ABB to control Dutch sand dune water filtration process

  • October 27, 2010
  • ABB
  • News
October 27, 2010 - ABB is automating the entire production and distribution operations of a Netherlands water company with a uniquely eco-friendly production process that uses coastal sand dunes to purify river water into drinking water for 1.2 million people. Based on ABB’s System 800xA Extended Automation platform, the solution will enable Dutch water utility Dunea to transform its older, multiple-process automation systems into a single state-of-the-art system that will control and manage the utility’s entire water production and distribution operations from one central control room. The solution is replacing the existing process automation systems at Dunea’s five production facilities. Previously, each facility had its own process automation system that required its own control room, its own staff of operators, its own hardware and software, and its own spare part strategy. Single system-wide solution Replacing these decentralized systems with a single integrated operations-wide solution brings Dunea significant benefits, the most important of which is a standard and unified system of process control. Dunea is one of the largest water utilities in the Netherlands, supplying 80 million cubic meters of drinking water a year to 1.2 million people in the area in and around The Hague, the third largest city in the Netherlands. This solution will significantly improve the company's efficiency, reduce its operating and manning costs, and enhance the reliability of its production process to ensure Dunea’s customers receive a steady supply of safe, high-quality drinking water. “The primary advantage (of the new solution) is that from the central control room we can now manage and monitor the purification processes of each production site with the aid of the 800xA system,” said Thijs Aanhane, operational manager, Dunea. Dunea’s water production process is uniquely eco-friendly and thought to be the only process of its kind in the world. Water from a local river is pumped to an underground pumping station, where it is pre-purified by means of sand filters. The water is transferred to one of three coastal sites where it is mixed with rain water and filtered naturally through the sand dunes for about two months to create ‘dune water.’ This is then softened, filtered to remove sand grains and other particles, and stored in tanks ready for distribution throughout the water network. "To make the drinking water process as efficient as possible, we are completely standardizing the process automation of all the production sites to the ABB 800xA automation system,” says Thijs Aanhane, operational manager for Dunea. Dunea has developed its own software for the new operations-wide automation system. Known as Plenty, the software enables Dunea to access the process data and image displays for any production facility at any time of day and from any of the company’s sites. Operating manuals, control diagrams of pumps and valves, parameter lists, and other process data and material are also accessible the same way. ABB (and companies that were bought by ABB) supplied the original automation systems in the 1980s and 1990s. The contract for a new solution was put out to tender, and subsequently awarded to ABB. The flexibility of the System 800xA platform to incorporate the Plenty concept and the competitive total cost of ownership of the solution were two of the reasons why ABB was selected. “I know exactly what I can demand of ABB, and ABB knows exactly the kind of quality we want; it is an excellent collaboration, and that’s what is needed,” said Thijs Aanhane, operational manager, Dunea. ABB is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 117,000 people. Learn More

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