Articles & Case Studies

EMR eases network modernisation drive for UK’s Affinity Water

Posted: Thursday 11th October 2018

Leading telecommunications and SCADA network supplier, EMR Integrated Solutions has completed a project with Affinity Water to ease the company’s network modernisation drive and migration to WITS/DNP3, with a phased transition from analogue to digital radio on its water distribution network.

This infrastructure upgrade is critical in allowing Affinity Water to enhance network security, remotely monitor and manage its water distribution assets in the field and significantly reduce maintenance costs.

Affinity Water is the UK’s largest water-only supplier and delivers an average 900 million litres of water each day to a population of more than 3.6 million people in South East England.

Using technology based on Racom’s RipEX Migration Station, which seamlessly supports analog and digital radio operation on the same channel, Affinity Water can upgrade outstations to WITS with RipEx digital radio on a site-by-site basis, without impacting the legacy outstations on the network. This reduces overall installation cost and drastically reduces downtime and project risk.

Commenting on the project, Andrew Fletcher, telemetry systems manager with Affinity Water said:

“The cost of migrating from analogue to digital shouldn't be underestimated. With the RipEX migration master station that we now have, we don’t need to revisit sites twice to change frequencies and we don't need additional base stations or licenses. There's a big benefit to that and it significantly reduces the cost of resource on the ground,” he said.

The deployment of Racom RipEX radios at 5 scanner and 150 outstation sites allows for remote monitoring of network assets together with telemetry network performance monitoring, resulting in a reconfiguration of Affinity Water’s maintenance program at significantly reduced cost.

“The legacy analogue radio system was incapable of supporting the rollout of newer automation technologies,” explains Mark Quinn, managing director with EMR Integrated Solutions. “We recommended Racom’s Master Station and RipEX radio based on the ease of implementation, software defined functionality and high data throughput with encryption and authentication as standard.”

EMR worked closely with the Affinity Water telemetry team on the pilot project, providing training and support for the initial scanner transition. Affinity Water's telemetry team will carry out the balance of the migration with ongoing support as required from the EMR crew.

“Our radio rollout is happening exceptionally fast,” adds Mr Fletcher. “That tells me our engineers are comfortable with the technology. EMR might be based in another country but their team are more than willing to make themselves available at short notice and that geographic distance doesn’t cause an issue.”

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