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Smart monitoring tool secures drinking water supply

Most of us in Germany rarely worry about access to a constant supply of food-grade drinking water. However, in the background water supply utilities are making enormous efforts to ensure that this everyday resource is always reliably on tap. This can involve planning redundancies into otherwise smoothly running systems.

Filter vessels, pipes and valves in the technical installation building of the central “Krug von Nidda” waterworks

The project: Waterworks pumps monitoring

Since 1875, Iserlohn’s municipal utilities have been supplying the residents of Iserlohn and the surrounding region with water. This water supply is implemented via a complex network and distribution system, the planning of which began in 1869. Since being optimised to produce drinking water in 2006, the central Iserlohn “Krug von Nidda” waterworks has become one of the most high-tech waterworks in Germany. Pumps, pipes and valves have all been brought right up to date – so there is no need to worry. Nevertheless, the municipal utilities intend to categorically rule out any technical irregularity – no matter how small – that could jeopardise the reliability of the local population’s water supply. For this reason, they decided to add an additional safety stage to the tried-and-tested heart of the plant: pump systems from KSB.

The customer: Stadtwerke Iserlohn

Based in Germany’s Sauerland region, Iserlohn’s municipal utilities provide the residents of Iserlohn and the region with electricity, natural gas, district heating and water. They currently supply over 20,000 households with water via a 482-kilometre network of pipelines. In addition, 4000 hydrants are available for fire brigades, street cleaning and events. In total, the municipal utilities supply 10 million m3 of water daily.

Multiple KSB Guard monitoring tools mounted on different Etanorm pumps

Multiple KSB Guard units on Etanorm pumps

The challenge: Securing supply at minimum cost

The installation of a separate pump system for redundancy purposes was ruled out due to cost and space considerations. The utilities provider was therefore looking for a smart and cost-effective monitoring solution to ensure reliability of supply. This would ideally be available relatively quickly and offer installation options which avoided direct intervention in the existing system.

The solution: An out-of-the-box sensor tool

KSB was able to meet this request without further ado. In KSB Guard, the company’s portfolio already features a product that has proven its capabilities many times over in comparable projects. For the case in hand, KSB Guard was delivered within 14 days and installed by the municipal utilities’ own technicians. While KSB pumps are usually customised and manufactured to customer specifications, KSB Guard is a product that can be used right out of the box in virtually any conceivable system configuration.

KSB Guard can be attached to the pump casing in a few simple steps without the need for complex sensors, cabling, or time-consuming hardware and software connections to the control system. After intuitive configuration via tablet or smartphone, it can be put directly into operation. The pumps can now be monitored around the clock via a web portal. KSB Guard uses a gateway to continuously upload pump status data, such as vibration and temperature, to the KSB Cloud, where it can be accessed by authorised users via any internet-enabled device. Warning messages can be sent by e-mail on request. 

Monitoring and evaluation of the status data can be carried out via a simple traffic light system or detailed diagrams as desired. The KSB Guard traffic light system uses the colours green, amber or red to indicate whether users can sit back and relax or whether an irregularity is imminent and requires immediate action. In addition, users can create a file in the cloud and view each pump’s individual “history” based on an evaluation of its long-term measurement data.

The key advantage of this system is obvious: Maintenance can be planned, meaning that such preventive maintenance can be carried out at a time determined by the service engineers themselves. Unforeseen disruptions that jeopardise supply reliability are now a thing of the past.

KSB Guard is also suitable for third-party pumps. 
 

Man with tablet in hand, on it diagrams of KSB Guard; pumps in the background

KSB Guard sends its data to tablets and smartphones in a matter of seconds.

Figures I Data I Facts

System: Water supply
End user: Stadtwerke Iserlohn

Project data
3x KSB Guard on flushing water pump
3x KSB Guard on intermediate pump
3x KSB Guard on clean water pump / pump connected to the public water supply system
1x Gateway

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