Flood defence project
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Flood defence system project

January 13, 2022 By 0 Comments

At Kings & Barnhams, we love a good challenge, and the ditch flood defence system we installed at Bedford Girls’ School was no different. We were required to design and manufacture a control system for the purpose of monitoring two 75kw soft start-controlled booster type pumps. The aim of this project was to reduce the risk of flooding on the property.

The purpose of the project

During the winter, when the levels of the Great Ouse River are high, the water rises and blocks the existing ditch outlets. This causes flooding at the school and surrounding areas. Our task was to install a drainage board and pumping station to force the water back into the river at 900 litres per second, to prevent flooding.

The system we installed

This flood defence system consisted of a Human Machine Interface (HMI) touch screen, combined with a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC). The PLC reads the 4-20mA analogue signal from the ultrasonic level sensor. In this way, it can accurately monitor the level of the pump that the PLC automatically controls. This is known as a Duty Assist system.

The HMI screen shows the running state of the pumps and allows the system to be monitored and have adjustments made by the operator. Fault diagnosis is aided using alarm pages. The system was programmed to allow the pumps to swap the Duty (or lead) pump with every start to help prevent wear and tear of the pumps, motors, and soft starters.

We incorporated an additional option that sends a single text message to the user in the event of a fault. This gives the user the time to attend to the pump station for a manual reset.

How the system works

flood defence system UI

The HMI we installed allows the operator to set start and stop levels. The first set point starts the first pump, and if the level continues to rise, the second set point would be made using the second pump. As the water level drops again, the second pump turns off, followed by the first pump.

As a backup, we fitted a float switch at the maximum level allowed to operate both pumps should there be an ultrasonic failure.

The feedback we received

Barry Cannon, Senior Engineer at the Bedford Group of Internal Drainage Boards said, “Thank you for the successful completion of the pumping station. I’ve been involved with many projects over the years but cannot remember one where everything worked as intended on the first press of the button. Brilliant!”

We are one of the largest process, control, and automation system integrators in the East of England and we consistently deliver and design innovative systems across a range of industries. Contact our control systems experts to find out more.

flood defence machinery


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