Flowmeters with Telemetry
by Team Kritsnam

Introduction

Every year, water waste and mismanagement lead to a cascade of financial and
infrastructural losses. Today, more than ever, it is essential to accurately gauge velocity, volume, pressure and other metrics related to the flow of liquids across industries. Flowmeters are devices that allow us to prevent lost costs and opportunities that come with water mismanagement. There are several types of flowmeters available in the market, and you can learn more about them on our blog.

Depending on their source of power there are primarily two types of flowmeters. Let us quickly run through the chief varieties of flowmeters.

  • Mains or AC-operated Flow Meters- As the name suggests, these are powered by the grid.
  • Battery-operated Flow Meters- They draw power from a battery source.

Let's discuss some of the commonly operated flowmeters and how battery operation has an added advantage over main operating systems. The elementary types of flowmeters found in the market included ultrasonic, electromagnetic and mechanical to name a few.

  • Ultrasonic- Ultrasonic flowmeters use sound waves to determine the flow rate. The mechanism of the system ensures that they have a low power consumption. The flowmeter system powered by a battery source uses transit time to measure flow velocity and ensures a longer battery life of at least 10 years.
  • Electromagnetic- The Electromagnetic flow meter uses Faraday’s law of magnetic induction to measure fluid flow. Researchers have tried to incorporate electromagnetic flowmeters with batteries in order to reduce power drain. However, these efforts are still in an embryonic stage and need more development.
  • Mechanical- Mechanical flowmeter measures the velocity of water flowing through the pipe which enables the turbine or piston to rotate. It has low to negligible power consumption which makes it a great choice for a battery integrated system.

The needs of industry and commerce have made monitoring, tracking and transmission of data imperative for ventures big and small. This has extended to surveillance and data logging technology as well. As companies become more and more decentralized and plants are built in ever remote areas, telemetry becomes more and more common.

Features of Telemetry

Telemetry has made our lives simpler in many ways-

  • It allows operators to monitor and analyze performance and usage from remote locations.
  • It delivers high-quality, real-time data.
  • It reduces costs by making expensive on-site monitoring construction obsolete.
  • It enables the planning of upgrades and replacements.
  • It allows the determination of failure at any stage of the pipeline.

Flowmeters extensively utilize telemetry these days.

How does Telemetry Work?

Telemetry requires a system that is being monitored and a device with sensors capable of recording this physical data and electrical data. Timing data is added and a data stream is created. It also needs a system for transmitting this data and a receiver to obtain and store it.

Data can be transferred through radio, infrared, cellular network- GSM, GPRS,3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, LoRa and even satellites such as INSAT launched by the Indian Space Research Organization.

The stream undergoes separation at the remote receiver, where the original data may be displayed or processed as per the user’s specifications.

What are the various types of Telemetry Systems?

There are several types of telemetry but for the sake of this discussion, we shall be
focussing on three main types.

  • Wi-Fi Telemetry
    Wi-Fi typically offers a shorter range than a normal telemetry radio but supports higher data rates. Here the digital data generated by this sensor is fed to a Wi-Fi transmitter, that transmits it through Wi-Fi protocols. A wireless router receives this data over a shorter range and further sends the data to the host PC. Here a software client application allows the customer full control of the flow of the data. Wi-Fi-based wireless communication modules consume a relatively high amount of energy depending on the frequency of data transfer and interference.

Summary: In conclusion, Wi-Fi telemetry is high cost, high power consuming and shorter-range telemetry.

  • Cellular Telemetry
    Cellular telemetry provides higher range telemetry with the small cost of having a cellular plan. Monitoring stations can be built much further away. While cell coverage is an issue in some areas, this drawback is rapidly being addressed. Private networks can eliminate the risk of data breaches. However, the high energy requirements of 4G networks may raise costs. So, cellular telemetry is low-cost, high power consumption and high-range telemetry.
  • LoRa Telemetry
    LoRa, or Long Range is telemetry that uses wireless technology similar to Wi-Fi. The frequency depends on the location of usage. The range can be as high as 10 km under optimal conditions. LoRa is finding wide usage in IoT and promises to be an innovative technology. However, it lacks the proper network protocols to manage traffic for data collection and endpoint device management. It is much better suited to flowmeter telemetry than Bluetooth and similar technologies. In summation, LoRa telemetry is low-cost, low-energy, mid-range telemetry

Telemetry converts raw data into indispensable and actionable analytics which when integrated into the flowmeter system eases the process of water auditing.

Flow meters with Telemetry

Recently, battery-operated flowmeters have skyrocketed in popularity due to their benefits. Given that telemetry is also a must these days, let us take a more in-depth look at how telemetry combines with the most commonly used battery-operated flowmeters. Currently, Cellular telemetry is the most preferred form of telemetry for flowmeters and ultrasonic and electromagnetic flowmeters are the most commonly used flowmeters.

Let us put these two contenders to the test.

Electromagnetic Cellular Telemetry Flowmeters
These combine electromagnetic technology with cellular telemetry. While it does have a variety of uses, one major drawback is that the high power consumption of cellular communications adds to the high power consumption of the electromagnetic flowmetry, making it a cost-prohibitive choice.

Ultrasonic Cellular Telemetry Flowmeters
These combine ultrasonic technology with cellular telemetry. The result is that the high power consumption of cellular communications is offset by the lower power consumption of the ultrasonic flowmetry. This makes ultrasonic flowmeter with GPRS telemetry a truly excellent and effective choice that is nevertheless affordable for the vast majority of industrial, regulatory and governmental uses.

Conclusion

The water management industry has long been seeking a flowmeter that would be accurate, reliable, easy to maintain, tamper-proof and affordable. Older flowmeters needed to be connected to the main power grid and were generally cumbersome to maintain. Battery-operated flowmeters seem to be an answer to this quest. They fulfill all the above criteria and more. With ultrasonic flowmeters, we have the perfect blend of accuracy through ultrasonic sound wave measurement technology and low energy consumption. You may easily rely on them for a decade or more. This sort of performance and reliability at low costs, in an industry defined by flux, is nothing short of astounding.

And with six years of profound research and constant experiments, we have successfully developed Dhara Smart at Kritsnam. Dhara Smart comes with integrated telemetry and battery-powered capabilities, which make it easier for the user to manage water consumption from anywhere and anytime (even when the power is down). One of the most significant additions is the integration of AI-driven technology will enable the user to monitor, compare and evaluate their water consumption effectively and efficiently. This has revolutionised operations and has become essential for adapting to shifting tides in business. It is a boon to industries all over the world that utility and convenience have come together in such a beautiful way. As of today, it must be concluded that Ultrasonic Cellular telemetry flowmeters offer the best balance of performance and cost making
them the ideal choice for the discerning operator.

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