Renovation of the Zemst pumping station

The pumping station at the Zemst lock on the Brussels–Scheldt Maritime Canal is used for the canal’s water management. This pumping station’s control system was already modernized in 2016, for which Agidens provided the control system and user-friendly visualization (SCADA). After nearly fifty years of service, the pumping station needed to be renovated.

Zemst pumping station

Inland navigation is an important part of Flanders’ economy. It offers a safe, ecological, and economical alternative for the already saturated road transport system. The rivers and canals also contribute to the appeal of Flanders and its quality of life. De Vlaamse Waterweg (the Flemish waterways agency) does everything possible to encourage water transport and limit flood damage.

The existing pumping system, consisting of 5 HS pumps, had not been performing well for some time. It needed to be renovated. Agidens was contracted by De Vlaamse Waterweg as a design and automation specialist for the survey, implementation, commissioning, and maintenance of the replacement of these outdated HS pumps.

In the meantime, three pumps have been replaced, with two more pumps due for replacement.

  • Drying out the outlet channel
  • Removal of the existing motor, HS cable, and pump
  • Installation of the new pump, HS cable, and motor
  • Overhaul of existing butterfly valve
  • Setting the parameters of the motor protection relay
  • Performance testing before commissioning
  • Adjustment of PLCs and SCADA system for data logging
    • Engine shaft speed
    • Motor line current
    • Motor line voltage
    • Temperature coils (6x PT100)
    • Bearing temperature (2x PT100)
    • Vibration level
  • Maintenance during the warranty period and 5 years thereafter

Challenges & Solutions

Service and flexibility are essential for renovation projects. Agidens has a tailor-made solution for every specific challenge.


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


  • Temperature measurement
  • Bearings lubrication
  • Adjusting the start and stop procedure


  • Adjustment of the existing PLCs and adding the logs for
    • Water levels of the higher and lower sections
    • Engine speed
    • Pump vibration levels
    • 10 temperature measurements
  • Extension of the existing SCADA systems for the new control, lubrication, and visualization of the data logs.

Planning & Timing

  • A strict deadline required a standardized approach and detailed planning. Agidens always delivered on time and avoided unnecessary delays.
  • Step-by-step commissioning of the new pumping system with minimal impact on the working pumps to guarantee the continuity of the lock.


Together with its partner KSB, Agidens has already installed the first three pumps with each a flow rate of 18,000 m³/h with a 10-meter head. The high-voltage motors of 6 kV and a capacity of 670 kW were delivered by WEG. The pumping system has a proven system performance of 82%, a 5% increase compared to the old installation.