Smart Valve Challenge

Added 13 Feb 2018 by Siraj Tahir – Venturi

popularity score: 30

Thames Water is interested in improving network management and to reduce leakage with use of smart valves.

Thames Water’s drinking water pipe network of some 20,000 miles is divided up and controlled using some 350,000 manual valves. Of these, 16,000 are normally closed to section off zones supplied from different local reservoirs and those zones are further sub-divided into areas where the use of water can be monitored to ensure leaks on the network can be more efficiently monitored, localised and repaired.

The Problem…
Thames does monitor the status of 4,000 of the highest priority using a system called Wizkey which was developed 20 years ago. However, this system is no longer supported by the manufacturer and is on track to be completely obsolete in the next few years. Furthermore, the status is not recorded in real time. To replace this Thames would ultimately like a system which could be expanded to cover all 350,000 valves but initially 16,000 used to sub-divide the network; guiding and helping our field operatives in real time. This would ensure the network is efficiently managed and risks of surge related bursts and other problems caused by unauthorised and poorly implemented valve operations are minimised.

We are looking to establish for each valve: its current status, the direction to open the valve, number of turns to fully open or close and advise operators on the best rate to turn the valve. Other useful features could include non-intrusive sensors to identify if the valve is stiff in operation and in need of servicing; knowing when the valve is close to and whether it’s still letting water pass by when it’s thought to be shut, and finally any solution should help reduce water hammer when operating valves. All the changes to a valves status and other useful information gathered would be recorded and stored to form part of the operational history of a given valve. Thames has likely solutions for sharing collected digital information within existing on-line GIS systems, what we need is credible and scalable solutions that can collect the data.

The Challenge…
To identify credible solutions we would, in the first instance like to test prototype or market ready equipment on training and experimental facilities at our operational valve training rig site in Kempton Park, London. Do you know or have of any prototypes or developed equipment that can be tested by us? We are looking to conduct trials at the end of January to February 2018 and benchmark them against our existing Wizkey system.

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