HUBER Technology at Inlet Works Awareness Day, Runcorn

HUBER maintenance and service work

At the beginning of the year HUBER were invited to give a presentation at the Pump Centre’s Inlet Works Awareness Day which was held at the Holiday Inn in Runcorn on 30th January. The purpose of the day was to explore the consequences of not maintaining inlet works equipment with an audience of representatives from most of the UK water companies.

HUBER Micro Strainer ROTAMAT® Ro9 disappearing into the undergrowth

Kevin Ockwell, Wayne Morris, Kieran Hagan and I gave a joint presentation where we focused on the merits of preventative maintenance over reactive maintenance. Kieran and Wayne discussed some specific case study examples of equipment that had failed as a consequence of

  • Lack of maintenance
  • Use of non-OEM parts that had failed prematurely
  • Failure of the washwater supply and poor quality washwater leading to blocked nozzles, blinded screens and dirty screenings (which in turn causes odour problem and increased screenings disposal costs).
  • Incorrect control philosophy or set up of level instruments leading to excessive run hours or inadequate overload protection.

We highlighted that the repair costs arising from catastrophic equipment failure and the consequential costs for screens either being out of action or performing badly (such as unblocking downstream pumps and filters choked with screenings) would far exceed the costs of preventative maintenance.

Stainless steel shafted auger

We illustrated this by describing in detail the fairly basic maintenance requirements of the HUBER Micro Strainer ROTAMAT® Ro9 and HUBER Belt Screen EscaMax® screens and also describing the features that had been incorporated into our products to improve their performance whilst minimising service costs.

Below are a couple of examples which relate to the HUBER Micro Strainer Ro9.

Stainless steel shafted auger and intermediate shell bearing

Unlike our competitors’ equipment the Ro9 auger is of stainless steel construction and has a shaft running throughout its whole length. Having an auger shaft rather than an open spiral improves strength, allows for increased screenings compaction and prevents screenings tumbling down what would otherwise be an open helix when the screen is installed at steeper angles.

Extending the shaft through the basket was a design change introduced in 2007. This significantly increases the rigidity of the auger flights in the screening area and prevents distortion or concertinaing of screw flights if a large obstruction enters the basket.

Intermediate shell bearing

Intermediate shell bearing

Introduced in 2008, the intermediate shell bearing located just above the perforated screen basket fully supports the auger at the non-drive end of the screen. The polyethylene bearing shell supports the auger, reduces the contact pressure between the auger brushes and the basket, reducing brush wear rates and also preventing metal to metal contact and wear between the auger and basket (if the auger brush is not replaced once it’s become worn). By not relying on the auger brush to support the auger at the non-drive end, brush life is considerably extended. The use of a shell bearing as opposed to a submerged bearing at the non-drive end of the auger shaft ensures that there is no obstruction in the flow which would be susceptible to becoming bound up with screenings.

I’m sure most manufacturers try to make such claims but it was great to have the vocal support of one of our customers who was present. At the end of our presentation Sean Smith, a maintenance manager from Wessex Water spoke up in support of our claims. He based his experience on having recently worked on the three HUBER EscaMax® screens that we installed at Calne sewage treatment works in 2007 and said that he had been impressed with the resilience of the equipment after more than 10 years of operation especially when he compared them with similar equipment on the market.

In the final part of our presentation we tried to challenge some of the accepted conventions in the water industry when it comes to after sales service. We discussed the potential benefits arising from a change in the way water companies let service contracts from one where supplier performance was measured solely on their hourly rate for labour and their response time for breakdowns to new contracts where machine availability and performance were the key measures. We shared with them some of our ideas for how HUBER could provide screening equipment with guaranteed performance levels. We outlined the capability that our electrical team has for recently developed in providing control panels with 4G telemetry so that as part of our HUBER service we can monitor and proactively maintain our equipment.

This final part of our presentation certainly generated a lot of discussion and interest in a topic which we will be pursuing with individual water companies during the rest of 2019.


by Dave Thompson
Director Engineering and Operations