Today’s commercial and residential water use barely resemble those of ten or twenty years ago. As a result, the way water and wastewater facilities operate has also changed dramatically—especially as a result of changes made during the COVID-19 pandemic. As Emerson’s Durgesh Jha explains, in his recent recent Q&A in Smart Water and Waste World magazine,
“Today’s water companies are expected to be top-notch providers to customers. Customers not only expect to have water flow when they need it, but also to be able to see critical metrics: how much water they consume, the percentage of other customers using more or less water than they are, statistics broken down by date, time, and more.”
But to be able to provide customers with this deep data, the water companies need to be able to access it themselves. This need, coupled with increased operational excellence, are the two-pronged benefit water companies see when they begin to apply wireless sensing and process data analytics. With data and analytics tools in place, teams in the plant have better visibility to the health of assets and operations—visibility that becomes more critical as plant assets age:
“In many of the plants using water for industrial purposes, big pumps and motors run from electricity generated by gas-fired turbines, which are often old, and typically are no longer as cost effective to run as they used to be. Every bit of lost efficiency on those systems comes with a cost, so reliability teams are moving away from purely protective systems to embrace wider-ranging predictive maintenance.”
Simultaneously, though, in water facilities, increased visibility also empowers teams across the enterprise to provide better service to customers. Using the valuable data gained from wireless sensors and edge analytics, enterprise teams gain better insight into plant activities and performance to help the corporate office make good business decisions. They can also leverage that data into interface advancements they can offer customers.
Choosing the Right Technologies
But while these new sensing technologies are game changers for operators, technicians, and enterprise personnel, there are a lot of options on the market, and choosing the right software and sensors can be a daunting task. Durgesh breaks down the most important rule of selecting technologies; they should be easy to install, easy to use, and easy to understand.
“If a solution is too complex or can only be installed and maintained by system integrators using complex custom configurations, it likely will not last across the lifecycle of your equipment, nor is it likely to generate fast return on investment.”
Solutions like Emerson’s AMS Asset Monitor, AMS Wireless Vibration Monitor, and AMS Machine Works are built with easy connectivity in mind. They are designed to easily connect to the control system and to easily connect plant personnel to each other for improved decision support and easier collaboration. The software provides actionable insights to operators and technicians in a format plant staff of any experience level can understand, making it easier and faster to generate and demonstrate value.
If you’d like to learn more about how modern sensing technologies are changing the face of water and wastewater around the globe—including examples from Durgesh’s own experience—be sure to read the article in its entirety at Smart Water and Waste World. I’d also be interested in hearing how you are employing modern sensing technologies to improve visibility, reliability, and operational excellence in your facility. Feel free to comment below to share your experiences.