Water management solution for council

GME Pty Ltd
Monday, 01 February, 2010

Saving time, money and a precious resource

The Upper Hunter Shire Council (UHSC) presented some interesting problems when it had a need for a high-tech solution to its water management and control for the townships of Aberdeen and Scone, with possible future expansion within their 2.9 million hectare jurisdiction. A previous supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) network was well overdue for upgrade and the latest environmental laws meant that dramatic changes and demands on water management had occurred since the original installation.

Accountability for the water resource was paramount and, over such a large area, this meant that issues like response time to problems and human resources had to be addressed - so did water wastage, maintenance reticulation and treatment.

A radio-based SCADA solution was the obvious choice but the RF network would need to guarantee a high-data throughput, link integrity and assured robustness.

A software SCADA solution was put forward by Serck at Cardiff, NSW and accepted by UHSC. The Serck solution would provide a distributed control methodology for the various water and wastewater assets. The radio network had to support peer to peer communications, report by exception messaging and polling from either of the two redundant SCADA master stations, as well as remote diagnostics and configuration of the RTU controllers.

GME at Gladesville, NSW, was approached to supply all radio hardware, including the repeaters for the multi-point sections of the network, as well as provide an innovative connectivity for the DNP integration.

The radio network itself would have to guarantee adequate fade margins in order to maintain link integrity at the many point-to-point and multi-point legs of the network, to ensure that command data could be successfully bused between the RTU and CPU stations.

GME provided that radio hardware solution, which was installed as a seamless RF connected network to remote points that are sometimes separated by hours of driving in rough terrain. To assist with installation and system commissioning, GME provided the AK3600 audio interface. This unit provides an analogue voice facility usable over the data network repeaters.

Purpose designed and built for SCADA and telemetry applications, the TX3600D/T was used at all RTU and CPU points. This unit boasts a robust mechanical design on a die-cast chassis making the unit capable of a MIL spec rating. It also ensures good performance of the electronics in the harshest of environmental conditions. A switchable 1 and 5 W transmitter output, together with a very low current drain (25 mA) in sleep mode also makes the TX3600T/D suitable for solar applications.

The UHSC system represents technology at work, with the GME radio hardware providing the RF carrier for that technology.

The TX3600 is locally designed and manufactured at Gladesville NSW and this allows GME to react quickly to user-specific product design and engineering needs.

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