Inefficient actuators upgraded to Rotork intelligent electric actuation at a water adventure site


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Inefficient actuators upgraded to Rotork intelligent electric actuation at a water adventure site

IQ3 actuators from Rotork have improved and modernised the flow control system at a white water centre in the north-east of England, UK.

The Tees Barrage International White Water Centre is an activity and sports site. Visitors can go white water rafting, canoeing, kayaking, power boating and paddleboarding.  It is part of the Tees Barrage Park visitor attraction situated on the River Tees at Stockton-on-Tees. 

Opened in 1995, the Tees Barrage was built to provide for the development and improvement of the area and recreational use of the River Tees by maintaining an upstream river level.  It is looked after by Canal & River Trust who are undertaking a project to help to improve the performance of the existing control system.

The penstocks on site feed the water course with river water, prevent seawater from entering the park at high tide (seawater is undesirable for white water users and will lead to equipment corrosion) and maintain water levels into the park to prevent it from flooding in extreme weather conditions. The old control system was hydraulically operated and was proving unreliable. It was provided by linear hydraulic cylinders and a single hydraulic power pack without torque protection, no data or condition monitoring and limited position feedback. This caused broken penstock spindles, oil leaks and needed unplanned maintenance intervention. The existing power cabling had insufficient capacity to supply five actuators and required updating to comply with the latest regulations.

The customer chose to upgrade to IQ3 actuators, Rotork’s flagship intelligent electric actuator. IQ3 actuators have high degrees of environmental protection and water ingress protection. They have a double-sealed enclosure (IP66/68) and are therefore ideally suited for water applications. The customer was impressed with many benefits IQ3 actuators bring, including: the ability to capture historical performance data through the integrated data logger, accurate position and torque sensing, and integral controls. IQ3 actuators have a low total cost of life and their high degrees of reliability/availability means a reduced likelihood of any interruption to operation.

The replacement system supplied by Rotork includes both a mechanical interface and electrical control system. IQ3 actuators with Modbus TCP (via a Mitsubishi PLC) and vandal proof covers, Rotork IB gearboxes, electrical/control cabling, pedestals, a replacement electrical distribution switch and an ethernet switch were all supplied to the site. One of the penstocks and its actuator is difficult to access, so Rotork Site Services supplied a Rotork Remote Hand Station for an operator to control the actuator while standing up to 100 metres away, with access to a duplicate screen.

The IQ3 actuators with IB gearboxes (increasing torque to a maximum of 7,604 Nm) now operate penstocks to control the level within the Tees Barrage International White Water Centre (TBIWWC), as well as ensuring that public facilities and areas are not flooded during tidal movements. The penstocks are also an isolation point to enable maintenance to take place within the white water centre. The wide range of products and services was secured by the expertise shown by Rotork engineers after assessing the site which led to an increase in the service offered, including the cabling (inspection, testing, removal and installation), penstock repairs, and design/manufacture/installation of mechanical adaptions. Scaffolding, security and on-site project management were provided by AmcoGiffen.

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