New Kensington water authority plugs into $120,000 freebie
Getting a new piece of equipment that is certain to save money on electricity might be considered a good deal.
But getting that equipment, worth $120,000 — for free — is that much better.
That's the deal that the Municipal Authority of the City of New Kensington, the water authority, has landed.
Benshaw, a division of Curtiss-Wright that is in the RIDC Park, O'Hara, makes electrical controls.
The company is providing, for free, a variable speed control for use in powering a 600 horsepower motor that helps run the water system's pumps.
Jim Matta, the authority's general manager, said Benshaw company representatives were at the plant a couple of months ago to upgrade controls used to start the massive pumps. He said they noticed a control installed in the 1980s on the 600 hp pump and offered to replace it.
“They said they would be willing to provide the variable speed unit — which costs about $120,000 — for no cost as long as we would allow them to monitor the unit remotely 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Matta said.
While the control, itself, is free, the water authority will have to pay for its installation, building a pad to hold it and upgrading the electrical service.
That work is expected to cost $17,000, Matta said.
Charles Cook, manager of product development for Benshaw's medium voltage division, explains why Benshaw made the offer.
“It's a new product introduction for us and this is part of the product launch,” Cook said.
“We need to get this product out in the field and get some run time so we can get confidence in the product out in the marketplace.”
Cook said a similar product test on the control also is being done to operate ventilation fans at a West Virginia coal mine.
Matta said he, plant superintendent Ed Pavilonis and an electrical engineer from Gibson-Thomas Engineering, the authority's engineers, visited Benshaw on Oct. 1 to learn more about the control and what it involved. The authority approved the deal three days later.
The controls will allow the pump's motor to run at various speeds.
“Picture a fan (for which) you can vary the speed,” Matta said.
“You can run it at 60 percent speed or 80 percent. If you didn't have a variable speed control on it then you would have to run it at 100 percent full time.”
He said previously, motors had no variable speed controls so they always had to run at 100 percent power.
If the water demand did not call for maximum capacity, plant operators usually closed down a water valve to reduce the flow, but the motor still ran at 100 percent power, wasting electricity, Matta said.
Exactly how much the authority will save has not been calculated, Matta said.
“We know that it is going to lower our overall operational costs and therefore help maintain consumer rates at what they are today,” he said.
“They will experience a savings and they will have much more reliable controls,” Cook said.
“It's a good proposition for both Curtiss-Wright Benshaw and the New Ken Water Authority.”
Matta said he hopes the new control, which Cook said measures about 5 feet high, 5 feet wide and 3 feet deep, will be installed before the holiday season.
“Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Icy roads cause accidents, slow traffic across Western Pa.
- Stakes high as ex-Saints receiver Moore faces his former team
- Steelers notebook: Injury to RT Gilbert opens door for Adams to start
- Penguins GM prepares for emotional series against Carolina
- Steelers’ backups Archer, Harris ready to run
- Seven Springs, Hidden Valley ski resorts open today
- Penguins notebook: Winning home games crucial for Penguins
- No federal funds to help enforce Pa. ban on texting by drivers
- Police identify driver in North Side crash that killed pregnant woman
- Pitt receiver Boyd continues to grow on and off the field
- 7 hurt in buggy, SUV crash in Pennsylvania Dutch country