Improving Maintenance in Wastewater Treatment Plants

Verification services check product performance and health without removing the product from the process

Verification services check product performance and health without removing the product from the process

In an industry challenged with around-the-clock operations and sanctions for non-compliance with regulatory standards, it could be easy to lose sight of periodic maintenance requirements. Ignoring the impact of measurement and analytic equipment maintenance on water treatment plants (WTPs) or wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) can be costly.

Fortunately, equipment suppliers who offer after-sale services tailored to WTP and WWTP needs provide new opportunities for instrumentation users to respond to changing performance in a timely fashion.

Digital technologies are providing new opportunities to enhance processes and productivity. This case study highlights the smart devices used in a range of power plant applications as well as a number of innovative solutions that couple physical devices with software to address customer needs.

Adopt a Strategic View of Maintenance

Nowadays, analytical instrumentation utilizes increasing levels of built-in intelligence to create a more dynamic maintenance management system. This method provides a basis for updated approaches to maintenance and ultimately, creates opportunities to shift from time-based maintenance intervals to condition-based preventive maintenance scheduling.

Actively targeting maintenance from this strategy-focused perspective could address information gaps and generate new knowledge unavailable in a static checklist approach.

An example of such technology is a piece of verification software that allows users real-time monitoring of flow meter condition and performance. Managing a contract-maintenance program through a web portal with a personalized dashboard (Figure 1) provides an up-to-the-minute, high-level snapshot of instrumentation operations, with convenient drill-down access to supporting detail.

Cultivate Proactive Service Benefits

Incorporating maintenance as a significant element of a larger strategic plan for overall plant operation could upgrade a reactive, problem-based approach to a proactive, performance-based one.

Comprehensive contract maintenance services offer continuous support and troubleshooting, single-channel access for on-site services, and spare parts inventories to improve overall asset performance. Additionally, lifecycle management can be optimized through different methods:

  • Relieve maintenance demands – Contracted preventive maintenance services remove the need for in-house personnel to track maintenance schedules or heavily focus on maintenance activities. They may also make use of manufacturer product experience instead of taking time from plant operations in building personal expertise on instrumentation.
  • Ensure rapid-response technical support – Plant management can adapt contract terms and costs to the level of responsiveness they require, from 24/7 telephone access, to next-day on-site service. Instrument and analyzer repairs or recalibration are dependent on the nature of the problem and customer needs, and can be addressed either on-site or sent to a regional service center.
  • Protect against employee turnover – Contract services assist in managing staffing issues that are caused by retiring employees. It could also close gaps in technical expertise among newer employees. At the same time, services that provide a user portal to track historical performance also enable the continuity of institutional memory in the event of any possible employee turnover, regardless of its triggers. Having the same team of service technicians focused on a WTP or WWTP plant multiple times per year is an advantage in maintaining specialized devices. It promotes consistency in terms of monitoring conditions, advising on software and control board updates, and identifying soon-to-be obsolete equipment facing reduced support.

Facilitating true lifecycle support provides a trained eye, in-depth knowledge of equipment operation, and a shared database of service history for identifying potential problems, prior to product failure or degraded process performance.

As an effect, the contract service technician becomes a knowledgeable and helpful strategic partner who could help to address issues alongside reliable upper management decision-makers in terms of big-picture feedback and options for overcoming performance challenges.

  • Simplify verification testing. Contract services are supported by a flow meter verification software that makes use of capabilities built into the instruments themselves. They can confirm flow performance within specified limits without affecting the process being measured.
    Doing so provides accurate feedback on product performance without downtime. In particular, the process allows for the optimization of process throughput, minimizing of calibration expenses, and forecasting of upcoming maintenance concerns.
  • Simplify spare parts and consumables management. A wide knowledge of the product, as well as continuous checking of the devices when preventive maintenance is carried out on-site, enables technicians to arrive on-site with the appropriate parts, filters, and connectors. Additionally, customer service programs may also monitor consumables to ease concerns about handling costly excess inventories.
  • Empower in-house personnel. In-house employees can still improve their operating or diagnostic skills, even when contract services are present to handle immediate onsite maintenance needs. Various training opportunities are offered in conjunction with on-going maintenance services.
    If the contract service organization provides online tools to share a user database of equipment calibration, incident reports, and maintenance histories, in-house personnel could also acquire an understanding of situations that require closer monitoring.
  • Consult on compliance or optimization projects. Having experienced contract service engineers who are familiar with plant operations and measurement or analyzer equipment creates a good avenue to generate plans to optimize existing processes, improve mechanisms, or meet changing regulatory requirements.

myABB business portal dashboard

Figure 1. myABB business portal dashboard

Support CAPEX and OPE Budget Stability

Apart from improving maintenance performance through preventive and predictive maintenance, managed service plans also offer financial advantages in both capital and operating expenditures (CAPEX/OPEX). Budgeted services and warranty coverage efficiently deliver continuous maintenance support at a fixed operating cost, thereby minimizing costly and unexpected expenses in the area of critical measurement and analysis.

Extended lifecycle services may also provide a database of historical performance that could create a more sustainable budget and influence decision-making on future capital investments (Figure 2).

ABB offers a wide-ranging selection of reliable measurement and analytical products and solutions for power generation industry applications. ABB’s measurement products provide power plant operators with maximum asset efficiency as well as compliance with local and international legislation. ABB has access to data on many critical measurements, from combustion performance to water chemistry through to stack emissions.

Historical performance database aids decisions on future capital investments

Figure 2. Historical performance database aids decisions on future capital investments

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by ABB Measurement & Analytics.

For more information on this source, please visit ABB Measurement & Analytics.

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