Advancements in water metering technology deliver high measurement accuracy and long-term reliability. Ultrasonic flow meters
for residential and commercial applications offer several benefits, with greater data accuracy thanks to their construction.
Our E-Series® Ultrasonic water meters use high-frequency sound waves to measure flow. With no moving parts, these meters are resistant to the wear-and-tear problems common with mechanical meters.
To understand the benefits of ultrasonic technology, consider the science behind it: Ultrasonic signals are sent consecutively, with and against the flow of water via sensors as water enters the measuring tube. By measuring the time it takes for the ultrasonic signals to travel between the two sensors, the meter can accurately determine the flow rate of water. Total volume is calculated from the measured flow velocity using temperature and pipe diameter. Because ultrasonic meters measure velocity of acoustically conductive water as it flows through the meter, accuracy is ensured even in low-volume scenarios.
Smart Water Solution Expert Interview
As a former water utility director, Eric Larson, Utility Solutions Manager at Badger Meter, shares the value that ultrasonic technology can deliver to utilities of all sizes, and what utilities should ask a meter provider before entering a partnership.
Discuss your background in water utilities. What did your day-to-day look like?
- I spent six years as the water director for a major metropolitan water utility. Early on, I participated in some ride-alongs with our field staff to better understand their pain points and our processes.
At this time, our utility was using a drive-by automated meter reading (AMR) system, in addition to positive displacement meters from another vendor. There were times when we would go to a house or site to replace the meter because we weren't able to get meter reads. After a few of these kinds of calls, I would ask the technicians questions about the failure, because typically, the meter wasn't at a length of service where we would expect it to fail.
How did this experience lead you to look at alternative technologies?
- That experience led me to ask other questions, like “What's the warranty for a water meter?” So, I started researching warranty times for positive displacement meters, which then made me think, “Is there something else out there that's better for warranty?” And that brought me to static meters, specifically Badger Meter ultrasonic meters, that had the warranty and accuracy beyond our state Public Utility Commission length of service requirement.
Although warranty was my first consideration, I realized low flow accuracy also was imperative to our utility’s operation. In several parts of the country, there are strict requirements on non-revenue water—which is just one reason low flow accuracy is important. Badger Meter ultrasonic meters picked up these reads when other meters could not.
With ultrasonic meters, there are no moving parts, and the technology doesn’t wear out. Length of service is what was on my mind then, and it should be on our customer’s mind now.
What other technologies exist that can help utilities optimize their work?
- Advancements in meter reading technologies, like the BEACON® Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, provide utility management with greater visibility and control of water use in a system.
It’s important that the utility software platform is easy to read and intuitive, because after the meters are installed and deployed, utility operators are at a single site; the operators are in the office, at a desk, interacting with a software platform. With BEACON, the graphs are easy to navigate. You can export data to Excel, you can search by name or meter ID or address within the module and get what you need—simply, easily and quickly.
What are some questions that utilities should ask when they're looking at new meter providers?
- Utilities need to think about where they are going and what their landscapes will look in the future before they make purchasing decisions. Whether you are going with a drive-by AMR or cellular advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system, you must think about the ultimate goal. What are you hoping to accomplish? Where do you want to go in the future with this investment?
Ask about the warranty. A utility should know what they are really getting into, and how long it is going to last. Utilities should be looking at the higher end of life and support. Think about work order management. How do you envision this process? What do you want your customer interactions to look and feel like? What regulatory conversations will you need to have?
All these questions are great starting points for any utility considering a meter change-out program or an upgrade to ultrasonic technology.