ABB Helps Optimize Basel's Water Supply System

Source: ABB Measurement & Analytics
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Zurich, Switzerland — Pioneering ABB technology is helping Switzerland's third largest city set a new international benchmark for municipal water supply systems.

The solution is the first of its kind to successfully employ an enhanced closed loop system that operates the city's entire water supply system by a customized control strategy - and without need for operators at pumping stations, reservoirs and wells. The customized solution is part of ABB's OPTIMAX plant control portfolio and runs on top of ABB's award-winning automation platform, Extended Automation System 800xA.

Besides securing the supply and quality of water to Basel's 100,000 households and many businesses, this solution sharply eases the costs of operation and maintenance for the city's municipal utility, IWB, by minimizing energy consumption and allowing personnel to be deployed more efficiently and cost effectively.

Situated on the banks of the Rhine and on the border of three countries – France, Germany and Switzerland - Basel is widely considered the center of the European life sciences industry. Industry leaders such as Novartis, Roche, Syngenta, Clariant and Strauman each have their global headquarters in Basel.

The customized solution is part of ABB's OPTIMAX plant control portfolio and runs on top of ABB's award-winning automation platform, Extended Automation System 800xA. It makes use of ABB's Expert Optimizer to create the best production schedules and is the result of close collaboration with the customer, IWB. The system transforms water supply technology into a highly automated process that water utilities have long been waiting for.

Control systems in large municipal utilities or power plants usually cost several millions of dollars. Rather than calling for total replacement, ABB's System 800xA Extended Automation safeguards this investment, bringing process control with a broad range of new functions.

System 800xA provides IWB with a uniform user interface with all makes of hardware, thereby protecting IWB's previous investments in automation equipment.

Process operations that have been dependent on operator know-how and carried out manually on site are now predicted and performed automatically, and in real time, by powerful ABB control technology.

For instance, Expert Optimizer calculates the best operation schedules and set points for the pumping stations and groundwater wells based on forecasts of demand that are revised by the hour. It continuously monitors deviations and adapts the schedules and set points accordingly.

The system runs in closed loop and automatically pages service personnel if manual intervention is required. Operators can easily switch the optimizer to manual control if desired.

The solution has been operating successfully since commissioning in early 2007.

With water quality secured by the ABB system, IWB has launched its own brand of bottled table water (Basler Wasser), which is sold widely in the region.

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