Northern Ireland Water expands asset monitoring programme with AI technology from Samotics

Samotics has grown the deployment of its artificial intelligence (AI)-driven SAM4 system across Northern Ireland Water’s submerged assets to support the delivery of a more cost-efficient and sustainable service.

The company was initially selected by Northern Ireland Water to provide continuous insight into the health, performance and energy efficiency of its sewage pumps as part of a pilot. After seeing early successes in the programme, Northern Ireland Water plans to roll out the SAM4 system to additional sites to further explore all its capabilities across a variety of pump types and processes.

Ensuring the health of submerged pumps is vital to avoid costly, disruptive repairs and prevent damaging pollution events, but the assets’ remote location makes it hard to acquire frequency data. SAM4 addresses this issue by analysing the current and voltage signals of electric-driven motor systems using a technique called electrical signature analysis (ESA). The system’s sensors install in the motor control cabinet, rather than on the pump itself, enabling remote capture of asset health data.

The system also provides detection performance for both electrical and mechanical faults, allowing Northern Ireland Water to detect over 90% of developing failures up to five months in advance.

The decision to scale the number of assets monitored by SAM4 was made as a result of significant successes across the programme. In the months following installation, Samotics detected developing faults in two pumps that could have resulted in the complete failure of these assets. Through early intervention, Northern Ireland Water successfully resolved issues and prevented estimated direct damage to the pumps of over £44,000. Most important, Northern Ireland Water minimised the risk of potential pollution events and their significant environmental impact.

SAM4 detected a developing fault in this submerged wastewater pump. Following the detection, the pump was lifted for inspection and the Northern Ireland Water team found that the claw connecting the pump to the discharge piping was hanging on with only one out of eight bolts.

Paul Foley, M&E field manager at Northern Ireland Water, said: “We selected Samotics and its SAM4 technology as it’s easy to install the hardware in our existing MCC panels and because the SAM4 dashboard provides us with useful information.

“For example, SAM4 brought to my attention issues with one of our submersible pumps located in a busy office carpark. This insight helped me to plan crews, issue notifications and permits, as well as organise a 25-ton crane, which allowed us to lift and inspect the pump at the most optimal time, minimising downtime and maintaining pump resilience.”

In addition to monitoring the health of critical assets, Samotics has also enabled Northern Ireland Water to track pump performance and efficiency in support of its ambitious zero carbon strategy. Using SAM4’s real-time pump performance curve and energy monitor, Northern Ireland Water can identify targeted interventions that improve efficiency with a demonstrable return on investment. This includes optimising operational processes to reflect performance requirements and replacing pumps with more efficient or appropriate models to realise cost savings.

“SAM4 allowed me to build a Capex business case using actual pump data,” Foley added. “This helped us select more suitable, energy-efficient pumps at our problem site.”

Jasper Hoogeweegen, CEO at Samotics, concluded: “We are delighted to be supporting Northern Ireland Water in its pursuit of securing long-term water infrastructure resilience. This is vital to ensure it can continue to provide the best possible service to its customers today and in the future in a cost-effective manner.

“With SAM4, the team can now focus on utilising real-time, data-driven insights to anticipate faults, improve performance and reduce carbon emissions of submerged pumps, enabling long-term reliability and efficiency of its critical infrastructure.”