Advanced shock pulse technology enhances monitoring capabilities for remote water treatment systems

Published:  09 May, 2024

Advanced shock pulse technology from SPM is enhancing monitoring capabilities for remote water treatment systems by detecting early signs of damage and monitoring lubrication levels in critical equipment such as Rotating Biological Contactors (RBCs). PWE reports

Rotating Biological Contactors (RBC) play a vital part in water treatment in remote areas. SPM says its HD shock pulse technology has shown itself to be an ideal solution for monitoring lubrication levels and detecting early signs of damage on the low-speed main bearings of this critical equipment.


RBCs facilitate the treatment of wastewater by allowing it to interact with a biological film, thereby removing pollutants before the treated wastewater is discharged into the environment. The rotational speed of the main bearings in RBCs typically ranges from 0.9 to 1.8 RPM.

Severn Trent Water, having faced a number of significant failures on its RBCs, decided to trial condition monitoring equipment to monitor the main RBC bearings. Previous attempts utilising technologies such as vibration analysis and ultrasound had not yielded conclusive results. Subsequently, the company turned to the SPM HD shock pulse technology. Following a successful trial period, Severn Trent Water has committed to an extensive condition monitoring initiative, investing in equipment and training provided by SPM.

Condition Monitoring Solution

Throughout a six-month trial period, periodic measurements were conducted using handheld Leonova instruments. Given the challenging operational environment of the bearings, glue-on shock pulse adapters with protective caps were used.


The initial readings on this bearing were higher than those on the other RBCs in the trial. The bearing was checked and repacked with grease, after which measurement showed a decrease in shock pulse levels.

A new bearing was ordered, and a replacement was planned after a twelve-week lead time for delivery. Meanwhile, the bearing was continuously monitored and remained operational, with slightly reduced overall SPM HD readings thanks to the greasing and low rotational speed. After the planned replacement, the SPM HD readings dropped from an alert state to acceptable levels.


The use of SPM HD technology offers valuable early warnings of potential damage, affording sufficient time for maintenance and replacement planning. The cost savings associated with planned replacements versus unplanned ones are considerable, with the former typically ranging from £5000 to £10,000, compared to the latter’s range of £40,000 to £120,000. Additionally, condition monitoring is facilitating with the optimisation of lubrication schedules, enhancing maintenance planning, and mitigating breakdown occurrences for Severn Trent Water.

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