Posts Tagged ‘Water Industry’

ABB takes lead role in helping to address global water wastage

April 1, 2015

Since its inception, the Global Water Leakage Summit has grown to become a leading event on the international water calendar and a great place to discuss and exchange the latest thinking on leakage and water management technologies and techniques. And with our extensive background in water applications, we are proud to have taken the lead role at last month’s Global Water Leakage Summit, which was held in London (17th and 18th March).

Attended by key influencers and decision – makers in water from around the world, this year’s event included a key focus on the role of smart technology in achieving zero leakage which is now being seen as an increasingly realistic prospect, as advances in technology offer new possibilities for measuring, controlling and conveying water.

The two-day event covered a broad range of topics, with speakers representing a broad spectrum of interests, including the UK All-Parliamentary Water Group, UK, Irish and international water utilities, plus manufacturers and industry bodies such as Ofwat and the Water Industry Commission for Scotland.

Our own Tim Door, UK and Ireland General Manager, chaired the sessions on the second day of the event. Presentations were given by speakers from countries including the UK, Spain, Israel, Portugal and India on the innovative approaches and technologies being applied to tackle leakage and encourage responsible water management.

Amongst the presenters was ABB’s Dr Ray Keech, who discussed the AquaMaster 3 electromagnetic flowmeter with WITS (Water Industry Telemetry Standard) technology. The device combines the benefits of a high accuracy integrated flow and pressure metering solution with high speed data communications, giving users access to near real time data on pipeline conditions. With extensive self-diagnostic capabilities, the AquaMaster 3 with WITS also provides operators with improved information on meter performance, enabling them to reduce maintenance to an on demand basis.

We also led the Gala Dinner at the end of the first day of the event, which has become an established tradition and a great opportunity for networking. As always, the dinner included a charity auction on behalf of WaterAid. Led by Tim Door and Jeremy Heath of Sutton and East Surrey Water, the auction surpassed the previous event’s record, raising a remarkable £2,430, with prizes auctioned off including a Golf Day experience with a Pro AM, an Iphone 6 and £250 red letter day.


ABB to showcase latest technologies for water at IWEX 2015

March 18, 2015


We are delighted to announce that we will be exhibiting at IWEX at the NEC in Birmingham on 21st – 23rd April 2015. On stand (G26), we’ll be demonstrating how our products can help water companies to take a holistic approach to optimizing their network efficiency. Therefore we’ll be showcasing how we can help to boost efficiency across all areas, from reduced energy consumption through to enhanced data collection.

A fully automated interactive panel will show how our latest equipment can be integrated to provide customers with complete solutions for monitoring and controlling water supplies. The panel will feature a selection of instruments, variable speed drives, electric motors and control equipment.

The stand will also feature examples of our latest technologies for water and wastewater processes.

Products on display will include the AquaMaster 3 with WITS (Water Industry Telemetry Standard) DNP3 based open protocol. Based on tried and tested network technology, WITS DNP3 enables communication between different types of data acquisition and control equipment.

The AquaMaster 3 will be joined by Katronic’s range of KATflow ultrasonic clamp-on flowmeters. Featuring an intuitive menu, instrument setup wizard and the innovative Audible Sensor Positioning Assistant, the KATflow range makes the use of clamp-on ultrasonic flowmeters easier than ever before.

Also on display is the latest range of WIMES compliant low voltage electric motors. The motors were designed specifically to meet the UK’s Water Industry Mechanical and Electrical Specification. (WIMES 3.03 issue 6), created by The Pump Centre in conjuction with end users, consultants, contractors and manufactuturers, including ABB.

Alongside it is ABB’S SynRM (Synchronous Reluctance Motor) and drive package for the water industry. The package offers the benefits of a premium motor control alongside the highest levels of motor performance, giving ultimate efficiency and reliability to optimise pump system cost of ownership.

For more information, email or call 0870 600 6122 ref. ‘IWEX 2015’. Alternatively, please visit ABB’s water industry portal at

More innovation, less leaks

January 26, 2010

Tony Hoyle, Flow Products Manager, ABB Limited, asks if UK companies are sufficiently geared up to handle water leakages.

The UK general public are a fickle lot. When it comes to water leakage, they are usually only interested either during heatwaves or when it comes to likely increases in their water bills.

It’s encouraging then to notice the spate of messages posted by water companies on Twitter (I confess to being an avid user) thanking customers for their vigilance in reporting leaking water mains brought on by the cold weather.

On a deeper level, though, it does beg the question of whether UK companies are still sufficiently geared up to handle water leakage – in particular when it comes to spotting and rectify the early telltale signs of impending leaks.

This is not to knock the huge progress that has already been made in leakage management in the UK in recent years. Thames Water, Severn Trent and Yorkshire Water are all just some of the examples of water companies that have undertaken massive programmes of mains improvement, with a dramatic reduction in leakage as a result. However, even with this investment, many leakage management programmes still tend to focus on resolving leaks that are likely to cause immediate problems, due to the need to conserve costs and balance manpower resources across other activities.

Though leakage can never be totally eliminated, it is still possible for it to be more tightly controlled.

What is needed is greater innovation, involving not just the application of new technology, but also looking outside the water industry to identify best practices used in other industries to meet the same or similar challenges.

One example of where this is already happening is Project Neptune, a joint partnership between Yorkshire Water, United Utilities, ABB, the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and seven UK universities. Represented by the trident of Neptune, the Roman god of water, the project has set itself a three-pronged goal of improving the monitoring, control and optimisation of water supplies.

Working together, the project partners have developed an automated leakage management system which combines up-to-the-minute pipeline data with artificial intelligence to continually monitor network performance.

Its success has already been proven in 16 DMAs throughout the Yorkshire Water catchment, with leaks now able to be spotted and repaired at a much earlier stage. The immediate benefits include the ability to better allocate repair teams and minimise disruption caused by repair works.

The longer terms benefits of this will include better control of water supply and improved energy efficiency through the reduced need for production and treatment of replacement supplies.

With press attention already focusing on the likelihood of water companies missing their leakage targets due to the recent cold weather, it’s probably only a matter of time before public attention focuses on whether water companies are doing all they possibly can to efficiently manage the nation’s supplies.

Greater innovation is just one way for us to ensure that we are.

AMP – let’s have some common sense

January 12, 2010

Tony Hoyle, Flow Products Manager, ABB Limited, looks at AMP and suggests a how the AMP process could be run more effectively.


According to a quote I read recently; “common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done.” 

When it comes to AMP, the UK Government is sadly scoring in the ‘must try harder’ region of the common sense spectrum.

Even to the lay person, shutting down an entire industry every five years makes little sense. In the time between the peak spending of AMP periods, skilled labour is lost to other sectors and equipment suppliers wind down their operations. When the new AMP period kicks in and spending starts to increase again, the result is always the same – it becomes that little bit harder and more costly to find the right workers and equipment.

The logic of continuing this approach at a time of economic recession is even harder to fathom.

So for the benefit of the common-sense challenged, here are some suggestions for how the AMP process should be run.

1. Staggering

Firstly, why not give water companies their own five year timeframes?

Staggering AMP periods would create a situation where some companies are peaking when others are slowing down, giving constant employment for skilled workers within the industry.

Given that many of the more prepared water companies had their draft plans ready months before AMP 4 even ended, this approach shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve.

2. Restore Scotland’s AMP timetable

As an extension to the above, why not restore Scotland’s AMP equivalent spending timetable so that it’s once again out of phase with those of England and Wales?

Though it was undoubtedly done for all the right reasons, the decision to align Scotland’s spending periods with the rest of the UK has actually made things worse.

Previously, Scottish projects offered gainful employment for out of work contractors and suppliers when the English and Welsh AMP periods went quiet. Why not return to this position at least?

3. How about some financial stimulation?

Earlier this year, the Government promised to inject extra investment into the UK’s infrastructure projects to help stimulate economic activity.

Despite delivering proven benefits for other sectors, most notably the UK car industry, nothing so far has materialised for the water industry. In fact, Ofwat has again over-ruled the requests from water operators for more money and called on them to cut their water prices.

Which begs the question of where the money for investment is meant to come from. Unless money is injected into the industry, the danger is that water companies will ultimately move to protect their shareholders, cutting new projects and storing up potential obstacles for the future or paying less attention to leakage and the wasted water and energy associated.

My suggestion would be that water companies should be given financial incentives to get projects started early, or at the very least, allowed to get at their AMP funding at special low interest rates if done during 2010 before the traditional peaks of mid AMP (2011 and 2012) period.

4. Benefit from competitive labour

Whenever an AMP period peak finishes, it becomes steadily more costly to retain skilled workers, who are understandably lured away by the promise of work in other sectors.

Either staggering AMP periods perhaps north and south or giving water companies early and assisted access to their AMP funding could help overcome this problem, creating an environment where work was ongoing and smooth rather than being subject to the peaks and troughs of AMP spending.

 Listen to the water industry!

Much of the above is what the water industry has been saying for years. Yet the message still doesn’t seem to be getting through.

It boils down to this. There is another way to approach AMP – the question is whether the Government is interested in taking it and helping the UK economy now. Before it’s too late.