Ultrasonics solve level problems at Ayr Pumping Station 07 April 2011

Scottish Water is reporting success with non-contacting ultrasonic level measurement equipment that has resolved a difficult deep-well measurement issue.

Jason Cramb of Scottish Water says that the equipment is providing strong, consistent and reliable measurement in a narrow, 25metre deep sump at Ayr Pumping Station, which is a strategically important flood defence installation.

Frustrated by the failure of another supplier's equipment, Scottish Water approached Pulsar Process Measurement for a solution, and the firm recommended its Ultra 5 controller matched to a dB40 transducer, with a maximum range of 40m on solids or liquids.

Cramb explains that the application presents several problems. The well is narrow, with a number of obstructions in the path of the ultrasonic beam – making it difficult for ultrasonic systems to bounce their pulses of sound energy off the target and correctly identify the returning echo against many others.
Hitherto, ultrasonics had picked up these intrusions, giving false readings, high spikes and hence keeping the pumps running unnecessarily, he says.
However, Pulsar's system uses echo processing software called Datem, which identifies and holds the correct echo even in difficult conditions.

Scottish Water has conducted thorough tests over six months and says the system is working well.
"We have moved from difficulty to delight, with an absolute confidence in Pulsar's equipment," comments Cramb. "Unlike some other manufacturers, Pulsar's equipment genuinely does exactly what they claim it will do."

And he continues: "On the strength of confidence built, we are installing more Pulsar equipment and will be removing other level measurement and control equipment which is now surplus to requirement and unnecessary."

Brian Tinham

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