Going with the Flow

Aug. 8, 2018
Michigan services firm utilizes a variety of flowmeter technologies

For 24 years, Martin Control Services—located in Farmington Hills, Mich.—has provided water, storm water and wastewater system flowmeter installation, operation, calibration and preventive maintenance for customers in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. Additional service offerings include engineering support, comprehensive purchasing recommendations and site evaluations. The company uses equipment from select manufacturers to ensure that it is providing its customers with the ideal instrumentation for its given application.

Having served hundreds of clients through the years, Martin Control Services bases its success as a “preferred provider” on its integrity, competence, safety record and the use of equipment that uses innovative technologies. Collected data from Martin Control projects allows its customers to base decisions on accurate data for their regulatory compliance, system modeling, custody transfer billing applications and more. Clients include municipal governments, public utilities, industrial facilities, civil engineering firms and real estate developers. Customers have the ability to receive their instrumentation data and analysis information directly from a link on the firm’s website—a value-added and time saving benefit.

Martin’s vast experience in flow monitoring has taught it that flexibility is a must when it comes to handling the many flow challenges it faces. As a result, its chosen fleet of flowmeters allows it to provide the best fit for any of its customer application requirements. For 24 years, it has performed flow-monitoring tasks with Sigma 910, 920, 940 and 950 flow meters, Sigma samplers and Marsh-McBirney FLO-DARS and FLO-TOTES. And for the last few years, it has begun making the transition to Hach FL900 Series flow loggers, which gives it the flexibility to use its wide-array of existing Sigma, Marsh-McBirney and Hach sensors.

“There’s a lot of history with us and Sigma and Marsh flowmeters,” said Vince Astorino, project engineer with Martin Control Services. “We’ve been using Sigma AV sensors since they came out.”

Now, with Hach’s full suite of sensors and the Hach FL900 Series flow loggers’ plug-and-play sensor port platform, it has the flexibility it needs for inventory efficiency.

In addition, Hach FL900 Series flow loggers were designed with advanced diagnostics that provide onsite verification of flowmeter performance, providing significant time savings as well as advanced signal processing with filtering options that reduce noise in difficult applications. Dynamic logging intervals automatically enable the delivery of high-resolution flow data during high flow periods and battery/data volume conservation during low flow seasons. One logger can accommodate up to four plug-and-play sensors with a choice of sensors/technologies, including:
• FLO-DAR radar velocity/area sensor
• Sigma area/velocity sensor with AV9000
• FLO-TOTE 3 electromagnetic sensor
• US9001 down-looking ultrasonic sensor
• US9003 in-pipe ultrasonic sensor

“The new FL900 loggers are far superior,” said Astorino. “I just think they’re great. The durability of the logger is going to be much stronger and last much longer. Compared to the 910 that can only serve one purpose and do one thing, with the FL900s we can hook up a FLO-DAR and/or the AV9000 with the Sub AV sensor. The technology incorporated into the FL900s is just no comparison to the old meters. The technology just wasn’t available back then.”

The programming set-up and calibration guides make setup much easier than it has ever been, according to Astorino.

“It’s much more advanced and very user-friendly,” he said. “We have new guys who don’t have a lot of experience, and we can sit them down and they can go through it with no problem—that’s a real good thing.”

The ability to have the option of using the FLO-DAR sensor in difficult sites has proven to be a huge advantage for Martin’s flow-monitoring projects due to its noncontact design and “above the flow” installation, which eliminates lost data.

“To be able to change out or use multiple sensors is great,” said Astorino. “Just to be able to swap parts out and change a component [sensor] and then just hook up a new one and you’re good to go. Back with the old black-style AV sensors, the analog sensors, you had to pull them out and bucket test it and get your level calibration correct. Now everything is digital.”

The FL900’s plug-and-play sensor feature will also allow the company to keep its inventory cost down. As an example, if it goes to a site and needs both an AV sensor and a FLO-DAR sensor, it only uses one logger rather than two, since it can support up to four sensors.

Regarding wireless versus nonwireless models of the FL900 logger, Astorino notes that the choice to use one over the other is dependent upon customer’s specific application.

“With our customer mix, we see some customers that want wireless and some that don’t,” he said. “We think that wireless is an excellent feature that works incredibly well, and FSDATA [a website that allows for the management of Hach wireless flowmeter networks] is very beneficial.”

With FSDATA, users have continuous secure access to their real-time flow data. For their nonwireless FL900 flow-monitoring applications, data is downloaded into Flo-Ware and exported into Excel for analysis and reporting.

Hach has worked with Martin Control on many flow projects over the years by supplying flowmeters through purchase or providing its services as a certified installer for Hach’s Data Delivery Services (DDS). To date, it has installed hundreds of Hach flow-monitoring systems in Michigan, including projects in Grand Rapids and Grand Blanc.

Another long-term project it has is with Western Township Utility Authority (WTUA), located in Canton, Mich. For more than 17 years, Martin Control has provided WTUA’s flow-monitoring services, including installations, maintenance, calibrations and the operation of its data acquisition system and other communication equipment.

In earlier years, FLO-TOTE and Sigma 950s and 910s were used at the site. Today, a mix of 39 Hach flowmeters is installed at WTUA, including Sigma AV and FLO-DAR sensors that are installed for a billing custody transfer application. Over the last few years, the meters have been converted to the FL900 Series flow logger with either an AV or FLO-DAR sensor, depending on which sensor will work best for the site.

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