Pumping Station Control System Upgrade
Breathing new life into the Severn Tunnel pumping station with an efficient control system upgrade
The Challenge: Tackling Obsolete Control Systems in a Historic Engineering Marvel
When it came to tackling the Severn Tunnel’s pumping station upgrade, Amco Giffen required a partner possessing extensive experience in executing complex control system upgrades in an efficient and professional manner. Being a company that has worked on various projects of this nature, Adbro Controls was selected for their profound understanding of intricate control systems and their familiarity with this type of work.
The Severn Tunnel, a historic engineering marvel, was opened in 1886. During its construction in the late 1800s, engineers stumbled upon a natural spring. This led to the development of a drainage system capable of continuously removing millions of gallons of spring water. This intricate system comprises 14 pumps across the site that effectively pump out an average of 13.86 million gallons of spring water every day.
In the course of the upgrade project, an on-site survey unveiled that the PLC hardware within the current system was outdated and lacked support. Reasons for this ranged from obsolete parts and unobtainable replacements to out-of-date programming software. This potential bottleneck in system maintenance could lead to future challenges in ensuring smooth operations. Consequently, it was decided that a new, modern solution was required to eliminate the risks of a single point of failure disrupting the site’s systems.
The Solution: Implementing a Modern, Reliable, and Accessible Control System
The primary aim of this project was to upgrade the PLC hardware in the existing system, which contained components now considered obsolete. To remedy this, the new design integrated parts that are much easier to source, thereby preventing any future delays in maintenance work and reducing the risk of ending up with an obsolete system once again.
Key elements of the upgrade included the integration of industry-standard Siemens S7 1500 PLCs and Westermo network switches. The new system saw the installation of a total of 13 PLCs. Out of these, 6 pairs were configured in a master/standby arrangement to provide redundancy in the event of a PLC failure. The network switches were meticulously configured to give a total of 4 RSTP Rings. This critical feature would allow the site to have an automated backup system that would keep the station operational, even in the event of a system failure.
Given the large site location and the fact that operators work in various areas, it was paramount that the upgraded system could be accessed easily, regardless of the operator’s location within the facility. To accomplish this, seven Wonderware InTouch SCADA workstations were installed at various strategic points throughout the site.
One of the key challenges in executing this upgrade was the need to avoid any outages to the pumping operation. This required the use of temporary control panels to keep pumps running, and careful planning of when each panel was upgraded, ensuring that the site’s operation was never entirely offline.
The Results: A More Reliable, Efficient, and Responsive System
The pumping station control system upgrade project was a triumph. The newly designed system resulted in an enhanced, reliable, and efficient control setup, significantly improving the day-to-day running of the pumping station site.
One notable improvement is the new, extensive set of alarms integrated into the upgraded system. These alarms are designed to alert operators promptly if any issues arise, allowing them to act swiftly to rectify any anomalies. This advancement is expected to significantly reduce the response time to operational issues.
Furthermore, the backup system devised by Adbro Controls ensures that the pumping station site operations can continue uninterrupted, even if unforeseen issues arise. This fail-safe allows operators to address any reported issues without disrupting the usual running of the site. Thus, the pumping station control system upgrade has not only improved the operational efficiency of the Severn Tunnel but also bolstered its reliability and readiness to handle unexpected challenges.
In conclusion, Adbro Controls’ expertise in control system upgrades ensured a seamless transition from an obsolete system to a modern, efficient one. This case serves as a testament to Adbro Controls’ commitment to providing innovative, reliable, and efficient control system solutions that meet the evolving needs of its clients.