Smart Sensors and NETA-21, which are part of the ABB AbilityTM Digital Powertrain offering, effectively meet Saneago’s needs for keeping their water assets running smoothly and reliably. This advanced digital technology allows remote monitoring of drives, motors, pumps and even bearings – and informs operators about the condition of their equipment. This gives powerful new capabilities to get both deeper insight and a better overview of all their water equipment, 24 hours a day. This way Saneago can act before any failure occurs, which also ensures both better safety for its operators and increased equipment lifetimes.

Early warning system already helped

“Remote monitoring with the new Smart Sensors has already helped us to detect a case of excessive motor vibration in advance,” explains Osmar Qualhato Junior at Saneago. “And this meant we could correct the problem early, thus avoiding major damage to the equipment. It also saved us considerable time, money and trouble.”

“By being a pioneer in utilizing this kind of technology in Latin America,” continues Osmar, “we have smartly moved Saneago’s water operations into the era of digitalization. Thanks to the Smart Sensors, it is now possible to monitor our water equipment and get alerts in case a failure occurs or is about to occur. And through the weekly reports we get from ABB and the alerts we get directly to our cell phones, the digital powertrain enables predictive maintenance at a distance, with no need for a technician to visit the pumping stations on site to check equipment status.”

“The ABB AbilityTM Digital Powertrain works perfectly for the water and wastewater treatment segment, by providing optimum control, reliability and condition monitoring, 24/7/365,” concludes Rodrigo Teixeira, Water and Wastewater segment manager, ABB Motion Brazil. “In addition to the giant energy and cost savings we have seen, it also gives water operators much better management of their motors, pumps and even bearings, to keep operating and maintenance costs down. This truly revolutionizes maintenance routines for our customers.”

ACQ580 variable speed drives controlling the speed and torque of motors
Condition monitoring using a mobile device
Optimizing water operations 

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