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Pumping station upgrade wins AEMT project of the year

18 December, 2023

A project which solved frequent tripping problems at a water company pumping station has been chosen as project of the year in the annual AEMT (Association of Electrical and Mechanical Trades) awards, which were presented recently at ceremony in Coventry.

The award went to MKE Engineering Group for its work at Southern Water’s Browndown pumping station, which was experiencing frequent tripping of equipment. An energy survey revealed that the site’s three 180/355kW, two-speed pump motors, which dated back to the 1970s, were drawing starting currents that peaked at more than 4kA. Each pump was starting about three times per hour, consuming large amounts of energy, and causing pressure surges in the pipes and inconsistent flows to downstream treatment works.

MKE solved the problems by installing IE4 motors driven by ultra-low harmonic VSDs. The installation has cut the number of rogue trips from around 50 to about six per month and has cut the station’s electricity bills by more than £57,000 a year. The reduced load of the new system has meant that a generator upgrade previously needed to cope with the high starting currents is no longer required, saving significant upgrade costs.

Other winners of 2023 AEMT Awards included:

Product of the year: Menzel Motors for its pressurised, explosion-proof motors for use in Zone 1 hazardous areas.

Service centre of the year: Avonmouth Engineering Services, whose custom-built 70,000ft2 site is the largest workshop for electrical and mechanical repairs in the UK.

Supplier of the year: TEC Electric Motors, which claims to be UK’s largest independent electric motor stockist, and holds more than £16m of power transmission stock in the UK, ready for same-day shipping.

The 2023 AEMT awards were presented at a ceremony in Coventry

Contribution to skills and training: Ian Pattinson, a member of the Faraday Centre for 23 years, whose legacy includes “exceptional” teaching, consultancy, and a commitment to shaping engineers and fostering a safety-driven industry culture.

Rising star award: Josh Bottomley, team manager for hosted services at EMiR Software who, in four years, has gone from being an unqualified apprentice to leading a team of support engineers.

Diversity in engineering: Hidrostal, incorporating Avonmouth Engineering Services and Bedford Pumps, whose diversity and equal opportunities policy has been adopted by the AEMT as a blueprint for others.

Special recognition: Dave Beresford from Preformed Windings, who started his career as a winder in the 1960s, progressing to works manager and taking responsibility for moving the business to Newcastle. His roles have included technical manager, technical sales, and coil shop manager.

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