VSD reduces pump failures and cuts maintenance and energy costs

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Up to 1200 tonnes of aggregate per day can now be consistently extracted by avoiding pump failures following the installation of a variable-speed drive (VSD).

VSD reduces pump failures and cuts maintenance and energy costsAggregate production at Hills Quarry Products’ Cerney Wick site in Gloucestershire demands a high volume of water, which is returned to a sump for pumping to a settling bed. Float level switches in the sump activate a fixed-speed pump. However, the fixed speed could be too high for demand, leading to the sump running dry and the pump failing. In addition, because the motor only runs at one speed, the stress on the pump set could lead to broken transmission belts, motor overcurrent or blocked pumps, leading to costly failures, typically every two weeks.

Olly Thompson, Quarry Manager says: “The pump could be out of action for a few hours to a full day, depending on if it was a simple belt change or if the pump needed to be raised from the sump. We extract between 1,000 and 1,200 tonnes of aggregate every day at Cerney Wick, so any downtime is extremely costly – not just in terms of lost production, but also due to the extra expenses incurred by our maintenance team and external contractors.”

Following a recommendation from ABB Value Provider, APDS, a 55 kilowatt (kW) variable-speed drive (VSD) and level control device were installed to automatically adjust the pump motor’s speed according to demand. A pressure transducer, installed in the sump, monitors water pressure. The VSD then calculates the water level that corresponds to this measured pressure, adjusting the pump speed to avoid overflows or the sump running dry.

Thompson says: “This system has reduced downtime, increased production and reduced the number of replacement drive belts as well as the cost of repairing the pump when it ran dry. As well as avoiding failures and the associated costs, we have also cut electricity usage on the application by around 50 per cent by matching motor speed to demand, achieving further savings.”

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16 October 2019

ABB Automation Technologies (Drives and Motors)visit website
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