Meter communications: Kamstrup backs RF over PLC with new test centre


Danish metering manufacturer Kamstrup has put its weight behind radio frequency (RF) as the best way for a meter to communicate data with an investment of DKK 10 million (US$1.7 million) in a new test centre.

Per Asmussen, managing director of Kamstrup, explained that the company had tested both RF and power line communication (PLC) since 2007 but assessed that RF is the most cost-effective solution that also ensures the highest performance in the high-frequency network.

Mr Asmussen said: “We believe that that radio communication will become more and more widespread. There is political momentum for harmonizing the area of radio communication within the European Union, and in general, an enormous technology development takes place within radio communication.”

RF benefits

Anders Skallebæk, technical manager of hardware at Kamstrup, explains further: “Our analysis clearly pointed out that our customers can reap more benefits from RF.

“A remote reading system based on radio communication provides a higher reading performance of automated meter management, among other things. Thereby, the utility can perform technical measurements and offer functions such as fast immediate reading and measurements down to hourly values.”

Mr Skallebæk said that other benefits of RF are the customer can very easily extend a radio network and the company sees a greater market potential than PLC.

The meter maker’s research found that interference in the fixed network posed some challenges for the customers in the form of disturbances between the electronic household components and the installed PLC system.

RF test centre

The construction of the new test centre has begun and will finish in December 2014. Kamstrup hopes it will provide a quicker project lead time and develop the company’s two radio network systems – Radio Mesh and Radio Link.

Water meter

Skallebæk also said water meters are a global growth area for Kamstrup and “is a market which we of course would like to get hold of, and [one that] focuses significantly on radio as the leading communication technology.”