Monday, March 7, 2016

Self powered fraud proof counters.

When Hengstler set about developing a new counter for commercial gas and water metering applications, the company had two main objectives: to make it self-powered to overcome the limitations of both power supply availability and battery-operated devices; and to make it resistant to tampering using magnets that interfere with the mechanical meter register found in conventional counters. The fruit of Hengstler’s research has seen the company introduce its SPC (Self-Powered Counter) to the global market. Simple, innovative and cost effective, SPC comes with ATEX certification and offers class-leading shock and vibration resistance.

The new SPC fluid meter counter from
Hengstler is not only self-powered,
but is resistant to fraudulent tampering
Measuring the rate or volume of gas/fluid flow is obviously essential for utility companies to determine how much gas or water has been consumed by commercial customers and thus determine billing information. Here, utilities turn to the expertise of flow meter suppliers, which in turn rely on accurate providers of counter technologies.

However, where conventional electronics or other circuitry is provided for performing various functions related to gas/fluid measurement, a power supply is required. In some applications, an independent power source may be readily available, but this isn’t always the case, particularly in areas where gas pipelines cross huge expanses of remote terrain, for example. In such locations, a power supply is often impractical or too costly to install. Mains-powered devices also struggle in locations subject to frequent power cuts, or unregulated voltage. The alternative, battery-operated devices, only offer a limited solution due to limitations such as battery life, cost and reliability in harsh environments. Furthermore, in contrast with devices that have stopped due to battery failure or battery removal, the SPC continues counting.

With this in mind, Hengstler developed a fluid meter capable of performing precise and reliable gas/fluid measurements, while also providing the power necessary for those measurements. The compact (38mm diameter housing) SPC makes use of ‘pulse wire’ technology whereby kinetic energy is generated by a moving fluid to provide electrical pulses – the first counter of its type to offer this advantage.

This innovative, self-powering feature also ensures that the meter can be replaced at any time without any loss of metering data, thanks to an in-built memory. The metering value will be displayed automatically when the new register is attached, thus allowing for continuous billing. This is the only likely maintenance task as the Hengstler SPC features only one moving part, the shaft, thus offering near-zero wear and saving on both costs and downtime.

From an anti-fraud perspective, the device makes use of a non-volatile FRAM memory and strong shielding magnets to prevent fraudsters from evading what they owe. In addition, meter volumes can be compared and alarmed at set intervals.

Importantly, each SPC can be configured according to customer communication protocol preferences, including, NAMUR, UART, M BUS, I²C or wireless, for example. Further advantages include ATEX certification, 300g shock resistance, 20g vibration resistance, IP20 protection rating, easy and fast installation, and suitability for all gas/fluid types.

Ultimately, the new Hengstler SPC provides the freedom of counting whenever, wherever and whatever, without external power.

#Hengstler, #PAuto 


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