Latest product launches

Novel clip-on submersible device enables low cost automatic meter reading

Posted: Tuesday 8th February 2011

A unique battery-operated, submersible device for automatic meter reading (AMR) is now available in the UK. The device simply clips on to the existing water meter in seconds and so requires no modifications or costly re-engineering of the water meter.

Manufactured by Taiwanese company Aquas Smart Water Solutions and available in the UK through sole distributor M.A.C Solutions, the AQLOG AMR Series uses advanced Image Processing and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to provide water companies with a compact, battery-operated, wireless solution for automatic water meter reading. No separate power cabling is required and the device can be deployed remotely using GPRS or 3G wireless communications technology.

Andy Thorogood, Product Manager at M.A.C Solutions comments: “The AMR Series uses unique technology, custom-designed specifically by Sony for Aquas. A CMOS array imaging module and OCR technology provide excellent image capture capability, as well as offering low noise interference. The AMR Series can also operate in very low light environments. Image recognition technology is normally very power-hungry. Therefore, Aquas developed specific software algorithms in order to reduce the power consumption, whilst improving the accuracy of the device.”

The AMR also has in-built data logging capability and alarm management, which means the water company can offer customers online access to their water bill, with the option of viewing their water usage profile. For water companies themselves, the AMR Series offers increased water bill accuracy of up to 10 per cent, as well as reduced water pipeline leakage of up to 3 per cent, as customers will be able to identify more leaks from their usage profile.

The AQLOG AMR Series is submersible and dustproof to IP68 and can operate in temperatures from –20 deg C up to 75 deg C and in extreme humidity environments. The device has integral Modbus interface for data transmission and can store up to 50,000 records over 5 years, assuming readings are logged every 15 minutes.

The AMR Series offers numerous advantages over existing meter reading methods, which normally use magnetic sensors, pulse encoders and mechanical gearing. Because it is completely self-contained, power, networking, sensor and IO cabling are eliminated. Engineering and infrastructure costs are also minimised.

The AMR Series is easy to install and requires no calibration. Connection is within seconds. The device is compatible with existing water meters and simply clips on to the face of the meter. Mounting kits are also available for non-standard water meter designs. Further benefits are low maintenance, minimal operating costs and flexibility, as the device can be transferred quickly and easily to other water meters.

Aside from automatic meter reading, typical applications for the AMR Series include water flow balance leakage analysis; minimum night flow analysis; water distribution network modelling, calibration and demand forecasting; and time-dependent water billing.

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