The town of Shimla in the Indian Himalayas is one of the country’s busiest tourist destinations. It receives 3.6 million visitors a year, significantly augmenting the local population of 3 million. Known as the Queen of Hills, Shimla has experienced an acute water crisis as its popularity has increased.
While demand has grown every year, the aged water infrastructure has been losing 20 to 25 percent of the total water supply to leakage. Aggravating the problem, no major body of water is available in the vicinity of the main city, and the area’s steeply sloping landscape allows rainwater to run off quickly.
Consequently, the Himachal Pradesh Irrigation & Public Health Department (IPH) developed a plan to modernize the existing lift water supply plan with construction and upgrading of old pumps to raise water from the Kol Dam on the Satluj River thousands of feet below the city. The aim was to bring safe, clean drinking water to the population with minimal water loss and minimal environmental damage.
This type of lift system presents considerable challenges including water hammering, pressure surges, jammed pumps, burst pipes and inrush current that can blow fuses.
ABB Softstarters wash away issues caused by conventional starters
For some pumping stations, the IPH was having problems of water hammering when stopping pumps and frequent blown fuses caused by current spike.
To avoid such issues, IPH decided to install eight ABB PSTX Softstarters for the Shimla project. IPH had a sizeable installation of ABB Softstarters in other water supply systems and had been satisfied with their performance, easy handling and ease of use.
Softstarters shrink service calls and pipeline damage
The IPH now estimates that, with reduced mechanical wear and 30 percent fewer service calls, PSTX Softstarters can cut pipeline damage by up to 50 percent during starting and stopping operations, leading to overall cost savings.
“With smart technology and our state-of-the-art products and solutions, ABB electrification products are helping residents of Shimla to get an uninterrupted supply of water,“ said C. P. Vyas, president of the Electrification business for ABB India, “The PSTX Softstarter device ensures smoth water movement to fill the pipe while torque control minimizes leakage and pipe damage, eliminating water hammering and pressure surges. These are the types of advanced capabilities that position electrification technologies from ABB as global leaders.”
The Softstarter display features are user-friendly with clear screens, along with many built-in features that avoid the need for external components. A single unit contains everything from bypass contactor to overload protection.
The Shimla installation project had a very ambitious completion deadline, but ABB was able to meet the customer’s expectations, supplying the Softstarters on time.
As a result of the customer’s confidence, S B Trading, the contractor for this project has subsequently awarded more orders from the customer to ABB.