- Oil & Gas
- Agriculture & Irrigation
- Water & Wastewater
- Industrial Process
Source: McCrometer, Inc.
Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) has received a lot of attention in recent years, typically regarding customer account billing. Other AMI uses within water distribution networks, however, can play equally important roles in reducing non-revenue water (NRW). Consider these contributions of networked flow meter use for automating better insights into water distribution efficiency.
Benefits Beyond The Residential AMI Mind-set
While residential billing accuracy is a primary focus of AMI infrastructure, overlooking the cost-saving implications of distribution system monitoring is like passing up dessert after a satisfying main course. That is because highly accurate electromagnetic meters (mag meters) with built-in AMI-system compatibility can create added opportunities to rein in costs by providing water distribution data that residential meters alone cannot provide.
Monitoring accurate flow data from key locations throughout water distribution infrastructure provides insight into current performance and more options for improving future operating efficiency (Figure 1). The concept works for utilities large and small, enabling astute water distribution managers to identify potential problem areas and make better distribution system management decisions with minimal data collection effort.
Extend The Reach And Value Of Existing AMI To Water Distribution Management
Field-mounted mag meters transmit short bursts of recorded data at frequent intervals, the same as any other Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) node in a networked system. Their compatibility with standard wireless transmission protocols makes it easy to collect data from remote locations with minimal logistical concerns. The battery-powered units can supply accurate readings for years without requiring hardwired power, labor-intensive data collection, or frequent battery replacement.
In contrast to partial-insertion mag meters, which measure flow across only a fraction of the pipeline cross section (Figure 2A), FPI mag meters calculate flow measurements at multiple locations across the full diameter of the pipeline (Figure 2B).
For utilities that already have AMI network infrastructure in place, adding supplemental data collection locations by using mag meters with system-agnostic operation make the process virtually transparent. Hot-tap mounting capabilities cut installation costs significantly as compared to flanged full-bore mag meters, while maintaining cost-saving flow-measurement accuracy (Figure 3). Previously installed networking and software capabilities simply absorb the new data sources into the current analytics and reporting programs where managers are free to analyze them for multiple purposes.
Even for utilities that have not yet installed AMI capabilities at individual residential account locations, it can pay to look ahead to bulk mag meters that are versatile enough to monitor larger distribution infrastructure pipelines as part of the same AMI network. For example, FPI mag meters that accept both three-wire connections as well as 4-20 mA and digital pulse outputs can work with most AMI networks.
Whatever the metering requirements, FPI mag meters installed in water intake or distribution pipelines provide highly accurate (+ 0.5-percent) readings in any water flows with low turbidity and particulate matter. In water treatment and distribution, these applications include:
For drinking water utilities, the advantages of AMI supported by FPI mag meters within the water distribution network address a wide variety of management concerns:
Water utility managers and engineers interested in a more detailed understanding of the physical characteristics and benefits of FPI mag meter implementation in water distribution can click to this article on sizing, selection, and installation/mounting flexibility.