T-T has some 40 plus years of designing and manufacturing control systems; from the early days, there has always been a demand reporting system failure that was normally an alarm light/beacon or audible alarm being the mainstay.
Over the years, we have evolved our monitoring systems as technology advances and our experience grew with pumping systems and industrial processes. Initial advances beyond a simple indicator light or audible alarm employed the telephone via PSTN lines, then mobile GSM reporting via SMS text messaging and now cloud technology with the Internet of Things products and services.
Monitoring Systems Available
Alert - our entry-level unit, providing an audible and visual indication of an alarm condition, typically level, is available in both mains power and conjunctive battery backup. With variations such as the Pro unit available for replication of the alarm warning via a volt free contact to other connected devices such as BMS (building management systems).
Alarm Tel uses the Public Service Telephone Service (PSTN) phone line connectivity to provide recipients with notification of the alarm condition via a telemetry dial out unit speech recorded message unit. Capable of monitoring 3 user-defined alarm conditions, plus mains failure built-in as standard, the Alarm Tel offers reliable communication with no possibility of lack of network coverage or loss of GSM signal. Onboard battery backup provides coverage to report the alarm condition, even in the event of mains failure.
Text Tel - is very similar to the Alarm Tel system, in the ability to monitor and report on 3 users defined statuses including power failure but can relay this warning via SMS text messaging to up to 5 recipients either singularly until acknowledged, or either as a global notification. Like all non-cloud-based monitoring alarm units produced by T-T, this also has battery backup technology employed.
Seer - is the most advanced system in our range and uses cloud-based IoT servers to host and relay data captured via our Seer range of monitoring units. Three units are offered, entry-level SEER Micro ideal for retrofit into existing control panels or offering conversion from GSM-based alarm units. SEER Junior is the next model in the range supplied a standalone weatherproof unit with data capture on an enhanced number of variables. Finally, the SEER Advanced is the flagship model of the range, with the ability to monitor peripheral data inputs such a voltage per phase, along with other performance-related variables such as motor current draw, flow, combined with the facility to monitor the presence of digital signals such as level inputs, limit switches etc., and display/rely this critical information worldwide in real-time 365 days per year.
Why Pump Monitoring?
The main problem with any remote system is predicting failure or the circumstances that can lead to failure. Very often, it is not the product that is a fault, but the operating circumstances.
A good example is a sewage pumping station designed to pump domestic effluents and the Design Construction Guidelines (DSG) which are set out by the water companies for the requirements of such pumping stations that eventually become adopted in line with the Sewers for Adoption SFA process.
Unfortunately, household wipes are becoming a major problem to many sites where the wipes accumulate and enter the pumping station in a surge for which the pumping station has difficulty in dealing with and can result in total failure of the pumping station, during the maintenance period up to handover. The builder/developer is responsible for maintaining the pumping station without the water company's support. The handover period can take months to many years before being handed over to the water company for adoption; during that period of maintenance, the builder or developer has the full responsibility of keeping the pumping station fully operational and maintained.
As builders and developers are not focused on maintaining the pumping station, they look for specialised companies and systems that will assist in keeping a pumping system fully operational.
The SEER Monitoring system provides complete monitoring of a system and can give advance warning of potential problems.
SEER Monitoring Technology
With technology advancing at pace gathering speed, and the Internet of Things (IoT) allows all things to be connected remotely, what benefits can be achieved by all this data captured, packaged to the cloud and then remotely accessed.
Looking at the uses of remote monitoring via the cloud in respect to pumping stations, the first benefit is the data or, in basic terms, an insight into building up a picture of the operation. With many variables consistently recorded, such as incoming voltage, pump running durations and operating current, and wet will infill rate, there is the ability to track all activity in real-time, and then plot this as history.
Identifying ‘Behaviour’ and Establishing Pump Monitoring Rules
Once a picture is established in terms of normal operation or ‘behaviour’ for the asset, such as peak demand trending early morning and evening usage when most people are getting ready for work then returning, and the appropriate pump operating cycles for this period, you can then begin to assign ‘rules’ in how the data is to be managed when exceptions to this normal behaviour occur.
For example, a pump station generally will see an infill rate consistent during peak demand periods of 6 am -9 am, empties the sump using a pump to a normal stop level in approx. 4 minutes when called to operate. However, on a given day, the 4-minute run time becomes extended longer and longer despite the inflow to the station remaining constant, then we can identify the root cause of the issue. In this case, a stuck non-return valve meaning that all liquid being pumped is simply being re-circulated into the sump via the standby pump and pipework leg.
Creating rules from the data will provide early warning notifications to be generated by such events as above and alert responders.
Before this technology to monitor, record and report data in such a manner would have failed systems and prolonged run periods would have gone undetected, resulting in excessive wear, high running costs and potential environmental damage.
Pump Monitoring Benefits
Labour attendance efficiency - The incidents described above, along with other factors such as pump blockages indicated by a rise in the pump running current, are all detected and reported. Any issues which have occurred on-site are resolved more efficiently. Staff deployed to respond to such breakdowns know what the issue is before arrival and therefore are equipped with an understanding of the failure and any respective spare parts required because of the breakdown. Therefore, labour time on site is also reduced, as a diagnosis has typically taken place before attendance on-site, and consequently, the productivity of reactive maintenance staff is increased.
Cost Saving of Remote Monitoring Over Site Visits
Remote monitoring of pumping stations can provide several cost-saving benefits over traditional site visits. Some of the specific ways in which remote monitoring can help to reduce costs include:
Reduced travel costs: With remote monitoring, it is not necessary for operators to physically visit the pumping station to collect data or perform inspections. This can help to reduce the cost of travel, including expenses such as fuel, vehicle maintenance, and accommodation.
Increased efficiency: Remote monitoring allows for continuous monitoring of pumping stations, which can help to identify problems as they arise and allow for timely intervention. This could help to reduce downtime and increase the overall efficiency of the pumping station, leading to cost savings.
Reduced labour costs: Remote monitoring can help reduce the amount of labour required to monitor and maintain pumping stations. This can lead to cost savings through reduced labour costs and increased productivity.
Enhanced safety: Remote monitoring can help to reduce the need for operators to work in potentially hazardous environments, such as at pumping stations that handle dangerous fluids. This can help to improve safety and reduce the risk of accidents, leading to cost savings through reduced insurance premiums and other related expenses.
Overall, remote monitoring can help reduce the cost of maintaining and operating pumping stations while also improving efficiency and safety.
Pump Monitoring Life Expectancy
The equipment's life expectancy is extended as trends from the data map a decrease in performance, and areas of concern can be addressed, such as wearing parts. Effective proactive maintenance in this manner ultimately extends the longevity of the equipment in service.