Sample Installations

SpikeWatcher™ PA is used by water utilities in a variety of applicaitons. Some example installations are described here.

Fluid System Analyzer

The most common application of SpikeWatcher™ PA is on water or petroleum distribution mains. These units are typically installed to detect transient pressures (water hammer) that can lead to pipe failures.The Fluid Distribution Analyzer application can configure itself for pipe mains, pressure reduction valves, and simple pump stations.

The real-time Live View screen is automatically configured when the analog sensors are enabled. This application assigns each channel to a known sensors type. For a simple pipe main application only channel 1 is enabled. This is dedicated to Pressure. Enabling channels 1 and 2 configures the application for a pressure reduction valve.  Channel 3 is reserved for an electrical current sensor indicating that this is a pump station.

The top graph shows a transient pressure that caused a rapid pressure change from 81.5 PSI to 55.9 PSI that lasted 319 mSec. Zooming in on the graph (bottom graph) shows the actual sampled points during the transient.

Surge Suppression System

Surge Suppression Systems are designed to prevent damage to distribution mains in a water system. They typically consist of one or two pressurized tanks connected to the discharge of a booster pump. When a transient pressure (spike) occurs, the water in the tanks provides a buffer to prevent damage from a vacuum or an excessively high pressure. Electrical power disruptions are one cause of transient pressures. This system is installed at a water treatment plant.

In this application, the SpikeWatcher™ PA unit is an integral part of the control for the Surge Suppression System. It is an OEM installation that uses independent systems and sensors shared with the water treatment plant’s SCADA system. The unit monitors the following:

  • Air Valve Pressure
  • Flow Rate
  • Surge Tank Levels (1 & 2)
  • Surge Tank Pressure
  • SCADA System Pressure

The graphs show the channel readings relative to each other. The Air Valve Pressure is the primary channel that is used for the spike detection. The graph in the upper right shows the transient pressures as red lines. The other graphs show that the pressures in the surge Suppression System are consistent. The SPIKE analysis program lets you see any two channels on the same graph.

Well Pump Station

This is a small pump station at a well site. Depending on the enabled channels, the SpikeWatcher PA samples, records and analyzes the output pressure, the electrical current at two power circuits, the temperature in the control building and the outside air temperature. The spike detection process is typically configured for the output pressure or the electrical current. The power consumption is computed and the number of spike events is tallied.

The real-time Live View screen shows the readings of the sensors overlayed on pictures of the pump station components. The output pressure is the primary channel that is used for spike detection. The Trend graph in the upper right shows the last 120 seconds of measurements of Current 2 relative to its range of interest. The current is cycling between 0 and 15 Amps every 30 seconds. The Summary section in the lower right shows the instantaneous Power of the station as 2.2.kW.

The graphs show the channel readings for a 16 hour period from 4:15 PM to 8:18 AM. The top graph shows the output pressure and a number of small transient pressures (red lines). These occur at irregular intervals throughout the evening and late at night. To take advantage of lower electricity rates at off-peak times, the pumps run later in the evening (bottom graph).

Wastewater Lift Station

This application is used for a large wastewater lift station with multiple pumps. This particular installation has 4 pumps that may be turned on or off independently depending on the level of the common wet well. A SpikeWatcher™ PA unit was used to measure the effect on energy usage when different components were upgraded. It also evaluated the SCADA control strategy. Rather than monitor each pump, the existing SCADA sensors were shared. The electrical current is measured at the main power control for the station.

The real-time Live View  screen shows the performance of the entire station. The Display section shows the number of pumps currently running and the level of the wet well. The enabled channels show the measurements of the wet well sensor, the flow meter, and the total electrical current. The Summary section shows the the number of spike events, pump run time, power consumption, pump efficiency, and fluid velocity. The electrical current is the Primary channel and is used for spike detection. In this case, the spike must exceed a threshold to say that a pump is running. This eliminates small current changes such as turning on lights.

This graph shows the electrical current relative to the wet well level. It shows the effect of the mode of operation of the pumps on the throughput of the station. In the annotated section of the graph on the left, the speed of the pumps was varied using the variable frequency drive. In the section on the right, the pumps were turned ON to a fixed speed and then turned OFF based on the wet well level. The calculations show that continually varying the speed of the pump is more energy efficient in terms of gallons per kWh than turning the pumps ON and OFF.