In the water and wastewater segment, operations tend to be risk adverse. This is because there is little, if any, room for mistakes, says BSC National Accounts Manager Wayne D’Souza.
“It’s a segment where all eyes are on it. A mistake could mean the pollution of rivers, or oceans. Or it could mean that the supply of water is cut off from residential areas. The ramifications of a shutdown or a mistake can be catastrophic,” D’Souza explains. “Which is why the industry is cautious when it comes to the equipment they are using and how they maintain it. If there is a process in place that works, the general attitude is not to change it, even if it is not the most efficient process.”
Having said that, D’Souza says that BSC have seen a significant spike in the number of customers requesting their engineering services.
“In this segment we are getting a lot of requests for site surveys and asset management. As a whole, we’re seeing a lack of asset records among our customers. Once our engineering team has been assigned to a project, they will go onto a site, assess the machinery and components, and then make recommendations as to how the customer can improve their process.”
Importantly, BSC can draw from an entire country’s worth of customer experience.
“We’ve identified a number of ‘problem solver’ products based on our existing network of customers. So, when we go to a site and figure out where the process can be improved, we’re not just going by a book or a brochure. We’ve actually identified applications in the water and wastewater space where we know these solutions will work.”
To illustrate some of the success that BSC has seen in this segment, D’Souza had some of the BSC team discuss real customer experiences.
Gold Coast City Council
A wastewater treatment run by a city council on Queensland’s Gold Coast, called upon BSC’s services due to a problem with their press mats.
The bearing products that the plant was using for the press mats had become weakened by contaminants in the effluent and were beginning to fail. BSC suggested a trial of the Timken® Spherical Roller Bearing Solid-Block Housed Units (formerly known as Blue Brute), which was carried out for 12 months. Meanwhile, several of the old bearings still in use had failures during that same interval.
“The Timken® bearing trial was going smoothly, so we were able to prove to the client that these would better suit their needs. They decided to go with us, and we changed the first press mat, which required 35 of the Timken® Spherical Roller Bearing Solid-Block Housed Units,” said BSC’s Nick Girdlestone.
“It is important to develop a relationship with the customer. With this particular wastewater treatment plant, if there is a problem, they call us in, and we have a look at what has gone wrong. If we can, we see if we can come up with something that is more efficient and saves them time and money.”
Eastern Treatment Plant, Victoria
At another wastewater treatment plant in Victoria’s east, BSC services have been involved with providing products to enhance safety.
Several years ago, a worker at the plant was taking samples of effluent out of the tanks. Having no harnessing, the man fell into the tank and drowned. When the tank was drained to retrieve the body, grating was found at the bottom of the tank.
This was followed by a call to action to ensure that gratings are securely anchored, which led to the development of the BSC product Gratesafe, which provides a mechanical fixing to keep the grate in place.
Gratesafe is a 120mm round disk featuring yellow anti-slip coating. It has gone through several iterations to further enhance the safety of grates, preventing them from moving from side-to-side or backwards and forwards. Further designs were developed to provide shapes that can secure grates in varying situations.
BSC’s Dean Molloy said the product significantly improved the safety of the treatment plant.
“We have several variations of the product now, and we offer these to clients depending on their application,” Molloy said.
“Over a whole site, there could be three or four acres of grating, and all of that has to be held down to make it safe for those who are working at the plant.”
365 days, 24/7 Engineering Availability
Another one of BSC’s key strength’s is their ability to provide customers with round the clock services. This is critical to the water and wastewater segment where there can be huge public health or environmental impacts if equipment fails.
D’Souza reiterates the importance of having a team that can provide a 24/7 operation.
“The bottom line is our customers need to feel secure in our service capabilities. We give them that confidence. If a customer rings in the middle of the night with an equipment failure, they know we’ll have someone on call to resolve the problem.”