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From Concept to Creation: The Origin Story of SWICSSY

In the world of water treatment, innovation is a constant necessity. As a global leader in the industry, Acciona has always been at the forefront, designing, constructing, and operating advanced desalination plants, drinking water treatment facilities, and wastewater treatment plants.

Nevertheless, they faced a significant challenge in assessing the performance of reverse osmosis (RO) membranes within pressure vessels at desalination plants. The traditional method for assessing RO membranes involved manually probing the permeate tubes with a plastic or stainless-steel tube, a process that was labor-intensive, time-consuming, and impractical, especially for large-scale operations involving thousands of RO elements.

Acciona sought a solution that could automate this process, enabling real-time performance monitoring and predictive maintenance to avoid unnecessary operational halts. The task required specialized expertise and a suitable technical partner, a journey that began with joining the DigiFed program.


A Little Bit About DigiFed and Their Digital Challenge

DigiFed, through its Digital Challenge Innovation pathway, connects EU industries with digital technology innovators to solve real-world business challenges. This structured process, developed and delivered by Digital Catapult, provided Acciona with access to an extensive European ecosystem of potential partners. In this case, the ideal partner was Instrumentation Technologies.


The Birth of SWICSSY

The partnership between Acciona and Instrumentation Technologies marks the beginning of what is today known as SWICSSY – short for Submerged Wireless Conductivity Sensor System.

The development involved mastering multiple fields of expertise, including microelectronics, communications, and materials science, all integrated into a miniaturized sensor capable of fitting into the small space of a permeate tube. Fortunately, Instrumentation Technologies' team, with 25 years of experience in the most demanding fields of technology, had all the necessary skills.


Set up at on of the first prototype tests


Trial and error, playing with materials to ensure SWICSSY can withstand harsh conditions in the permeate tube.


The industrial prototype for monitoring reverse osmosis membrane performance underwent rigorous testing and validation over the last three years, both in lab environments and relevant industrial settings. It successfully met all of Acciona’s criteria, enabling real-time digital assessment, identifying problematic membranes, and integrating these measurements into active operational strategies.

Today, SWICSSY represents a significant leap forward in the desalination industry, showcasing the power of innovative partnerships and the potential of digital solutions to transform traditional industries. It stands as a powerful testament to the potential of cross-border innovation.




The impact

For Acciona, SWICSSY means significantly improved efficiency and reliability in their desalination operations.

For Instrumentation Technologies, it represents an opportunity to expand their market reach and demonstrate their capability to solve complex industrial challenges.

For the water treatment industry as a whole, SWICSSY sets a new standard for innovation and efficiency. It’s real-time monitoring capabilities allow for predictive maintenance, drastically reducing the need for manual inspections and minimizing operational downtime. This advancement not only enhances the productivity of desalination plants but also contributes to more sustainable water management practices by ensuring that water treatment processes are continuously optimized.


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