Renovation of Zemst pumping station 

A pumping station at the Zemst lock, on the Brussels-Scheldt Maritime Canal, is used for the canal’s water management. The operation system of this pumping station had already been modernised in 2016, with Agidens Infra Automation providing the control system and user-friendly visualisation (SCADA). Now, after almost 50 years of service, the pumping station itself was due for renovation.

Zemst pumping station 

Inland navigation is an important part of the Flemish economy. It offers a safe, ecological and economical alternative to the already saturated road transport system. The rivers and canals also contribute to the attractiveness of Flanders and its quality of life. De Vlaamse Waterweg (the Flemish waterways agency) is doing everything possible to promote transport by water and to limit damage caused by flooding.


The existing pumping system, consisting of 5 HS pumps, had not been performing well for some time. It was in need of renovation. Agidens Infra Automation was engaged by De Vlaamse Waterweg as the design and automation specialist for the study, implementation, commissioning and maintenance relating to the replacement of these outdated HS pumps.

Three pumps have now been replaced and two more are due for replacement.

  • Drying of the outlet channel
  • Removal of the existing motor, HS cable and pump, installation of the new pump, HS cable and motor
  • Overhaul of the existing butterfly valve
  • Setting of parameters for the motor protection relay, performance testing before commissioning
  • Modification of PLCs and SCADA system for data logging
  • Maintenance during the warranty period and 5 years thereafter

Challenges and solutions

Service and flexibility are crucial when implementing modernisation projects. For every specific challenge, Agidens Infra Automation provides a tailor-made solution.


  • Dimensioning of the new installation based on the existing pump group to enable a flawless combination of the new and existing structures.
  • Study relating to the canal’s water management during the works to limit flooding.
  • Researching and sourcing of a new pump and drive system according to defined characteristics, taking into account the flow rates and pumping capacities of the pumps still in operation.


  • Temperature measurement
  • Bearing measurement
  • Adjustment of start and stop procedures


  • Adjustment of existing PLCs and addition of logs for
    • Water levels of higher and lower sections
    • Motor speed
    • Pump vibration levels
    • 10 temperature measurements
  • Expansion of the existing SCADA systems for the new control, lubrication and visualisation of the data logs.


  • A strict deadline called for a standardised approach and detailed planning. Agidens Infra Automation always ensured timely completion and avoided unnecessary delays.
  • Step-by-step commissioning of the new pump group with minimal impact on the working pumps to ensure the continuity of the lock.


Together with its partner KSB, Agidens Infra Automation has already installed the first three pumps, each of which has a flow rate of 18,000 m³/h with a 10-metre head. The 6 kV high-voltage motors with an output of 670 kW were supplied by WEG. The pump group has a proven group efficiency of 82%, an increase of 5% compared to the old installation.

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