Valve Automation Smart Actuation for a Smarter World

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Today’s modern water and wastewater treatment plants are employing advanced technologies, reverse osmosis for instance, to provide clean potable water across India. These technologies call for accurate information and precise flow control throughout the plant, which is difficult to achieve by manual operation. This has resulted in the increased use of electric actuators to operate valves installed throughout the plant, right from intake stage to the pumping station for distribution.

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Parvati water treatment plant, Pune, which uses AUMA’s actuation solutions
Parvati water treatment plant, Pune, which uses AUMA’s actuation solutions
(Picture: AUMA India)

In recent years, many water and wastewater treatment plants have realized the importance of process automation and asset management to achieve consistent quality of water, reduce operating cost of plant, prevent plant shutdown and reduce diagnostic time. In the past, basic actuators were installed for automation of valves to perform the basic function of ‘open and close’ to control the flow of liquids across the plant and get timely valve position feedback for monitoring.

Actuators for the Water Industry

Today, the shortage of suitable water resources in some states and scarcity of clean water have led water companies to either use various water treatment/desalination technologies to convert unusable water into potable water or reduce wastage by expanding and modernizing their existing capacity. Therefore, these water companies are investing heavily in plant automation systems to maximize productivity by efficiently managing all processes, which also lead to reduction in operating costs.

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With the growing importance of electric actuators in the water and wastewater sector, the whole concept of actuation is changing and technologies like microcontroller-based actuator controls, actuators with Fieldbus communication etc, are gaining traction.

Actuator Proficiency

With emphasis on increased equipment reliability to deliver best-in-class process control solutions for maximizing productivity while reducing costs, actuation solution providers are recommending the use of electric actuators equipped with microcontroller-based controls and Fieldbus communication protocols.

Electric actuators with microcontroller controls not only provide the basic functions mandatory for the operation of a plant, but also monitor and verify various qualities of the actual state of the valve important for predictive maintenance of the plant.

Similarly, an addition of Fieldbus system’s functionality to these actuators provide a media to transmit all the information required for asset management purposes, thus boosting the potential of such actuators for diagnostic and maintenance purposes.

Looking for a Total Solution for Water handling

Auma India’s Epac actuators and Auma India Master Station (AIMS) provide a total solution for a higher degree of automation for enhanced plant efficiencies. The state-ofthe- art AIMS is a centralized system that deliver performance and reliability in plant asset management while keeping the cost of ownership and maintenance to the minimum.

The use of open standard Fieldbus protocols in AIMS offer advantages of interoperability with different field devices confirming to open protocol. The added advantages include information availability from a variety of sources, choice from multiple vendors and wide availability of integration services. This architecture when combined with complete redundancy (network, processor and power supply) makes it the preferred choice over other available systems.

Scheduling and Analysis of Water System Automation

With AIMS HMI touchscreen display one can not only view the status of the field devices, but can also perform multiple functions such as configuring and setting of field devices in a non-intrusive manner and event logging and storing in USB for analysis on a future date. This enables a prescheduling of all activities, which are especially necessary for long-term asset management.

Plant managers responsible for expansion of plants to enhance capacity can leverage the advantage of the AIMS scalability feature of concurrent loop and line topologies. This feature provides an option of adding up to maximum three loops or lines. These concurrent topologies ensure lesser footprints at the control room, require fewer spares and avoid the necessity for an additional master station.

Leveraging Benefits of Valve Automation

The use of Auma’s actuation solutions has helped many water and wastewater treatment plants across the country with precise control flow, real-time feedback to operators and predictive maintenance prospects, thereby helping them avoid unscheduled breakdowns and improving the overall efficiency of the plant.

The company’s capability in the field of valve automation in water and wastewater treatment sector is reflected by the presence of its actuation solutions in various prestigious projects across the country. These include a 100-MLD Reverse Osmosis Sea Water Desalination Plant at Nemmeli; 110 MGD capacity Bhagirathi Water Treatment Plant of Delhi Jal Board; 500 MLD Torekadanahalli (TK Halli) Water Treatment Project, Bengaluru; largest pumping station of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation having 900 MLD capacity at Bhandup complex; Parvati water treatment plant, Pune, to name a few.

* First published in PROCESS India

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