X2 HMIs mean smooth sailing for the water industry

As the legacy E1000 hardware series and E Designer solutions from Beijer Electronics reach the end of their life-cycles, many customers are migrating to the new X2 HMIs and iX software platforms.

In keeping with Beijer Electronics 2018 mission of “Making the complex simple”, this means better performance, versatility and functionality without compromising on affordability and ease of use.

Tommy Qvillberg is an automation engineer at Västvatten, a Swedish water company. Here, he describes how his team have upgraded to the new X2 operator panels as they undertake a large-scale project to modernize pump stations and upgrade their automation solutions.

What do Västvatten do and what are the current trends in the industry?

Tommy Qvillberg (TQ): Västvatten are responsible for the operation, maintenance and development of municipal water and sewerage operations throughout Western Sweden. We have around 500 pump stations in the region that are PLC-controlled. As the industry modernizes, we need to make sure our technologies stay up to date and our operators have access to the data they need.

Tell us about the work you are doing to upgrade the pump stations, and how Beijer Electronics’s new X2 series fits in?

TQ: My team are designing and building new programs for all the operator panels. Even when we are renovating the old stations, we usually start from scratch and build new software for it instead of converting the old ones. For this project, I have created a standardized plan so the layout will be the same in every station.

We are using the new X2 base for the majority of the pumps, although a couple of the larger stations need X2 pro simply because of the size of the operation. Really our needs are quite straightforward, but it is a question of scale. For the smaller stations the X2 base panel is enough for us. It provides all the functionality we need.


Tommy Qvillberg – automation engineer at Västvatten

What were Västvatten’s expectations in migrating from the E1000 platform to the X2 hardware and iX software?

TQ: We have a lot of very old Beijer panels at some of our stations. A lot of the pumps have the E1000 or E100 panels. Some go back even further to Beijer’s first panel, the MAC series. We are talking 30 years or more. We still have a few of those old legacy panels, but we are working hard to change them to create more continuity. The new X2 series provides a lot more information on the screens and everything looks much better. It is faster too. All-in-all, they are working very well. The X2 panels are a great step forward from the E1000 series.

How is the migration progressing?

TQ: We have a lot to do, but we are getting there! There are a lot of new stations and a lot of old stations that need to be renovated. One key thing with this project is that X2 and iX software have allowed us to develop a standard for how all our stations will look in the future - and that is helping us work more quickly and efficiently.

I’ve actually been surprised by how easy the technical migration has been. We haven’t had many difficulties at all. The iX software is good to work with and very simple and self-explanatory. The most difficult thing has been to find the time. Technically, there are no problems at all!

What has been your experience of the X2 hardware and iX software platform so far?

TQ: The X2 base gives us a great price/performance ratio. Plus the versatility it provides is really helpful. We can incorporate X2 pro in the larger stations - and we have even used X2 control in some cases -  but the continuity of look and feel is still there. The iX software is great to work with. The software is more powerful than we had with E Designer. It is a lot easier to get the graphics to look good and to get multi-layer symbols presented in the way you want. It is a much more modern software.


X2 panel with Västvatten’s application for pump stations.

What has been Västvatten’s past experience with Beijer Electronics as supplier?

TQ: For years, the best thing about Beijer has been the technical support. Of course, the hardware is very good as well, but the support is excellent. 

We haven’t needed it as much during this project as it has been very smooth. Most of my experience of the support staff has been on earlier controls systems and data systems. They have always been very good at proactively making phone calls to check everything is working the way we need it.

Why did Västvatten choose Beijer Electronics?

TQ: Beijer are well-known in the industry. I think they are a good company to work with. Their products are excellent for a reasonable price - especially the X2 base panels. The price is very good considering what the panels can do.

Our operators are very happy with ease of use and the way the panels look and feel, and our engineers are pleased with the configuration. It is not always the case that engineers and operators agree on the best products to use, so that is a bonus!