04 Dec The importance of engineering expertise in wastewater treatment
Wastewater treatment plants carry out a vital function for urban and regional areas of Australia, removing contaminants from water and sewage before it is reused of discharged into the environment. Effective treatment relies on robust, sturdy equipment and machinery that can operate reliably in biochemically extreme conditions over long periods of time.
However, parts and components will at times need replacement to maintain the smooth operations that guide wastewater through the primary, secondary, and tertiary treatment processes. As sudden failure of components or machinery can lead to significant environment risk, it is necessary for regular monitoring and servicing of wastewater treatment equipment.
This is where Inenco Group’s engineering services team comes in. Wayne D’Souza, National Accounts Manager at Inenco Group, explained that while many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for most part only supply products to wastewater treatment, Inenco and its companies BSC and CBC have the expertise to both provide high-quality products and experienced engineering support.
“The wastewater sector, due to the potential for environmental harm, is very averse to risk. And we understand that and that is something we cater for. Wastewater treatment plants not only require reliable components, but they also require high-quality engineering support. What they aren’t getting from the OEMs is the latter. We offer both.”
D’Souza explained that the rapidly-evolving nature of technology has meant that products, and the installation and maintenance processes required for products, have changed, sometimes dramatically.
“Components and products often last a lot longer now. We’ve identified a number of what we call ‘problem-solver’ products, which we put in front of the customer and explain what applications they can be used for and what the benefits are. Further, we can demonstrate that we have the engineering support to not only install the products, provide monitoring and maintenance, but also provide specialist training for the operator’s maintenance team,” said D’Souza.
“We can also invite in our suppliers to provide training and knowledge on their particular products. We have a longstanding relationship with suppliers such as Schaeffler and Gates, for instance, where they come out onto a wastewater site and supervise installations.”
Close relationships with suppliers and in-house product expertise at Inenco’s BSC and CBC branches also enable product recommendations that are suited to particular wastewater operations.
“In the wastewater treatment space, one treatment plant may have totally different processes to another, so some of our problem-solver products might be relevant to one site but not to another. We hone-in on what the customer needs,” D’Souza explained.
For the Inenco’s wastewater teams, determining what works for a particular treatment plant often starts with carrying out site surveys, mapping out the equipment and machinery that the customer is using, and identifying applications which have the potential to cause problems.
“We can determine whether there are better products that can replace existing ones. And we can suggest what products they should use for those applications,” said D’Souza. “That’s what distinguishes us. What sets us apart from our competition is that we offer an extensive range of quality products, which is supported by our engineering expertise.”
BSC and CBC have extensive branch coverage across Australia. BSC, in particular, has a strong presence in regional areas. This means that wastewater treatment plants run by local governments in these areas can have reliable access to the company’s engineering services.
“We were called in by a major wastewater utility company to look at some thermography work, which led into product supply – a large order. The customer felt confident that we could not only provide quality service, but also provide the right products to improve operations. We don’t just supply product for the sake of it. If we have something more suitable, we will make those recommendations. That comes with having in-house expertise,” said D’Souza.
Inenco’s engineers will periodically carry out scheduled condition monitoring services for critical pieces of equipment, which D’Souza said served as a critical safety check for customers.
“This is usually on customers’ critical pieces of equipment. It is ongoing and it is relatively inexpensive to do, especially if you consider the cost of a catastrophic failure that occurs because condition monitoring hasn’t been carried out,” he explained.
Wastewater treatment is a 24/7, 365-days-a-year operation. With potentially huge environmental impacts if something goes wrong, it is critical that engineering support is reliable and easily accessible when it is needed.
“We run a 24/7 operation to back up what we supply,” said D’Souza. “Our customers need to be able to know they can ring us up at 3am in the morning and get us to come out and look at a broken motor or gearbox. We always have someone on call. When you’re working in such a critical space, its essential that we can give the customer that confidence.”