The Siemens Pump-Blockage solution was delivered using the Siemens SIMOCODE, which is an intelligent motor controller that can operate independently of conventional control systems.
The Siemens Pump-Blockage solution was delivered using the Siemens SIMOCODE, which is an intelligent motor controller that can operate independently of conventional control systems.

Blockages of pumps have a negative impact on the environment, users and suppliers. One UK water company tackled the problem by installing intelligent monitor controllers from Siemens. The result was a 70% decrease in pump blockages where the solution was used.

Blockages of pumps are a major problem in conveying wastewater. In the worst-case scenario, this can result in flooded tanks, unwanted water leakage or motor failures. What is at least required is unscheduled work to manually clear the blockages. In many cases, blockages in the conveying flow can be cleared by short-term reversal of the conveying direction and if necessary multiple times.

To initiate this, imminent blockages must be detected. Suitable criteria for this can be derived from the electrical power supply of the pump drive. The problem equates to a significant operational cost for any utility company.

Reactive and preventive

The solution provides both a reactive and preventive approach in managing the pump blockages. By measuring both current and power factor, the solution can detect build up on the impeller for a reactive solution, and for a preventative solution it carries out a direction reverse after a pre-determined number of normal starts. No software tools are required for the installation, and any adjustable parameters can be changed from an operator key pad.

The application is aimed at the waste water pumping / processing industry, however it can be implemented across most types of pumping applications.

The Siemens Pump-Blockage solution was delivered using the Siemens SIMOCODE, which is an intelligent motor controller that can operate independently of conventional control systems. The unit is easily programmed with logic functions for the pump blockage protection function. UK water provider Anglian Water has installed this on multiple pumps at around three hundred sites over a duration of around eighteen to

Having selected sites where OPEX had been quantified, Anglian was able to accurately measure the productivity improvements and reduction in costs. Anglian Water has seen a 70% decrease in pump blockages where the Siemens Pump Blockage solution has been used.

Optimum performance

Other quantified savings include a reduction in energy as the pumps are running at an optimum performance, and reductions in engineer call-outs, all of which have seen large financial savings for Anglian Water since its implementation.

Anglian Water has seen a reduction of 70% in pump blockages since the installation programme was completed. They estimate a pump blockage costs, on average, around £500 to rectify. As well as the prevention of blockages, Anglian Water now has increased availability of pumps on its sites and reduced energy costs due to pumps not operating at a higher consumption because the impeller is clear. This all leads to a significant reduction in carbon foot-print because of less engineer site visits, which is derived from a scalable, modular solution that requires no maintenance.

For Anglian Water, this solution has brought many key benefits. In the words of asset optimisation engineer, Lorenzo Pompa: “Previously we spent up to £15 million a year clearing around 34,000 blockages at a cost of around £500 per blockage. Blockages have a negative impact on the environment and on our customers, and tie up our technicians, who we’d rather were working on enhancing processes at our water recycling centers and pumping stations. So, any steps we can take to avoid blockages provide an all-round benefit for us.” Anglian Water has installed this on 600 pumps at 300 sites. A video showing the unit in action can be seen here.