New Web-Enabled System Provides Monitoring, Control

ITT Flowtronex now offers the MCA (Master Control Architecture), a new communication and control system designed to help pumping system operators manage water quality and rising energy costs.

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ITT Flowtronex now offers the MCA (Master Control Architecture), a new communication and control system designed to help pumping system operators manage water quality and rising energy costs. Using Internet connectivity, the system integrates modular and scalable software with pump stations and various water quality products to provide monitoring and reporting capabilities.

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The MCA facilitates browser-based remote monitoring and control of networked water quality and handling equipment.
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The company designs and manufactures a variety of pumping systems, including pre-fabricated pump stations and controls. The web-based MCA system is designed to integrate monitoring and control systems in the distribution network. With scalable software and expandable hardware, it offers a flexible initial purchase configuration which allows for future upgrades, such as the addition of analytical instruments, chemical injection systems, booster pumps or water tower level monitoring.

The MCA can help improve pump station efficiency. By recording and reviewing station operation details, operators can compare predicted flows to actual flows, determine exactly when and how often pumps are brought online, and make informed adjustments to pumping schedules to avoid peak demand penalties. They can operate only those pumps needed to meet demand, shutting down pumps that aren’t needed. At the same time, the MCA helps ensure that pumps are not short-cycled.

The system also can integrate automated leak detection systems to help a city reduce its water and power usage simply by reducing pressure on the system. Comparing off-demand flow rates to predicted values over time gives municipal operators an indication of the condition of their piping system and helps detect leakage.

Flowtronex SmoothFlow control software, tailored specifically for pump station operation and a key component of the MCA, factors in pump capacity, availability and run time to autonomously make intelligent decisions about which pumps to use as flow demand increases and decreases.

A large system with several pumps is a good example: SmoothFlow can operate one pump on a VFD while the rest are started across the line with soft starters or by the VFD. As pressure drops and the system brings on additional pumps, the software can compensate for the increased supply by reducing the output speed of the VFD to “cushion” the start of the additional pump.

Should a large demand suddenly be placed on the system, the pump station reacts by gradually increasing pressure back to the set point. The PID (Proportional-Integral-Derivative) in a typical control system would ramp too quickly when the pressure is far from the set point, thus using excessive energy and shortening equipment life.

The MCA gathers data from a wide range of equipment that can be logged, graphically displayed to show trends, create reports and generate telephone calls on alarm events. It offers automated pump station supervision via a centralized server on a secure Internet connection, polling and logging operational data from the station and all networked devices, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If a problem exists, the server automatically alerts the operator, local service technicians and the Flowtronex technical support center. Maintenance logs and fault prediction help avoid surprise system failures and repairs can be scheduled prior to the event when downtime can be accommodated.

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