Automated Water Systems
Industrial automation plays a crucial role for water distribution companies. Not only does it save the utilities and their customers money through improved efficiency, but it also makes for more sanitary distribution methods. While automated systems have become standard practice for large and mid-sized companies, some smaller utilities still conduct these processes manually.
The notion of upgrading to a cloud-based SCADA system can be daunting for budget-constrained utility companies. But the upfront cost can quickly pay for itself through increased efficiency and reduced waste. Using automation on a wastewater collection system or a water distribution system enables utility companies to maximize their time, resources, and processes.
High Tide Technologies is Ahead of the Curve
For nearly 20 years, High Tide Technologies has been an industry leader in providing cloud-based SCADA solutions that help utility companies maximize their systems and budgets. We offer custom configurations and programmable system automations that will take the strain off your operators. Get in touch to learn more about how we can improve your processes through automated water management and we’ll put you in touch with a qualified distributor near you.
Custom Configured Automations Used in Water Distribution Systems
Wastewater collection is a relatively straightforward process. These systems use a network of locally controlled pumps and lift stations to move contaminated water back to the treatment plant. Treating and distributing the collected water is a bit more complicated. If the process is mismanaged, entire municipalities can have low water pressure or contaminated water. It can also lead to water scarcity or a water shortage.
Here are some common examples of how automation can be used in water distribution systems. All of the mentioned automations can be programmed and configured by High Tide Technologies to help operators save money and better manage their resources.
Control Levels for Tanks & Pump Stations
This is one of the most common automations used in distribution and collection systems. It enables operators to remotely control and monitor levels in water tanks and at pump stations. Commands can be set to automatically turn pumps off (close valves) when the tank gets full or turn pumps on (open valves) when tank levels get low. Operators have the option to adjust on/off levels based on their needs at any given time. Establishing a consistent filling and emptying routine serves to use electricity and other resources more efficiently.
Maintain Consistent Water Pressure
Maintaining consistent water pressure is an important concern for water distribution systems. Some operators choose to keep water tanks full at a high capacity the majority of the time so they can keep a narrow range up top. This is a common approach when water is needed for fire protection or because higher pressure is needed to help water travel through a hilly terrain.
Monitor Chlorine Injection
In a water distribution system, proper management of chlorine injection and water storage is imperative to serving safe water to consumers. The chemical feed station that adds chlorine to disinfect water before it goes into the tank needs to be regularly monitored. An automation can be set to maintain a level of chlorine injection proportionate to the number of wells that are running. If this process remains unchanged, you run the risk of getting too much or too little chlorine in the water. Additionally, operators must ensure that the water stored in tanks is rotated regularly in order to keep chlorine levels up. When water sits in a tank for too long without being rotated, the chlorine will evaporate out of water and become less sanitary.
Automatic Low Suction Cutoff
Pump control stations can benefit from a special mechanism that prevents pumps from malfunctioning due to overuse. If the water pressure coming into a pump station gets too low while pumps continue to run, the pumps will overheat and break down. This can be avoided using automation and a low suction cutoff mechanism, which enables operators to set pressure levels that ensure optimal functionality.
The Benefits of Water System Automations
Reduced Energy Costs
Powering water distribution systems costs a lot of money and requires a lot of resources. These utilities operate 24/7/365, which requires the consumption of large amounts of energy.
Using industrial automation can significantly lessen this burden.
Efficient Use of Labor
Industrial automation saves water operators large amounts of time. Gone are the days that workers need to drive around to different points in the system to manually operate tanks and pumps. Using automation to remotely monitor and control processes frees up employees to work on more important matters.
Operators can set thresholds for automations and High Tide configures the execution.
We like to make things easy for you. Rather than have an exhaustive manual that opens the floodgates for mis-programming, we will program the logic for whatever functions you need so that you can easily set on/off levels.
Water Waste Reduction
Waste reduction is one of the biggest challenges faced by utility companies. Water is a precious resource. The use of water automation enables distributors to vastly reduce the amount of leaks and loss throughout the supply chain. Actively monitoring tank and pressure levels is an effective way to monitor for leak detection.
A fast-draining water tank usually means that there’s a leak in the system. In this case, a rapid fall alert can be set up so that operators receive an alarm notification whenever a leak may be present.
Access to the Data You Need
Decisions are only as good as the data that informs them. There is no better way to get the information you need than by using a SCADA system to remotely monitor and control system functions and equipment health.
For example, High Tide customers get access to a history graph that allows them to see how fast a tank is filling or draining, which provides indications about the health of their pumps.
Improve Processes & Perform Preventative Maintenance
Being able to access your system 24/7/365 using any Internet-enabled device ensures that your operators are able to keep water supply and collection systems running smoothly and safely. With access to historical data, you’ll be able to notice trends to modify your processes and conduct preventative maintenance on equipment.
Process refinement is the essence of automation. With High Tide, you’re getting a partner. Over the years, we have continued to add supplemental features and custom configurations at the request of our clients.
How Does Water System Automation Work?
Industrial automations are an event/response system. It works when hardware and software communicate in an effort to accomplish a set of preset conditions. For example, using a tank in a water distribution system as an example, a sensor (hardware) would be attached to the tank and periodically record water levels. This sensor would communicate via an Internet-enabled medium (cellular, satellite radio, ethernet, etc.) and the data would be uploaded to High Tide’s cloud servers. The information is then made available to employees via a secure client portal (software). Operators can monitor their system remotely and make adjustments based-on preset commands (created using programmable logic). So whenever the programmable logic event occurs, it triggers a command that would go out to the booster or valve and tell it to open or close.
Utilities that don’t make use of automation controls waste precious resources by having operators monitor and control all functions manually. An operator can easily forget to check tank levels or fail to turn it off the pump, causing the tank to overflow. Automation keeps systems running within acceptable boundaries without requiring people to be actively involved 24/7. It is also far easier to show evidence to regulatory bodies through reporting from the app instead of pen/paper/clipboard-type reporting. The High Tide app facilitates this.
Improve Your SCADA Automations with High Tide Technologies
High Tide Technologies makes automating your water distribution system easy. Not only does we make daily operations more manageable, but we can also help ensure the health and longevity of your equipment. Using our data analytics alarms helps catch issues before wasting water, electricity, and time.
Radio SCADA systems can be prohibitively expensive for small and mid-sized utilities. Additionally, they require an operator to physically be in the plant monitoring 24/7/365. With cloud-based SCADA, multiple operators can monitor and control system functions remotely. This promotes efficiency while reducing water, electricity, and people’s time.
High Tide Technologies provides utilities with flexibility in how, when, and where they manage their systems. We give you the tools you need to serve your customers. Get in touch to learn more about how water automations can start helping your team today.