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Post at 29 Aug 2017

Background
In the Austrian town of Villach, one of the country’s largest wastewater treatment plants cleans the water for a population of 200,000. Vienna based IAS has recently modernized this plant with control and display systems from Rockwell Automation together with a three tier network Albert Steinwender earns his living from a dirty business – but there’s nothing dishonourable about it. His company IAS (Internationale Automations systeme) specializes in planning and engineering electrotechnical equipment for sewage treatment plants, drinking water processing plants and landfill sites. “We provide everything from the right selection of measurement and control components through to complete automation systems,” says Steinwender. IAS has been working closely with Rockwell Automation for many years – and this relationship really came in to its own for a large project for the Austrian town of Villach. The company was asked to completely modernize the municipal waste water treatment plant as well as 30 local pumping stations

Challenge

One of the challenges of the project was that the modernization work had to be completed while the plant was still running. Another challenge was the deadline. In parallel to the modernization of the sewage treatment plant, the town of Villach was implementing a local heating supply system which had a contractually agreed start date. A significant part of the heating from this system comes from a gas powered thermal power station. The gas is produced using surplus sludge from the waste water treatment plant – and that was being upgraded itself. “A lot of people think that dirty water flows into a sewage treatment plant at one end and clean water magically comes out at the other end,” says Steinwender with a smile. But there are advanced technologies behind the scenes that make sure everything goes according to plan. “A waste water plant needs to be able to react to different situations, while delivering consistently high water quality,” he adds. There is no room for errors because stringent water legislation does not allow any downtime.
“There are very few industrial processes that require as much control as wastewater purification,” notes Steinwender.

Solutions
Results
  • Project implemented in just 18 months while the plant was running
  • Easier programming of Allen-Bradley components helped to accelerate implementation
  • Secure remote access to control systems facilitates maintenance
  • Consistent, standardized control technologies in all pumping and lifting stations
  • Scalable controllers will make it easier to change or extend the system in the future