Integrated Control System Streamlines Wastewater Treatment Facility
Consolidating control over the many elements of an industrial wastewater treatment system can achieve operational efficiency and enable in-depth reporting.
Here’s how Matrix Technologies helped a major food and beverage manufacturer upgrade the integrated control system for a new wastewater treatment and spray field facility.
The Goal: Streamlined Controls for Better Operations and Reporting
A prominent food and beverage manufacturing company was building a new wastewater treatment facility at its Paris, Texas manufacturing plant to replace a deteriorating building that was structurally failing.
The new facility would feature all-new wastewater processing equipment and a new control system, since the old system had been piecemealed together over the lifetime of the facility and parts of the system were failing beyond repair.
The facility processes wastewater from the production area before sending it to the spray fields. Solids in the wastewater, such as vegetables and meat trimmings, are removed through a series of rotating spray drums activated by the flow demand from the influent pumps. Excess water is removed from the solids before they are transferred to a dumpster for removal from the site.
Fats are removed from the water in a dissolved air flotation (DAF) system, stored in a heat traced tank and periodically removed from the site. The final treatment is an automatic chemical injection based on the feedback from an analysis probe in the effluent tank. As the effluent tank level rises, treated water is pumped out to the spray heads in zoned fields.
One of the manufacturer’s most important objectives was to have one master integrated control system to manage all steps of the process, rather than independent control systems that would need to interface with one another. The company also hoped to reduce the time and effort required to fulfill EPA reporting requirements about water discharge volumes through automated operations reporting.
The manufacturer asked Matrix to design, test, and install a single, integrated control system with state-of-the-art reporting capabilities.
Finding Solutions for Project Challenges
Matrix Technologies, Inc. is a long-time provider of industrial process design and engineering services to the manufacturer. Matrix has extensive knowledge of the customer’s systems, having created many of the company’s standards and completed projects in many of its plants. Matrix also has in-depth expertise in industrial wastewater treatment operations.
Matrix engineers and software specialists understood the customer’s vision for an integrated control system that could manage equipment from different vendors. There were many challenges that had to be addressed:
- The wastewater treatment system had to be able to accommodate a constantly fluctuating inflow from the plant, since washdowns occur at different times throughout the day and night.
- Wastewater never stops coming from the plant, so it was crucial to keep the old system operating while the new system was being commissioned. When the new system was ready, waste was to be diverted to the new facility without stopping production in the plant.
- Since the same spray heads were to be used, those spray heads had to be phased into the new system by zone.
Matrix worked with each of the equipment manufacturers to understand the needs and demands of each individual control system before integrating the controls for each into one controller. A ControlLogix PLC was utilized to control all parts of the process in the new building and the fields.
This controller handled the staging of pumps on the influent lift station, staging of spray drums, and DAF based on demand, chlorine injection based on effluent analysis, staging of effluent pumps, and scheduling of spray heads. Spray heads had different discharge capacities, so the system would calculate how may spray heads to open up and in which areas. To balance the discharge, the system would cycle different spray field zones based on the amount of time each spray field zone was operating.
The customer also wanted to be able to send alarms via text message to operators who might be out in the spray fields. Matrix did this directly from the PLC by sending an email message to a mass text notification system that the client already had using SMTP from the 1756-EN2T module. The server would receive the alarm emails directly from the ControlLogix and distribute the notification to the appropriate employees via text message.
Matrix used Wonderware InTouch as the Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA), given the client’s preference for the product. From these screens, plant operators can control all parts of the wastewater plant including enabling and disabling specific spray heads that were down for maintenance and disabling spray field zones if a particular area needed to be down.
Steps to Success for Wastewater Treatment System Integration
Matrix engineers took the following steps to develop a customized integrated control solution for the customer’s wastewater treatment facility:
- Study of Wastewater Equipment Functional Specifications: Matrix gathered the functional specifications for each piece of wastewater processing equipment from all the different vendors to understand how each piece was supposed to work.
- Control Panel Design & Process Simulation: Matrix engineers designed the control panels for an integrated system, then conducted simulation testing at their own facility using the same equipment the client was installing at its plant. The customer’s team reviewed the results of the simulation test.
- On-Site Installation: Matrix completed the installation of the new control system and conducted final testing with the customer’s actual equipment.
The Result: Greater System Visibility, Equipment Optimization, and Manufacturing Intelligence
Enhanced system data feeds have given the manufacturer greater visibility into its wastewater treatment process and enhanced its ability to optimize the performance of its equipment. Plant operators can avoid stressing individual pumps and sprays by monitoring activity levels and better planning for routine rests and/or maintenance.
Automated reporting can now detail the number of gallons of wastewater discharged the previous day in just seconds for EPA reporting, and provide the manufacturer with valuable insights into other system metrics. From the SCADA, operators can see the daily discharge amounts per spray head and as a total value. The total energy usage is also recorded from an energy monitor installed on the incoming power.
Total running time of the equipment is tracked for maintenance purposes. The system also uses the total running time of the pumps to decide which pump to start or stop in a lead-lag configuration at the influent and effluent.
Matrix Technologies is one of the largest independent process design, industrial automation engineering, and manufacturing operations management companies in North America, with decades of experience serving food and beverage manufacturing companies. Matrix is a Rockwell Automation Solution Partner and Wonderware Endorsed System Integration Partner. To learn more about our systems integration expertise and services for food and beverage manufacturing, contact Josh Peeno, PE, Project Engineer.
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Industrial Automation & Information – Automation Solutions