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Integrating modern technologies in water treatment process control

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article image Remote control panel at a coal seam gas site, with MultiCELL controlling multiple water chemistry sensors

Process control systems from Burkert Fluid Control Systems offer application versatility and feature a modular design to suit the growing needs of water treatment plants.

Process control is vital to ensuring the integrity of the water supply chain in civil and industrial applications. While process control equipment has consistently delivered improvements in design, installation and operation, it is important for the technology to stay abreast of the latest industry trends to ensure an efficient and effective system.

Water is a finite resource and so the efficient management of this resource is a key driving factor behind industry investment. Much of the water used every day is constantly processed after use in a continuous cycle so that it can be returned to the environment before being extracted again, treated and reused. This process is heavily dependent upon precise process control, monitoring and data recording to ensure that all the regulatory standards are maintained while ensuring protection for the environment and the general population.

The water treatment industry generally prefers to operate a centralised control system for each site, making it quicker and easier for operators to assess the equipment and processes on the site. With such a wide array of sensors, valves and pumps installed around the site, the most efficient controller will be one that is capable of multiple tasks while still being simple to operate.

Bürkert's type 8619 MultiCELL transmitter/controller, which utilises multiple sensors for pH, conductivity and flow, ORP and temperature measurements, is ideal for a wide range of applications in water treatment. Versatility is a major advantage of this controller as it is compatible with most common sensors and also has a modular design that allows additional hardware and software to be integrated easily.

Each controller can be configured for a range of sensors as well as have up to six pre-configured I/O boards to accommodate any signal requirements. In addition, the MultiCELL can be configured as a data logger, using the built-in SD card slot for data storage. This SD card slot can also be used to save sensor parameters and control application settings to allow the same settings to be replicated in other MultiCELL controllers, ensuring the accurate transfer of control parameters between sites.

The multifunction controller has been designed with both the installer and the operator in mind. The huge range of features and the modular design allow the system to be customised to the client’s exact requirements, while the easy, intuitive user interface can be configured in four different views to display the most relevant information to a particular application.

Designing a system such as this essentially allows costs to be reduced in the processing applications; a systems engineer can, in many instances, replace an entire control cabinet with one neat controller that utilises a built-in display. The relative costs of a separate enclosure, rack mounted PLC, I/O, cabling, power supply, and HMI etc., can effectively be replaced with just one MultiCELL unit, cutting costs and streamlining installations.

A key advantage of the modular expansion facility is that MultiCELL users only pay for the features that they actually require. Since the MultiCELL provides a single controller/transmitter across a wide range of applications, inventory and training costs are also minimised. In the long term, the total cost of ownership is greatly reduced when compared to the systems currently in use. This unit is designed specifically to be panel mounted, either internally or on a door or bulkhead.

Bürkert's mxCONTROL multifunction controller, type 8620 also has similar functions with additional benefits of Ethernet or modem communication as well as the ability to control digital dosing pumps. The flexible programming capabilities enable integrators and end users to make fast program modifications during commissioning and maintenance.

An SD card slot is also provided for data logging and saving parameter settings to save time when installing many units across different sites. By using a simple user interface, easily configured control programs and common sensors, the whole process from design to implementation is streamlined for efficiency, reducing training time, parts inventory and overall cost of ownership.

Both solutions allow direct connection to existing SCADA systems and other methods of site-wide monitoring and supervisory control, so adding connectivity to pH sensors and flow meters, for example can add to the automation efficiency of a plant, while supporting the case put forward by the panel builder or integrator for a smarter solution.

New cloud-based monitoring solutions, such as Bürkert’s mySITE remote monitoring solution, can be added to any multichannel system to monitor sensor outputs. This supports email and text alarming, plus historical trending for process and maintenance optimisation.

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