Pulsar Process Measurement Ltd

Quantum - the last word in pump control


Source: Pulsar Process Measurement Ltd

Pulsar’s Quantum non-contacting ultrasonic pump controller is the most sophisticated self-contained control system yet developed for use in sites under risk of flooding and makes available to the operating company a level of functionality previously only available using a specially programmed PLC. Key to the success of the unit is its ability to accurately calculate the ‘time to spill’, avoid periods of high energy cost, monitor pumping performance, report on pump failure and Quantum will even automatically re-set pumps that have failed or tripped out!

Quantum is a non-contacting ultrasonic system consisting of a transducer positioned above a waste water wet well and a fascia mounted controller. All pump station controllers will provide alarms for a high level, and are capable of switching on and off pumps to control the liquid level. A few will also provide alarms on the rate of change of level, so managers can react to a changing situation. Quantum goes a step further. Quantum can be programmed to provide an alarm based on the time remaining before the station spills over. This is vital for water companies, who face the risk of prosecution if a station pollutes the local environment.

The likelihood of ‘a spill’ depends both on the rate of change of the level and the operating efficiency of the pumps, which can be affected by failure, blockage or underperformance. If a pump has failed, the rate of change may not be important, because the level may well creep up slowly to reach a dangerous level. More important is to know how much time remains before a critical high level, or an overspill level, is reached. Quantum takes all the inflow and outflow rates of the station together and calculates the time remaining before a spill, warning in plenty of time for the site operators to take remedial action.

In addition to the ‘time to spill’ feature, Quantum is also a fully-featured pump controller, using Pulsar’s unique non-contacting ultrasonic technology including DATEM digital echo discrimination to provide rock-solid performance and sophisticated level management. Quantum also includes Pulsar’s Tariffguard software, designed to protect the water company from the worst of the high electricity prices. Most electricity suppliers will have occasional TRIAD periods, where electricity costs rocket for a period of hours, and it is clearly an advantage to minimise energy usage during these periods. The Tariffguard software built into Pulsar’s Quantum (and Zenith) units monitors inflow and outflow rates and optionally rain gauges, overriding the normal on/off levels of the control unit to keep pump usage to an absolute minimum during the TRIAD period, for example pumping the well as dry as possible just before the start of the period and allowing the level to rise above the normal start point of the pumps wherever safe to do so.

Quantum includes ten relays (digital outputs) and seven digital inputs. The digital inputs are used to detect the status of the pumps, and some of the digital outputs are dedicated to the trip circuit of the pumps. Quantum uses the digital outputs to restart tripped pumps, a major saving in time for the maintenance staff who often have to attend site simply to restart tripped equipment. Quantum will make three attempts to restart a tripped pump, then wait ten minutes before trying again, then a further ten minutes before making three final efforts to restart the pumps. If Quantum has not been able to restart the pump after half an hour, or if the pump trips six times within a twenty-four hour period, then an alarm will warn site management of a possible problem.

The Quantum controller also features RS485 digital communications (Modbus & optional Profibus DPV 0 & DPV 1) allowing the status to be monitored and the unit to be programmed remotely. Additionally it has a large on board data-logging ability as standard.

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