Mackay is a beautiful town approximately 1,000km north of Brisbane and a hub for many industries such as tourism, mining and agriculture. It is a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and numerous islands including the Whitsundays. Mackay also provides a central hub for coal mining where many companies have based themselves.

The sugar industry is probably the single most important industry and has been present for well over 100 years – there are still five working mills in and around the surrounding towns.

Mackay has a population of about 116,000 and is growing at a great rate every year due to the excellent climate and increases in working opportunities around the area. Consequently, there is a requirement that all essential services are available at all times to supply the communities with power, water and sewage services.

Mackay Regional Council has been mandated, like many councils in the state, with looking after a wide tract of area to ensure that all of these services are provided 24/7. The council is responsible for looking after many essential assets critical to the functioning of the water reticulation system.

To ensure the pumping systems are in good running order for the delivery of water to the region, council’s engineers introduced a monitoring system. This implementation ensures that the KPIs of the council were upheld and gives a level of confidence that the machines are being supervised as they are largely unmanned except during maintenance periods and the odd walk around.

This is now a very common trend that ifm efector comes across regularly and to satisfy this requirement the company was able to supply its online VA Monitoring system to observe and protect these pumps. The new high-memory Octavis VSE100 range of diagnostic amplifiers have been employed by the council to achieve this end.

The Nebo Road Hi Lift Pumping Station was picked for monitoring as it had a combination of new and older pump sets that are absolutely critical for the delivery of water to the town reticulation system. Both motor and pump drive and non-drive ends have been monitored, as well as speed, to obtain the highest accuracy for H-FFT Bearing Monitoring.

Velocity was also monitored to give outputs for unbalance, overall V-RMS and misalignment. A-peak is also another algorithm used by the system to discover any impacting style disturbances in the pumpset’s vibrational signature. The online system helps the users by supplying data to any historian that the system connects to by a number of different means.

The VSE100 series enables connection to your own SCADA system via Open Process Control Drivers. ifm efector also has common alarms for every diagnostic point for warning and damage alarms. The amplifier itself also collects data with its own inbuilt historian – depending on log rate, it can save data for well over a year or more for every monitored object.

Already, many interesting faults have been uncovered including bearing faults and misalignment and coupling faults which if left unchecked would have certainly caused major breakdowns.

The council also used ifm’s fully-electronic manometer gauges to monitor both suction and discharge pressures. These meters hold the best of both worlds with a strain gauge built directly into their ceramic diaphragm that delivers high accuracy and has no chance of soiling or fouling as they utilise a flush diaphragm.

There is also no oil fill in the transmitter so there is a zero drift output no matter what the environmental conditions are. Display wise, they have a stepper motor drive needle as well as red LED display, outputs are analogue and or programmable setpoints with full hysteresis that are more than capable of monitoring and controlling a pump or compressor to any given pressure range.

This partner content has been brought to you by ifm efector. For more information, please visit

A view of the pump gallery showing five of the six pumps that have been monitored.


One of the pump sets showing Accelerometers and the PG gauges


Simple View of the VES004 Software – showing a warning and damage alarms. The software also has full spectra capability.

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