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Automation solutions from Festo help save water and reduce costs
Product News Friday, November 2, 2012: Festo (PTY) Ltd
Festo has its roots in factory automation. The company also applies its decades of experience in automation technology to water technology processes, with complete automation solutions customised to the individual requirements of plant operators. Control technology is combined with pneumatic drives for process valves. This gives rise to a consistent automation concept from the process control system to programmable logic control, up to field level.
Water is a precious commodity in South Africa as it is globally, making the careful handling of this resource particularly important. Automated potable water purification and wastewater treatment help to ensure a high level of supply and process safety. For these requirements in particular, pneumatics represent a cost-effective and reliable alternative to electrical automation systems.
In its extensive product range for water technology, Festo offers automation solutions from process valves to the coordinating level as a complete package: pneumatic drives for hand lever valves, butterfly valves and ball valves, local controllers, control cabinets with valve terminals, integrated controllers and fieldbus.
Why use pneumatics in water technology?
Brian Abbott, Pneumatic Product Manager Festo, explains: “Compared with electrical installations, pneumatic automation technology reduces investment, installation and operating costs by over 50% in some cases. Pneumatic drives require no maintenance for their entire lifespan. As process valves are operated irregularly in water technology, deposits or caking can form, which lead to much higher breakaway torques. The overload protection of the pneumatics is a crucial feature here. If the drive comes to a stop, the pressure on the pressure regulator can simply be increased to enable more force to be applied, which eliminates the need for costly maintenance.”
Another advantage is that the compressed air is obtainable even in the event of an electrical power failure, as an air reservoir, as well as a compressor to generate and supply compressed air, are always available.
The valve terminal is at the core of pneumatic systems in water technology, as a decentralised element. Near the process valves, it is ideal for rapid and simple automation solutions in which process valves, pneumatics and electronics interact optimally. The modular valve terminals can be expanded depending on the number of process valves. With the fieldbus, this system solution has just a single, clearly defined and standardised interface between the controller (PLC) and the valve terminal. The advantage of the system concept is that extensions or changes can be made at the control level without replacing the hardware. In addition, all components of the machine technology are compatible.
Festo pneumatics are used worldwide in waterworks and water purification plants, such as these case studies in Istanbul, Greece and South Africa prove.
In Istanbul, Festo assisted the water supply company ISKI, who provides drinking water to 14 million inhabitants. To this end, more than 2 000 000 m³ of processed river and rain water is required daily.
In Greece, off the coast of Athens at the Psyttalia Wastewater Treatment Plant, sewerage is pumped through pipelines of 1.5 km from the mainland to the rocky island of Psyttalia. The technical data of this project underlines the gigantic scale of the plant: the biological purification process includes 12 fermentation tanks with a total volume of almost 300 000 m³ and a flow rate of 1 000 000 m³ per day.
Locally Festo supplied the Meulwater Water Treatment Plant (WTP), located in the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve in the Western Cape. This newly constructed purification plant is capable of treating 8 Ml of potable water per day. Working closely with the project engineers, Festo is proud to have had the opportunity to supply and install state-of-the-art pneumatic equipment to automate the plant filtration and backwash recovery systems.
“We aim to provide a complete solution to our customers, with a system designed for their individual requirements that improves their productivity“, concludes Abbott.