The iVapps digitally equipped Smart Cartridge Valve has embedded sensors within the valve which enables water utility operators to measure and manage real-time essential data.

About

Our digitally equipped Smart Cartridge Valve will reduce water losses, reduce water sector energy use, is refurbishable, maintainable and future proof which can be swapped out at full line pressure, without complex road excavations and without interrupting supply, in less than 10 minutes.

Furthermore, embedded sensors within the valve will enable water utility operators to measure in real-time essential asset management parameters such as flow rate, pressure, quality turbidity and detect micro plastics. This will deliver accurate and rich data from the network enabling predictive maintenance, reduced downtime, and improved efficiency.

Meeting the Market Need: Creating the world’s first smart industrial valve
Thanks to the unique patented design of our cartridge valve, we have the ability to place sensors directly into the water flow by integrating them within the valve cartridge. When the sensor requires maintenance or future up grade, it can be removed from the pipeline with no disruption; something that is simply impossible with current technologies. This allows us to cost effectively turn dumb distribution networks into digital intelligent networks able to measure a variety of parameters remotely.

Sensor installations do not even need to be permanent; a ‘dumb’ valve or even a blank cartridge can be placed into a valve body at a location, before being replaced, permanently or temporarily, with a smart valve at a later date. In this way, a small number of smart valves can be moved around the network to provide cost-effective coverage and richer data for analytics.

Our technology offers the following features and benefits to industrial valve users:

1. Low-cost valve replacement: Valves can be replaced for a fraction of the cost of the “total expenditure” (TOTEX) of conventional valves by avoiding or minimising shutdowns and excavations, providing significant savings for users. For example, a single water network operator would potentially save around €12 million p.a. on distribution valve replacement costs alone.
2. Pipeline digitisation: The self-powered Smart Cartridge Valve, equipped with inflow sensors, can report real-time data on network conditions (flow, pressure, temperature, turbidity, pH, etc) and enable instant network control as part of a Smart Cities environment.
3. Preventative maintenance: Valve cartridges can be rapidly exchanged during routine maintenance, meaning critical pipelines have a lower risk of age-related unplanned valve failures.
4. Refurbishable: Unlike conventional valves the smart valve cartridges that are extracted can be refurbished, thereby reducing waste. Distinct from conventional valve installation the valve body remains in the pipeline, this generates no waste during valve replacement. Finally, the cartridge is fully reusable, apart from the perished seals, and has been designed for ease of separation.
5. Affordability for broad market uptake/adoption: The significant total life (TOTEX) savings (see section 1.4) makes the valve highly affordable and excellent value for money. In addition, customers can gradually phase out their old conventional valves and replace with Smart Cartridges thereby not requiring large sums of initial CAPEX.
6. Durable and reliable: Valves will meet all required standards for performance and reliability, with the significant advantage of faster, less disruptive servicing enabling a longer operational life.

Our smart valves will draw power directly from the water pressure through a miniature turbine, backed up by a rechargeable battery, enabling it to operate independently and indefinitely. Where mains power is available, we can include actuators to create a fully autonomous valve (for example, for emergency protection of critical infrastructure).

Key Benefits

By introducing Smart Valve, network operators can:-

• Identify and diagnose valve problems, providing immediate
warning of failure
• Identify and diagnose network problems based on differential
readings between valves.
• Predict valve and network problems through obtaining rich data &
analytics with machine learning.
• Localise pipeline faults to minimise the time it takes to locate a
fault and fix it.
• Easy calibration/maintenance of sensors – no need to shutdown
to maintain.

These measures combined would mean a water distribution network would be able to conduct maintenance with near zero disruption, helping to reduce network water losses and save energy.

Applications

Monitoring – an essential component of network management
Whilst improvements to the valve technology can reduce some of the causes and impacts of leaks, it is necessary to know that a leak has occurred. In most cases, this comes from detecting a significant change in line pressure or from a member of the public spotting the visual impact of a leak. However, smaller leaks underground or in remote areas can go undetected for months or even years, until they become noticeable.

This is a major reason why 46 billion litres of drinking water are lost globally per day.

This situation can be improved by using a range of remote monitors to detect leaks, mainly through ‘listening’ to water flow from the outside of the pipe. Unfortunately, this is a costly process and can only infer, rather than measure, flow. For the same reason, the sensors cannot detect other key metrics such as turbidity or contamination. Existing sensors also struggle to work with polymer pipes, which are increasingly used across Europe. If we are to reduce the loss of possible water, improving the detection of problems within the network is essential.

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