‘Maintenance-free’ are words often used to describe control systems which require minimal, or no routine upkeep and consequently save users time and money in their particular process. In the case of the innovative, non-contact Flo-Dar flowmeter, these words are certainly appropriate, especially as 4000 units have now been installed worldwide.
It’s almost 10 years since FLOWLINE installed the first Flo-Dar in the UK at the Fazackerly Treatment Works, a North West Water facility (now part of United Utilities). The system has been measuring the inlet flows to the Fazackerly works and is still operating perfectly, having required NO maintenance since it was commissioned in 2000.
Following on from the first installation hundreds of Flo-Dar systems have been installed, some as fixed installations, others as portable survey tools. Whatever the application, they all demonstrate the important feature of operating successfully without the need for any routine maintenance or servicing, even in the most challenging applications, such as raw sewage flows, hot brine and paper effluent.
The Flo-Dar system has proven particularly effective in the demanding task of monitoring sewage flows as it unaffected by rag, silt and fat, contents which can ‘foul’ the sensors on other types of flow monitoring devices. Furthermore, when the Flo-Dar’s long-term performance is matched with remote monitoring needs, a whole range of applications become possible, such
as real time sewer monitoring and control. This type of application demands high reliability combined with genuine ‘zero maintenance’, especially when the systems are operated remotely, such as in distant or isolated locations.
For example, over 40 Flo-Dar open-channel flowmeters are installed in Northern Italy monitoring high velocity sewer flows from mountain towns and villages. All these meters are connected via GPRS link to a large treatment works, where one operator can remotely interrogate all the meters and if required, change the ‘set point’ for the maximum allowable flow controlled by the Flo-Dar via a penstock. Also, new data gathering techniques further extend the scope of use. For example, over 100 Flo-Dar’s at one overseas site enable data to be collected remotely providing the water authorities with the flow data required to calculate effluent and sewage charges based on actual volumes.
The latest versions of Flo-Dar are both ATEX certified and WEB enabled, thus making long term, remote sewer monitoring a reality. The entire system is contained within the manhole, data is transmitted via GPRS to the Internet or Ethernet and goes directly to the users own web page. No data processing is required as the information is available immediately after it has been transmitted from the site. Such systems are now installed in the UK, such as at Thames Water. The web data transfer capability can be retrofitted to any fixed Flo-Dar system, providing existing users with remote access to their flow data.
Among the 4000 systems installed worldwide are around 260 systems in the UK, including those being used at all the major UK water authorities, who are benefitting from non-contact, no-maintenance, ensuring reliable, state-of-the-art effluent monitoring.