ABB keeps water flowing for UUOS Welsh Water

ABB helped Welsh based United Utilities Operational Services (UUOS) keep thousands of Welsh homes supplied with water by quickly delivering one of its I/P converters to replace a faulty unit.

ABB keeps water flowing for UUOS Welsh Water

UUOS operates a clean water treatment plant which supplies water to approximately 10,000 homes across Wales. UUOS uses I/P converters in its control panel to control valves on its treatment line. When a previously installed converter of another make unexpectedly failed, it resulted in the treatment process being ground to a halt and the water pressure and supply being put at risk.

“Having become aware of the situation our priority was to get the issue resolved as quickly as possible,” says Adrian Laskey, UUOS technician. “The potential consequences meant that our supply of water to part of the network could be lost. Although there is a back up store of water in place, the system has limited storage capacity.”

I/P "current to pressure" converters convert an analogue signal (4-20 mA) to a proportional linear pneumatic output. Their purpose is to translate the analogue output from a control system into a precise, repeatable pressure value to control pneumatic actuators/operators, pneumatic valves, dampers, vanes, etc.

The previous I/P converter had failed due to a by-pass valve which had closed on the I/P converter module. With the converter offline, the aeration plant was unable to function, which in turn meant shutting down the treatment plant.

Although the plant has a limited emergency supply, a long term failure could have potentially resulted in homes losing their water supply. Had this situation arisen, UUOS would have faced the huge financial and time consuming repercussions of having to bring in water tankers to supplement the restricted supply.

In a bid to resolve the problem as quickly as possible, UUOS approached a number of manufacturers to enquire whether they had a replacement converter in stock that could be supplied and fitted within the tight deadline. Only ABB was able to locate a part in stock and guarantee immediate delivery.

Paul McLaughlin, ABB Engineer says, “Having spoken with a colleague regarding UUOS’s urgent predicament, I was sure there was a way to help. We were fortunate enough to be able to locate a part and then proceed in delivering and installing it in just two and a half hours.”

Comments Laskey: “The rapid response from ABB surpassed that of any of their competitors and even beat our own expectations. Often parts can be very slow to get hold of, but with a few hours ABB had the converter delivered and installed. We are thrilled with the overall speed and professionalism the company displayed.”

With a long history of using a variety of ABB products, UUOS has now also ordered another I/P converter from ABB, as a spare for future peace of mind.


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