ControlByWeb

Affordable, expandable I/O that gives you the ideal control platform to optimize lift station performance and remote monitoring.

Better Lift Station Control with Scalable I/O

In order to provide us safe and sanitary conditions, wastewater systems depend heavily on reliable lift station operation including pump control. Pump control is the heartbeat of many industrial processes, and this couldn't be more true for lift stations. Whether the task is basic lead-lag duplex pump control, or a more complex monitoring and control scenario, ControlByWeb I/O devices and level sensors provide consistent performance you can count on.

Our industrial I/O controllers and data acquisition modules are used for:

  • Level Measurement
  • VFD Control
  • Hour Metering
  • Remote Data Acquisition
  • Pump Control
  • Pump Condition Monitoring
  • Pump Alternating
  • Local and Remote Alarms

With one or two I/O modules, ControlByWeb allows you to do all of the above at the cost of hundreds, not thousands. Lead-lag pump control can be facilitated with pump alternating logic, run time data logging, and remote alarms that notify operators of fault conditions. No matter how big the pump station (duplex, triplex, or quadplex, etc.), our flexible I/O devices can improve your control system and give access to more control at lower budgets.

Pump control is in many ways the heartbeat of modern manufacturing and infrastructure. This is no more apparent than with wastewater lift stations. Without them, we couldn't have the modern sewage systems that make life comfortable and sanitary. Lift station control keeps wastewater flowing away from our homes and businesses and towards a treatment facility where it can be safely processed.

Carefully monitoring the lift station is key to proper pump maintenance and seamless operation. Failure to do so can result in a Sanitary Sewage Overflow (SSO). SSOs are both dangerous and expensive. Hiring a pump truck to bypass the station while it is repaired is very expensive, EPA fines can be exorbitant, and the both the natural and human environments are compromised.

Our comprehensive suite of products allow engineers and control systems integrators to mix and match I/O with an intelligent custom logic builder for a tailor-made, budget-friendly pump control solution.

Features That Make a Difference
  • Expandable I/O
  • Monitor Analog, RS-485 Modbus, and Digital Inputs
  • Analog Output for VFDs
  • Multiple Alarm Solutions
  • And much more...

Common Lift Station Problems


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Expensive Monitoring

Access to additional monitoring such as pump status and fault condition monitoring requires additional I/O and can dramatically increase the cost of the monitoring solution.

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Insufficient Alarms

On-site alarms are insufficient to notify operators of emergency conditions, and remote critical alarms often leave out helpful maintenance notifications.

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Lack of Scalability

Lift stations vary wildly in their complexity, modernity, and available budget. However, industry standard control systems don't scale up or down easily.

ControlByWeb™ Lift Station Solutions


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Affordable Functionality

Industrial-grade, inexpensive and flexible I/O empowers control systems engineers and municipalities to monitor more, like pump status and fault condition, for the allotted budget.

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Text & Email Alarms

Text and email alarms can be triggered easily in our built-in setup pages for any parameter you are monitoring, making it easy to communicate with your operators in real time.

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Expandable I/O

Easily configure a solution that matches your needs and your budget. Whether you're working with simple float switches or a VFD driven quadplex pump station.

How Lift Stations Work

They are known as lift stations because they pump the wastewater up and allow gravity to take over as it flows toward the next lift station. Mountainous or hilly areas will have fewer lift stations because they have more slope to work with. But flat areas need more lift stations to engineer a slope where it doesn't naturally exist.

Lift stations consist of:

  • A well where wastewater collects,
  • Pumps that move the water once the well is full enough, and
  • Controllers that monitor the well and send signals to the pumps, operators, and a central control system.

The most common lift station is a duplex lift station using a lead-lag pump configuration. Our X-420 programmable I/O controller is a great solution for this type of lift station with 2 relays and 4 inputs that can handle analog or digital signals.

Lift station outdoors closed hatches

Lead-Lag Pump Control

Lift stations use a basic concept called lead-lag pump control. The definition of lead-lag pump control is simple: one pump acts as the 'lead pump', and will be the only pump operating until the water level, or demand, gets high enough for the 'lag pump(s)' to engage. When the pumps move enough liquid, they shut off and then alternate roles. A lag pump now becomes the lead and vice versa.

A pump controller reads inputs from float switches or continuous level sensors to trigger the pumps to turn on and off. An alternator switches the pumps' roles to evenly dole out assignments. Hour meters track the total run time for each pump and then displays that information to the lift station operator.

This pumping method does a few things. First, it balances the pumps' run time to reduce maintenance. Second, it boosts reliability since there is always a backup pump in the event that one fails. However, it has the unintended consequence of masking problems. Since the backup pump keeps things moving, problems will sometimes go unnoticed until both pumps are down.

Lead-lag pump control is commonly done with two pumps, in what is known as, a duplex-pump station. This is the most common type of pump station. However, there are many pump stations with three and four pumps as well, known as triplex and quadplex pump stations respectively.

Duplex Pump Control

Most lift stations are duplex pumping stations. These are typically closest to homes and businesses. As the lines from duplex lift stations converge, more pumps are added and triplex and quadplex stations are installed to handle the increased flow.

Duplex pump control is the simplest lead-lag scenario, with one lead and one lag. The control system can be fairly simplistic. Older duplex pump controls may consist of four float switches mounted one above another in a wet well. The bottom float turns the pumps off, the next float turns the lead pump on, the next float turns the lag pump on, and the top float sounds an alarm.

Modern duplex pump control can include the following:

  • Continuous level transmitters, flow sensors, and pressure transducers
  • Pump controls
  • Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs)
  • Grinder pumps or screens
  • Condition monitoring
  • Telemetry
  • Redundant controls

A duplex control system can be either very simple or quite complex depending on the needs of the particular installation. The controls can be a purpose-built pump control panel, a PLC, or programmable I/O controllers. ControlByWeb's peer-to-peer and expandable I/O features offer lift station controls engineers a few distinct advantages.

How ControlByWeb® Works

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Case Study: Ohio Valley Control Systems

Ohio Valley Control Systems is a company that designs control systems for water and wastewater projects throughout the Ohio River valley. Scott McComas, principal at Ohio Valley Control Systems relies heavily on ControlByWeb programmable I/O controllers due to their reliability, affordability, and inherent flexibility.

McComas was looking for something that would easily allow remote access to process data with on-board logic that wouldn't be compromised by outside factors like network connectivity. He needed scalability for larger projects and simplicity for smaller installations. He was about to begin the process of designing his own control boards when he found the perfect solution in ControlByWeb's I/O modules.

Ideal Flexibility

For lift stations, McComas prefers the 400-Series products. He found the duplex lift station works best with an X-420. He monitors well level, pump run status, and fault status and sends pump start and stop signals. He also programs pump alternating logic. The email/text alarm functionality handles the low, fault, and high alarms, and makes lift station management much easier for his customers.

He can do all this on one X-420 controller. The 2 digital I/O can be programmed as either inputs or outputs, and in this case, provide control signals for pumps. The 4 analog inputs can also be programmed as digital inputs using the "Digital Input Mode". So McComas can monitor fault and run status by changing the settings on each individual analog input.

Pump house

McComas prefers a 3" HMI screen with an Ethernet input which directly communicates with the X-420 using Modbus TCP/IP for local display and programming. Monitoring and programming the controller can be accomplished via the controller's built-in web server by simply using a web browser on his laptop, mobile device, or tablet. The HMI screen also provides easy access to the X-420 control page at the control panel.

The X-420 is not only reasonably priced, it also replaces several components in a pump control panel. This helps Ohio Valley Control Systems operate profitably and pass some savings on to their customers.

When more I/O is needed for triplex and quadplex lift stations, either two (2) X-420s or the X-400 and its expandable I/O modules work great. For lift stations with VFDs, the X-317 mirrors the analog signal from the level transducer to the VFD unit.

Six Reasons Why You Should Choose ControlByWeb®


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Industrial-Grade Reliability Is Our First Priority

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Scalable Solutions for any Industrial Application

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Cost Effective, Self-Contained I/O Devices

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Flexible Communications and Compatibility

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Responsive Support and Thorough Documentation

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Founded in 1999 and Manufactured in the USA

Lift Station Control Kits

Triplex/Quadplex Lift Station Kit

Triplex and Quadplex lift stations require more I/O. Our expandable X-400 platform is ideal for larger pumping stations so you can handle the right I/O points no matter your setup. For example, the X-22s gives you 8 analog inputs and the X-17s gives you 4 optically-isolated digital inputs and 4 SPST relays. There are many other expansion modules with different characteristics to match your exact needs.

Items in Kit:

Duplex with Continuous Level Sensors Kit

Duplex lift stations are perhaps the most common. Our X-420 programmable controller is ideal for this application with 4 analog inputs (that can also be programmed as digital inputs) and 2 digital I/O points that can be either inputs or outputs. The flexibility of this controller makes duplex pump station control much easier.

Items in Kit:

Product Comparison for Lift Station Pump Control

Name X-410 X-420 X-400
Relays
Control pumps, alarms, motors, valves, etc.
4 2
Configurable, 5V inputs/output
Up to 64*
Analog Inputs
Compatible with most level sensors
- 4 Up to 64*
Digital Inputs
Ideal for float switches, status monitoring, etc.
4 2
Configurable, 5V inputs/output
Up to 64*
Expansion Devices - - Up to 32
Sold separately
Task Builder
No coding required
Optional Scripting Basic Script Basic Script Basic Script
Email/Text Notifications
Log Sensor Data
Price $234.95 $299.95 $199.95*
More Information More Information More Information

*Requires expansion modules (sold separately). The X-400 is a master controller compatible with expansion modules which contain a variety of I/O combinations.


Frequently Asked Questions

Answer

We work with analog and digital signals or Modbus RS-485 sensors. Analog signals can be, 0-5VDC, 0-10VDC, or 4-20mA. We also carry several great continuous level sensors ideal for lift stations. These include top-of-the-line:

  • Ultrasonic Sensors
  • Non-Guided Radar Transmitters
  • Float Switches
  • Submersible Pressure Transducers
Answer

ControlByWeb devices can be accessed on a network using the IP address of the device. The network can be connected to the Internet, but it certainly doesn't have to be. We work with standard networking equipment to establish communications on an IP network, including the Internet.

Note: As with any device that can be accessed via the Internet, security should be taken into account. Text and email alerts require an Internet connection to function.

Answer

No. We are a device manufacturer. Our I/O modules work independently of a cloud with on-board logic that ensures ultimate reliability. However, our customers can, and often do, integrate with cloud services.

Answer

Absolutely. For example, upgrading from float switches to continuous sensors will require analog I/O, and we can provide that functionality for you. You can also add remote capabilities to an existing setup, or replace an old PLC or pump controller.

Our devices communicate using Modbus TCP/IP, XML, JSON and more, so you can integrate with existing control devices.

Answer

Pump condition monitoring is increasingly prioritized, and for good reason. Pump failure represents one of the most expensive failures a lift station can encounter because, if not fixed in a timely manner, can lead to SSOs, pump truck rentals, etc.

Our devices have optically-isolated digital inputs and analog inputs which can be used to monitor voltage, run status, and fault status. All of which are good ways to keep on top of your pump's maintenance to prevent failure.

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Note: Image credit Ian Sutton and Pam Broviak via flickr.