Great Yarmouth electrical engineers, Softstart UK, have pulled out all the stops and supplied high-tech equipment for a massive clean water project in Nigeria in double quick time.
Softstart was asked by a major contractor in the UK via the Nigerian Development Agency if they could provide a solution for a seemingly intractable problem. The agency is building a new water and sanitation system for Zaria City in Northern Nigeria. Currently only half of the city (population 500,000, twice the size of Norwich) has clean running water and less than a third has sanitation. The aim is to get these figures up to 100% by 2020.
“Obviously this will make a massive difference to health and hygiene. It will also improve the schools, hospitals and other services and help secure industry and commerce,” says Stuart Harvey, managing director of Softstart. “We were very keen to give this project our all.”
The issue Softstart had to address was when the giant pumps would be switched on; they tend to drag down the (somewhat temperamental) mains supply causing major power outages. The solution was to build a control panel for each pump which brings them up to speed smoothly over a period of a couple of seconds, like the dimmer on a light switch.
“We needed nine individual panels,” says Stuart, “so to meet delivery dates on time we set up a ‘mini production line’ from initial order /design and build in May 2013 we built them in 14 weeks instead of the usual 26. Every person in to company got involved and we were bursting with pride when we dispatched them on their long journey this month.”