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Ultrasonic domestic water meter- product design and field testing

Primary Information

Domain

Water Resources & River Systems

Project No.

6843

Sanction and Project Initiation

Sanction No: F.NO.3-18/2015 T.S.-I(VOL.IV)

Sanction Date:07/06/2017

Project Initiation date:05/09/2017

Project Duration: 36

Partner Ministry/Agency/Industry

Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs

 

Role of partner:Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is supporting the project with partial funding

 

Support from partner:50% of total budget of the project.

Principal Investigator

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Paluri S. V. Nataraj
IIT Bombay

Host Institute

 

Scope and Objectives

Ultrasonic meters for drinking water are more accurate and reliable than the mechanical ones. However, no indigenously made ultrasonic domestic water meter is available. The imported ones are very expensive. This is the main reason for lack of good quality water meter installations in India. Further, high maintenance requirements and operating costs discourage concerned agencies from deploying quality water meters. The objective of this project is to transform an existing prototype of the ultrasonic water meter (that we developed in a previous project) into a full-fledged deployable product. The product shall be extensively field tested at different sites, and improved upon as necessary till a good deployable product is ready for large scale manufacturing. The aim is to make high quality, reliable, rugged, and affordable ultrasonic meters for domestic potable water metering. The key features and capabilities aimed for are Automatic Meter Reading, Reliability, Accuracy, IOT, Data encryption, Low maintenance, and most importantly, Affordability.

Deliverables

The indigenously developed ultrasonic water meter has all the features commensurate with international standards: automated meter reading (AMR), IOT compatible, data encryption, high reliability, high accuracy, ruggedness, low maintenance, tamper detection, low battery alert, and a small form factor. It is a breakthrough indigenous product, as it offers all the features of imported ultrasonic domestic water meters, but at a small fraction of their cost. It is a much needed product under Make in India! In short, the deliverable is a low-cost, field tested product for drinking water metering, having above features like AMR, and supported with billing and analytics software.

 

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Scientific Output

A functional product has been developed. Product is believed to be a breakthrough, as it offers all the features of imported water meters, but at a fraction of their cost. Once the product stabilizes (based on the inputs from the field tests), it is believed it will deployed by various water supply and distribution agencies for domestic water metering.

 

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Results and outcome till date

1. A full functional IOT compatible ultrasonic water meter with AMR is developed with following features: a) Meter size DN15, DN20, DN25 for standard pipe lines. b) Integrated wireless data transmission over 2-3 Kms distance, consuming very less power. c) Battery life upto 5 years. d) Inbuilt alerts for Tamper, Low Battery, etc. 2. Wireless infrastructure developed in IIT Bombay and at BPCL Mumbai field trial sites 3. Indigenously developed data collection server software- customizable as per requirement for data collection, alarm and meter status monitoring 4. Data encryption for data security. 5. Customized design of sensor and enclosure, leading to a small form factor of the meter. 6. Setting up of In-house calibration and flow test facilities. 7. Meters are under field trials at 2 sites in Mumbai.

 

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Societal benefit and impact anticipated

The product will play a key role in drinking water metering. The benefits are consumer accountability, equitable distribution of drinking water, and reduction of non-revenue water (NRW). The product can be widely deployed by Water Supply Boards, Municipalities, and Smart Cities.

Next steps

a) Field Trials b) Revision of electronics/sensor design/final enclosure/overall design based on feedback from field trials. c) Product Calibration and Certification.

Publications and reports

Not yet

Patents

Not yet

Scholars and Project Staff

Project Staff appointed: Senior Project Manager- (1) Project Manager-(1) Senior Project Engineer-(2) Senior Project Technical Assistant-(2) Senior Project Assistant-(2) Project Attendant-(1)

Challenges faced

1. As this is a new field, we faced difficulties from the semiconductor chip manufacturers in finalizing the electronic chips and development platforms. Several factors had to be considered in this finalization, such as development support for product, availability of the same chips in future, and high costs of the same. 2. Wireless technology deployed is very new. There are hardly any transmitter chips that work well in India. We had to approach the concerned manufacturers, and get them to modify the chips as per Indian frequency bands. Some updates/issues are still pending with the foreign chip manufacturers. 3. Faced a lot of difficulties in hiring the right manpower with enough skills in this area of development.

Other information

We suggest: 1.Make AMR based water metering mandatory for every water line connection. This will increase accountability, reduce NRW, and ultimately save this very precious resource. 2.Build future houses (especially apartment buildings) ready for water metering by providing a single entry of water pipeline per house. This will enable a single meter to be installated in every house - just as we do for electrical supply to home, by providing a separate energy meter for every house.

Financial Information

  • Total sanction: Rs. 39997000

  • Amount received: Rs. 24248250

  • Amount utilised for Equipment: Rs.1238735

  • Amount utilised for Manpower: Rs. 5417125

  • Amount utilised for Consumables: Rs. 727582

  • Amount utilised for Contingency: Rs. 244854

  • Amount utilised for Travel: Rs. 48997

  • Amount utilised for Other Expenses: 9159

  • Amount utilised for Overheads: Rs. 2324842

Equipment and facilities

 

The project involves Electro- mechanical design, Development and testing with IOT based application software development for users. Work stated on various aspects of design with related equipment and facility development- inside the workplace at IITB. 1) Electronic design facility a) Lab setup with Computers , Development kits, test equipments, b) Fabrication setup with soldering station and assembly section. c) Testing of circuit boards with sophisticated equipment like high precision power supply, Nano-ampere current and voltage meter along with high end oscilloscope and signal generator. 2) Software design section and IOT a) Embedded software for micro controller b) IOT wireless data transmission to network cloud c) Web based server software for data collection. d) Application software and App for mobile devices 3) Design validation and certification facility- for checking and optimizing hardware design and making it ready for obtaining required electronic and environmental certification before launching in market 4) Mechanical design facility a) CAD design facility has been setup for sensor and enclosure designs b) CFD simulation station has been setup using a high end server computer equipped with multi core GPU cards. c) Rapid prototyping facility using 3D printing for quickly making various enclosure/spool designs. 5) Calibration and test facilities a) A Calibration setup has been developed as per ISO guidelines comprising of high delivery water pumps, speed controller drive, flow meters, weighing scale, storage tanks along with measurement and control software. b) A specially designed setup has been developed for testing meters under variable flow conditions which helps to study the effects of abrupt flow changes and turbulence. Setup also enables comparative study of multiple types of flow meters like Rotameter, paddle flow meter, available commercial meters from market, and the developed ultrasonic meter. c) An outdoor test facility has been setup to study the effect of various environmental factors on the designed meter. 6) Wireless network infrastructure- a) At IIT Bombay- A wireless gateway is installed covering the entire IITB campus and surrounding areas. This gateway is useful for automatic meter data collection (IOT). b) At BPCL, Mumbai- Gateway is installed for conducting field trials of meters at BPCL residential colony.