ABB retrofit provides time-efficient and budget-friendly solution for SVEX

ABB retrofit provides time-efficient and budget-friendly solution for SVEX

In the port of Antwerp, energy is not only consumed, but also generated. SVEX NV is a waste processing company that currently generates 80MW of energy by collecting heat from combustion. On the site, 6 ovens are operational 24 hours a day. For 3 of these ovens, the large drives had to be replaced after 20 years. This has to be done as time-efficiently as possible, and preferably at a good price. Ivan De Moor, Head of Maintenance E&I of the site, explains

"Svex has 6 ovens in use at the Beveren site for incinerating waste. It concerns 3 grate incinerators and 3 fluidized bed incinerators. The grate incinerators were started up in 1997. A lot of equipment is outdated today and has to be replaced preventively as the support of the suppliers is no longer guaranteed. During combustion (minimum of 850 °C) hot gases are released, which are drawn through a steam boiler. In this steam boiler, water is converted into steam and the hot gases are cooled to be successively cleaned in the wet gas scrubber so that only purified air is released through the chimney.

Svex tries to use resources within the circular process as much as possible throughout the site. This ranges from reuse - think of the hot gases from combustion - to the recycling of raw materials. “The residual fraction that remains after incineration goes through an ash treatment installation where still usable raw materials (such as scrap iron, etc..) are separated for reuse,” says Ivan.  

The entire installation is kept under negative pressure by a large fan. The motor that drives the fan is controlled via a frequency controller from ABB. Since the entire installation depends on this fan, the reliability of the drive is crucial. If it needs to be replaced, a time-efficient process provides great added value. Ivan immediately makes this clear: “With a standstill we lose tens of thousands of euros per hour, so time is money!”.

The 1120 kVA drive for one of these fans was due for replacement, and after competitions with several companies, ABB's retrofit solution emerged as the favorite. “A drive retrofit involves replacing the current installation with a modern drive, in a way that leaves as much of the existing installation untouched as possible. Think of the cabinet around the drive, the cables that go from the drive to the motor and so on. This not only saves you money, as fewer new components have to be provided, but also time, since fewer components have to be replaced.” says Joeri Quisthoudt, ABB Field Service Engineer. As icing on the cake, the current dimensions of the installation are maintained. A retrofit is therefore a less time- and material-intensive process, which is perfect for applications that have little or no extra space available. “Due to circumstances we only had a week to carry out the project”, Ivan mentions, “and thanks to the efficient method of ABB and the hard work of the Service Technicians we got this done.”

Learn more about ABB Motion Services' innovative offerings here: ABB Motion Services Discover more about SVEX: In Belgium (


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