How Softstarter technology helps utilities save water

How Softstarter technology helps utilities save water

Water leakage is an issue affecting every utility. Leakage costs large amounts of money every year, wasting energy and a precious natural resource. ABB Global Product Manager, Softstarters, Joakim Jansson, explains a key technology in water utility strategies to conserve water.

What causes water leakage – isn’t it a pipe issue?

Leakage is primarily caused by leaky pipes, but it’s a little more complex than that. Issues are often caused by pressure surges and water hammering that accelerate the aging of pipes and joints. Utilities use a lot of different pumps to distribute water, and the movement of the fluid can brake the pump during a start – or drive the pump forward during a stop. A lack of control of the electrical motors’ starts and stops can create pressure surges and water hammering that, in the end, will damage the pipes.

How do Softstarters prevent leakage?

Softstarters control the pump’s AC electrical motor. They control the voltage to the motor to build the torque gradually, minimizing the mechanical stress on the pump – and the water system itself. With a more intelligent Softstarter, you have more scope to optimize the motor control and maximize the performance of the pumps and water system.

How much water can a Softstarter save?

It depends on the level of the leakages, the technical challenges, and the level of Softstarter technology. Very old water infrastructure can be losing 25 percent of the total water supply to leakage. ABB’s PSTX Softstarter is one of the most advanced solutions available and can reduce pipeline damage in old infrastructure by 50 percent.

The PSTX is also used to prolong peak productivity in new installations. Designed for mission-critical applications and challenging environments, its built-in Modbus integrates with plant automation systems. Besides torque control and pump cleaning functions, the PSTX also heats motors to prevent condensation and freezing in humid and cold conditions. It can increase the lifetime of pumps by up to 100 percent.

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