Warwick tech business deploys AI to help Wessex Water develop drainage plan

Wessex Water EnginSoft UK 

Warwick-based technology transfer company EnginSoft UK , an expert in simulation-based engineering science, has completed a trial of its AI-based technology with Bath-based Wessex Water to help the water company develop its drainage water management plan (DWMP).

EnginSoft’s modeFRONTIER® simulation software took just four days of an engineer’s time and 12 days CPU time to evaluate thousands of solutions, and provided some hidden benefits too.

All UK water authorities are required to develop a drainage water management plan DWMP, which represents a significant workload. In common with a number of other sectors, the water industry has looked to technology, and more specifically AI, to streamline the process and meet regulatory requirements.

Bipin Patel, EnginSoft UK’s Managing Director, said: “We’ve been deploying AI in the automotive sector for a number of years. We approached Wessex Water with our strategicGIANT™ flood assessment software, which is ideal for assessing flood scenarios as part of the growth impact planning process. However, since they were wanting to tackle DWMP generation, direct optimisation with modeFRONTIER was the most appropriate approach for them.”

David Searby, Wessex Water’s Wastewater Modelling Technical Manager, said: “The EnginSoft trial for DWMP optioneering delivered positive results and we have now decided to buy a one year licence to allow us to look at more catchments using this AI-based approach.”

Once catchment details were captured via a simple ‘pro-forma’; (storage locations, pipe upgrades, SUDS areas, flood monitoring locations), the modeFRONTIER® workflow was generated in hours. The optimisation study then ran for a couple of days in the background to generate feasible solutions which fulfil chosen criteria.

In the case of Wessex Water, this took four days in total and outputted a series of graphical results with varying cost versus benefit trade-offs. It was here that EnginSoft was able to provide one or two surprises for Wessex Water’s engineers. “We could see that there were a number of options on the far side of what we call the ‘Pareto Cliff’, where if one or two constraints were tweaked, a significant reduction in cost could be achieved. It’s not uncommon for restrictions to exist undetected in complex systems for years, limiting performance, and I’ve seen them highlighted by AI before. The guys at Wessex were fascinated to see the analysis, and I’m sure there’ll be similar instances highlighted as modeFRONTIER® usage increases.”

EnginSoft was founded in 1984. Its technological innovation helps industrial clients in the application and use of their ‘digital twin’ to solve even the most complex industrial problems with a high degree of reliability.

EnginSoft today has a significant international presence in 12 countries and works with a broad range of sectors that include the automotive, aerospace, defence, energy, water, civil engineering, consumer goods and biomechanics industries to optimise engineering simulation solutions.