End to End

A complete automation system helps a Philippines city improve control over water pumping and distribution and drive down operating and maintenance costs.
End to End
A distributor valve equipped with a quarter-turn actuator DAPS 8000 regulates the supply of water to consumers.

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It is only about 12 miles from Angeles to the Philippines volcano Pinatubo. If an eruption is imminent, the city’s 200,000 inhabitants usually can tell days before by the smoke columns rising into the sky. But until recently, another fact, less threatening but important to the city’s infrastructure, was not visible from a distance — the status of the water supply.

To determine the status of its feed pumping stations, distributed over a radius of 14 miles, the central control room of the state water supplier, Angeles City Water District (ACWD), had to send staff every day around the clock to switch the pumps on and off and inspect them. This cost significant time and money, and it meant the central water reservoir often filled to overflowing.

To solve the problem, the ACWD installed a process automation solution from Festo that increased water supply reliability for the city of Angeles. The technological heart of the system is real-time communication between the feed and distributor pumps and the central process control room. Festo handled the entire project, from development through to purchasing, installation and commissioning.

Right idea

The first step was to understand overall and in detail the district’s main concerns about the water supply, emphasizing a technical solution that would optimally meet all requirements. Festo planning engineers knew the engineering phase would define the entire project’s efficiency.

An analysis of the situation led to the concept of real-time condition monitoring and a fully automatic water supply system that would supply field signals about the status of the pumps and their water pressure wirelessly via remote I/O units to the central control room. The same system would be used for the fully automatic control of the feed pumps.

After the ACWD agreed with the concept details, Festo started implementation. The first question was how the field signals would be transferred from the feed pumps. Cables were not feasible because of the distances involved and the cost. The answer was therefore wireless communication. But which transmission method?

To avoid delays in data transmission, essential to real-time condition monitoring, the choice fell to WLAN technology with RFID. The wireless link makes all relevant data from the periphery available in the central process control system at all times.

A communication solution also had to be found to integrate water catchment and water distribution to consumers into the process. In this case, cables were feasible, since the distances to the distribution valves were short.

With this solution in place, all major data flows into the central process control room around the clock, providing an accurate overall view of the water supply situation in real time. The plant manager can see the system status at a glance and take action if necessary, although with the fully automatic control system that is rarely necessary.

High efficiency

Each of the eight feed pumping stations is equipped with the automation platform CPX as a slave. Antennas send the data collected by the CPX to the central control room for processing by a Festo controller CPX-CEC in the role of a master PLC. Water distribution in the booster station is carried out using pneumatic quarter-turn actuator DAPS 8000 with a positioner. The fully automatic interaction of water supply and water distribution ensures efficient monitoring and control of the amount of water distributed according to consumers’ needs and available resources.

The project with ACWD illustrated the advantages of project engineering and implementation with products from a single source. There was no need to worry about deliveries and installation on site. Extensive tests guaranteed the system’s ability to operate correctly and handle the required load. In addition, commissioning was faster. Visualization software in the central process control room, programmed by a Festo engineer, meant that the system could be configured precisely to the utility’s needs.

The automation solution greatly simplified water supply control and monitoring. Real-time condition monitoring gives ACWD significantly higher plant availability and lower maintenance costs. It also prevents the uncontrolled overflowing of the central reservoir, saving valuable water resources.

About the Author

Craig Correia is head of process automation in the United States for Festo, a supplier of pneumatic and electrical automation technology headquartered in Esslingen, Germany. He can be reached at craig.correia@us.festo.com.


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