Electrical equipment applied in water and wastewater treatment applications is a blend of instrumentation, process control systems, electro-mechanical motor control equipment and power distribution equipment.
Monitoring the chemistry of water and wastewater treatment traditionally has been assigned to process instrumentation and analytical devices. The need for process monitoring continues to grow and is the focal point for regulatory compliance. There is, however, a growing trend to collect and monitor information from electro-mechanical equipment to drive down plant operational costs and simplify plant maintenance.
A new trend
The trend to collect and monitor information from electro-mechanical equipment is being driven by an increase for more detailed reporting of process control parameters and the need to more tightly couple plant operations with plant maintenance. The ability to gather process critical information from the component level electro-mechanical equipment such as FVRN motor starters, solid-state reduced voltage starters and motor protection relays is enabled by an embedded communication network called DeviceNet by Rockwell Automation.
Embedding network communications inside a traditionally hard-wired device offers three advantages:
- Reduced field-wiring costs;
- Improved motor protection; and
- Access to real-time process and diagnostic information.
As new facilities are designed and constructed, the trend for embedded communications in overload relays, motor protection relays, vibration monitoring equipment and even motor control centers may continue to increase.
The other driving factor for embedded communications in electro-mechanical equipment is the need to improve the efficiency of the maintenance staff. Many municipalities are looking for ways to save money while still performing needed routine system maintenance. Intelligent devices like the E3 electronic overload relay, 825P motor protection relay or SMC-Flex reduced voltage solid-state starter provide valuable information that can be used to prevent unplanned shutdowns or provide insight to the causes of equipment failures.
Connecting these products via DeviceNet through a remote terminal unit back to a central monitoring location can provide valuable operational and maintenance data to the proper personnel. Maintenance personnel, by accessing this data via a central control station, can eliminate the need to travel to the remote site that could be located 15–20 miles away. Adjustments and corrections to the system made over the network can reduce wasted time traveling between sites. If a visit to a remote site is required, failure mode information reported over the network can provide insight into what corrective action is required. Maintenance personnel, knowing the failure mode, can bring the right tools or spare parts required to make repairs more quickly.