Keeping in the Sensus tradition for technological advances in the water metering market, the leading edge metrology for the OMNI meter is the “Floating Ball Technology” (FBT). The theory behind the FBT is a water measuring device that is virtually weightless in water and has no friction while it operates as the ball impeller floats. Because of this, the FBT is able to operate and measure at both very low and extremely high flow rates.
The expanded accuracy range of the OMNI meter will allow recovery of more revenue than a traditional large water meter, therefore giving a better return on investment for water utilities. And, for the first time, the expanded accuracy range will also give utilities the option to install an OMNI meter in place of a compound meter.
“We see the OMNI meter revolutionising the world’s large water meter market with the floating ball technology,” says Dave Herchko, vice president water marketing, North America. “Our water meter customers will gain more revenue by installing a more accurate meter that provides for more diverse meter deployment environments. We also believe the OMNI meter will save operating costs because it is a much simpler meter to maintain.”
By having only one moving part – the floating ball impeller – the OMNI meter is easy and simple for customers to maintain. When service is needed, the measuring element will most likely be the only part that would need attention, if at all. The simplification of internal components allows utilities to change the measuring element in a matter of minutes, keeping utility maintenance costs low. The floating ball impeller measuring element is the key differentiator of this meter from other large water meters.
While the FBT captures the spotlight in this technologically advanced meter, OMNI performs in other crucial areas as well. The meter includes an all electronic register that provides the customer with two electronic outputs. This enables customers to link the OMNI meter to an Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) or Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system and a SCADA system at the same time. The register also contains a programmable display and a 31-day data logging function. All of the features are designed to optimise utility operations through advanced field support tools.
The OMNI meter also addresses a utility’s need for meter versatility. OMNI is designed for any variation of large metering applications, and can be installed in any orientation. The meter will provide numerous opportunities for utility managers to revisit their large metering programme and deploy new metering technology to optimise utility resources and generate revenue previously not captured.
In addition to the FBT, the materials contained in the OMNI meter meet the most stringent environmental and regulatory concerns, including the critical NSF certification. All external and internal meter components meet NSF standards. Material features include an epoxy coated iron main case and measuring chamber upper plate, and durable composite internal parts. The meter also includes an integral strainer with a stainless steel strainer screen. The OMNI meter is a globally green, environmentally safe metering product.
“Being the largest producer of large water meters in a number of styles, the OMNI meter keeps us ahead of the competition,” states Doug Neely, executive vice president North America Water. “Utilities expect Sensus to continue to research and develop leading edge water measurement technologies that enable them to operate their utilities more efficiently. The bar for large water metering has been raised with the OMNI meter.”
The OMNI meter is the product of four years of research and development at the Sensus large water meter engineering facility in Hanover, Germany. Over this period Sensus put the meter through rigorous testing paces to see how well the technology would perform at minimal flow levels, that the industry never imagined possible by a large water meter. Following internal testing, the meter has been installed for over a year at various utilities in North America and around the world to verify the meter’s operating performance as compared to Sensus’ current large meter products and those of competitive meters.
“By installing meters in actual utility meter locations, we were able to see the OMNI in action,” states Jack Jackson, product manager, large meter technology in North America. “The meter performed better than our expectations, especially in tight meter installations with pipe elbows and shut-off valves connected to the meter where current large meters would not last. This is exceptional large meter measurement technology.”
In North America the company will begin product introduction of the OMNI in November and ramp up production beginning in January 2008, with additional types and models becoming available through the first quarter of 2008. As models and sizes come into the market, Sensus will make obsolete its current large meter production of like products. The company plans to have product changeover complete by April 2008 with its most common turbo, compound and fire service large meters.
|Key differentiators of the OMNI meter|
“We expect OMNI and its floating ball technology to revolutionise the way data is collected in large meters,” added Neely. “This meter not only satisfies all large meter requirements, but it does so in a manner that reflects what the industry is in need of – a reliable meter with pinpoint accuracy that doesn’t wear.”
“It has been many years since the global water utility market has seen an innovative water metering technology like the OMNI product,” states Herchko. “We, at Sensus, take pride in introducing this product into the world water markets we serve. With the importance of water accountability becoming more evident around the globe, the timing is right.”