24 Jul 2024

AUTOMATION FOR MANUFACTURING

48-hour motor repairs help to restore water to flood victims



Rapid emergency repairs on 24 pump motors helped to restore water supplies speedily to more than 300,000 consumers in the UK’s Severn Valley after the pumps were damaged by recent record-breaking floods. Floodwater inundated Severn Trent Water’s Mythe treatment plant at Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, submerging some of the pumps and leaving thousands of customers without running water.

The customers were warned that they faced up to two weeks without water, however, through the round-the-clock efforts of all concerned, the water supplies were restored after just one week. The 24 motors that drive the site’s filtration pumps were removed, repaired and replaced with 48 hours.

Police esctort for flood motors

On their return journey to the treatment plant, the repaired motors were escorted by police motorbikes (shown above).

After the disaster struck, Severn Trent called upon Central Electrical of Knowsley on Merseyside to salvage the critical motors and to repair them as quickly as possible. Five years ago, Severn Trent signed a framework agreement with ABB Motor Service Partners – including Central Electrical – to undertake the utility’s motor repairs and replacements.

“When the extent of the damage became apparent, Severn Trent contacted us immediately and we despatched a team of four engineers to Mythe,” explains Central Electrical director, Shaun Sutton. “We removed the electric motors from the treatment works, which was flood-damaged, and brought them back to our Knowsley repair facility. Then we cleaned and overhauled them before sending them back to site.”

The 24 motors included some large, old imperial-frame motors as well as metric motors from frame size 90. Removing them posed some difficult lifting challenges because of the limited access at the treatment works.

It took about 24 hours to transfer the motors to Central’s repair shop where each one was stripped down, dried and the windings assessed and repaired or re-varnished. All of the motors’ bearings were replaced and they underwent stringent testing before being transported back to Mythe.

“We managed to remove, repair and return all of the motors within 48 hours,” says Sutton. “Initially, they were going to fly the motors from our plant in Knowsley to Tewkesbury in an RAF Chinook helicopter.” In the end, the motors were transported back to the treatment works by road, escorted by the police outriders..