ABB drives eliminate burst pipes at Scottish Water pumping station

ABB drives eliminate burst pipes at Scottish Water pumping station

Replacing direct-on-line starters with ABB variable speed drives eliminates pipe bursts at Scottish Water pumping station

Over £12,000 in maintenance costs is saved per year by eliminating burst pipes through the installation of ABB drives on two booster pumps.

Scottish Water, a utility providing water and sewerage services across Scotland, suffered nine pipe bursts per year, on average, at its Castle Road pumping station. Each burst was estimated to cost £1,400 through leakage detection, repair materials and labour.

The bursts were caused by pumps being started direct-on-line (DOL). This crude start/stop control created pressure waves causing pipes to fracture and leak. For example, water may be moving at a flow rate of 10 metres per second. If the pump is then switched off, this moving water suddenly hits a dead end, surging back, shocking the network.

EDC (Scotland) fitted two 5.5 kilowatt (kW) ABB water and wastewater drives, one for each of the two booster pumps. The drives provide a soft ramp up and a controlled slow down to maintain supply pressure in the pipe network. The project was completed in two stages to ensure no disruption to public water supplies.

Data loggers were used to gather information on pressure transients around the Castle Road site. Before the ABB drives were installed, the data revealed that on DOL starting, pressures were peaking at 140 metres head. Following installation of the drives, pressure data was again logged, revealing that starting and stopping the pumps using the VSDs reduced maximum pressures to 83 metres head.

Since the installation was commissioned in November 2016, the utility has had zero pipe bursts. The VSDs have also reduced the energy consumption of the pumps, saving an additional £200 per year. The return on the £5,500 investment in drives was achieved in five-and-a-half months.

Image caption: Replacing direct-on-line starters with ABB variable speed drives has eliminated pipe bursts at Scottish Water's Castle Road pumping station.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in power grids, electrification products, industrial automation and robotics and motion, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization with two clear value propositions: bringing electricity from any power plant to any plug and automating industries from natural resources to finished products. As title partner in ABB Formula E, the fully electric international FIA motorsport class, ABB is pushing the boundaries of e-mobility to contribute to a sustainable future. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 147,000 employees. www.abb.com

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