South Africa’s water infrastructure woes are well-documented; however, it has also become increasingly vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks which could lead to devastating consequences. In some instances, service outages could result in operational malfunction and worse, contaminated water.

To this end, the recently launched Schneider Electric ATS480 Soft Starter, which has been designed to optimise the entire lifecycle leading to digitised, efficient environment, also offers sophisticated cybersecurity features. Its embedded security meets the requirements Cybersecurity Achilles and IEC 61443, protecting equipment against causal or coincidental violations.

“The Schneider Electric ATS480 Soft Starter in essence represents the next evolution in soft starters, optimised for digital environments while meeting rigid cybersecurity standards,” says Jaque Mare, product manager: VSD and soft starters at Schneider Electric.

Looking specifically at the water and wastewater industry, he says the Schneider Electric ATS480 Soft Starter offers the following important benefits:

* Secure operations and pumpstations – the soft starter protect water and wastewater infrastructure against cyber threats.

* Reduced engineering time – it offers digital tools and selections which allow faster decisions and procurement.

* Moisture repellent – the soft starter features conformal coating as standard on PC board which prevents corrosion – a major plus at water and wastewater facilities.

* Motor protection – its slowly starts the motor until it reaches it full load and current or speed.

* Digital environment – the software starter features an embedded digital QR code which assists installers with code fault finding and other important material – all digital.

Prevention of water hammering

Whilst leaking or burst water pipes are often attribute to age or extreme temperatures, water hammering is a major culprit of pipe damage and degradation.

Water hammering occurs when water flow is suddenly reduced at the end of pipeline system leading to pressure waves in the pipe. In essence it creates shockwaves in the piping systems which impacts such as mechanical equipment like pumps and pipes. This in turn can lead to pipe bursts and water leaks which leaves communities without water.

“The Altivar ATS480 reduces water hammering by gradually starting and shutting down motors, protecting our pipeline system and drastically reducing maintenance,” explains Mare.

The Schneider Electric Altivar ATS480 Soft Starter includes the following technical specifications:

* Power range: 4kW to 900kW.

* Operational Voltage range: 208V to 690V.

* Operational current range: 17 A to 1200 A.

* Operating cycle: Normal duty and heavy duty.

* Motor type: asynchronous motors, IE2 – IE3 – IE4 motors.

* Motor Control: Torque Control (TCS), voltage control.

* Current limitation: 500% current rating (up to 700% of the rated motor current).

* Cyber secure by design.

* Compatible with its predecessor the ATS48 – therefore extending initial expenditure and ROI.

* Digitisation.