It is difficult to think of a critical industry that flies beneath our collective radar quite like the water and wastewater (WWW) sector. Water is an increasingly precious natural resource. Yet, many people turn on a tap and just expect clean water. They have little understanding of the water and wastewater infrastructure and automation systems that makes this possible.
Providing essential WWW services brings significant challenges. Rapid population growth and urbanization means that clean water demand is increasing, as are more stringent regulations and environmental concerns about water treatment systems. And disruptions and demand shifts will continue to arise as service providers must run both resilient and more sustainable water treatment operations.
Ensuring environmental compliance to public health and water quality standards while delivering efficient and sustainable operations is a necessity for water and wastewater operators. In fact, the water industry already accounts for 7% of industrial energy consumption and only 0.5 to 1% of the earth’s freshwater is freely accessible, so conserving this scarce and vital resource is critical.
Digitally transforming water supply and treatment plants can elevate the sector’s operational effectiveness for increased sustainably. Digital technology connects and improves the full lifecycle management for water treatment systems, which results in superior operational efficiency, increased sustainability, and enhanced water process performance.
Simplify and accelerate water treatment efficiency and sustainability
Merging information technology (IT) with operating technology (OT) helps automate complex processes, upgrade and modernize infrastructure, and maximize the value of existing systems. Until now, enterprise-wide remote IoT data integration was often slow and complicated. Fortunately, new digital tools help integrate a complete range of data with analytics. Achieving a broader and more holistic view of all automation systems enhances the network’s performance. Water professionals use the actionable insights provided by advanced analytic tools to speed up and simplify their modernization plans. These insights include:
- Real-time state of systems and processes
- Issue diagnosis and prediction to avoid slowdowns and malfunctions
- Workflows and resource optimization
- Better energy efficiency and operational performance based on functional characteristics
Software-centric universal automation to upgrade water treatment operations
The latest release of EcoStruxure Automation Expert, Version 21.2, from Schneider Electric helps water and wastewater plants overcome efficiency roadblocks. Combining complete lifecycle management, seamless IT and OT integration, and improved automation system diagnostics can future-proof an operation. When combined with AVEVA’s software portfolio, these enhanced capabilities can be further extended as needs dictate.
EcoStruxure Automation Expert removes the dependency between the software application and the hardware platform it runs on. Decoupling software from hardware helps users modify or upgrade systems quickly and easily. EcoStruxure Automation Expert is a universal automation solution, so it is portable to almost any hardware and interoperable with almost any industrial automation solution.
With average water treatment plants in use for 25 to 35 years, universal automation solutions unleash water companies from the constraints of closed, proprietary, legacy hardware. Based on the IEC 61499 standard for interoperability, EcoStruxure Automation Expert easily adapts to solve specific customer problems, using existing automation solutions, new ones, or a combination of both. Finally, WWW operators can cost-effectively modernize rigid and outdated operations without regard to brand.
Leading water companies make efficiency gains in new automation landscape
Both automation solution developers and industrial enterprises alike tell us that EcoStruxure Automation Expert is a “game-changer.” For example, Maurice Re, Director of Automation at Master Systèmes, explained, “EcoStruxure Automation Expert transforms legacy automation systems into Industry 4.0 solutions in a low risk and agile way.” Matthias Wiemann, Head of Automation and Controls at GEA Group also shared remarkable feedback, saying, “Bringing IT and OT together is our vision at GEA, and EcoStruxure Automation Expert is helping us deliver what we promise to our customers.”
Many users value the speed and flexibility that EcoStruxure Automation Advisor delivers. Dr. Jogi Varma, Vice President, Anada Aqua, confirmed, “We realized a 5% increase in operational efficiency.” And Mr. Lin Yongzeng, General Manager of Fujian Jiayi, succinctly captured the positive feedback of so many customers by stating, “EcoStruxure Automation Expert is a better way to engineer automation.”