Managing industrial water and wastewater assets intelligently with analytical software

May 30, 2023
IIoT-based software solutions provide significant benefits for industrial water and wastewater stakeholders by providing reliable monitoring of water quality, flow, pressure, temperature, level and other parameters — along with instrument diagnostic data.

In the not-too-distant past, collecting sufficient process data for operational decision-making was challenging, but the landscape is different today. With the prevalence of smart instrumentation and the recent takeoff of IIoT-enabled devices, most facilities now find themselves overwhelmed with potential sources of data, and plant personnel can struggle to make sense of this information overload. 

Process data can be useful, but only when interpreted to create actionable insights. To generate these insights, companies are increasingly turning to analytical software, such as Endress+Hauser’s Netilion, which collects and evaluates plant instrument data in the cloud. 

This cloud-based analytical software solution provides plant personnel with equipment efficiency and instrument health information so they can make better operational decisions and properly prioritize maintenance. Additionally, these solutions help organizations automate tasks that were previously manual and inefficient, providing productivity gains and continuous reporting in real time. These empower staff to: 

  • Efficiently monitor decentralized processes through comprehensive visualization of critical variables, reducing the frequency of manual equipment inspections. 
  • Access instrument and asset data independent of time and place, with visualization provided via web server capabilities. This allows any device capable of hosting a web browser — such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet — to securely access the data. 
  • Reduce operating costs with preemptive condition monitoring and anomaly detection, and with improved troubleshooting insights to get systems back online quickly in the event of failure. 
  • Analyze and visualize ratios, amounts, thresholds, time series and trends, as well as chemical balances. 
  • Optimize water availability for commercial water treatment facilities by using dependable forecasts of water demand based on weather and other data. 

Where does the data used in analytical software come from? 

With Endress+Hauser instrumentation, online diagnostic data is generated using Heartbeat Technology. In addition to measuring multiple process variables, Heartbeat Technology can detect conditions like failing sensors, corrosion, coating build-up, excess foam, inhomogeneous mediums, suspended bubbles and other parameters undetectable by basic instruments. 

Additionally, Heartbeat Technology-enabled instrumentation can conduct automatic and in-situ device verification, saving records in local instrument storage without the need for any external software or process interruption. Verification not only confirms whether device components comply with original reference values, but it can also detect the presence of systematic faults, which negatively impact the device and processes over time if left unmitigated. 

This verification is traceable, and the results can be documented in compliance with relevant standards and norms, like NAMUR NE 107.  

To transmit this information to an asset management or control system, users can leverage digital instrument protocols, including HART, WirelessHART, Bluetooth, IO-Link and EtherNet/IP. Along with diagnostic data, process information — such as water quantities, limit values, levels, temperature, pressure and physicochemical quality parameters — is also transmitted. 

How do insights improve process efficiency? 

Once this information is ingested by the host system, Netilion analyzes the data and, in turn, provides optimization suggestions, and generates alerts when anomalies or issues arise. This helps facilities increase the ratio of proactive to reactive maintenance, reducing unplanned downtime, along with equipment and human safety hazards. 

For example, instead of waiting to send a notification after a high-pH event occurs, Netilion can leverage past process data to generate an alert when conditions are detected that historically led to this type of issue. This provides plant personnel with additional time to respond, and potentially prevents the incident from occurring. 

Netilion makes process and instrument health information available to plant staff in configurable dashboards, so you can understand operational states at a glance, and adjust accordingly. 

Intelligent technology drives sustainable practices 

IIoT-based software solutions, such as Netilion, provide significant benefits for industrial water and wastewater stakeholders by providing reliable monitoring of water quality, flow, pressure, temperature, level and other parameters — along with instrument diagnostic data. When combined with intelligent diagnostic capabilities, like Heartbeat Technology, cloud-based software can connect all aspects of a water system, providing users with easy access to data and insights from a single source. 

These capabilities enable better tracking of field devices, and more reliable data transfer, recording and archiving. IIoT technology is empowering users to reduce process upsets and downtime, proactively maintain equipment and instrumentation and operate more efficiently. With the heightened importance of clean water in today’s world, these technological advancements are necessary to ensure sustainability far into the future. 

Nick Hanson is the water and wastewater industry marketing manager for Endress+Hauser USA. In this role, he is responsible for strategic market planning and industry outreach events. As part of the Endress+Hauser Global Strategic Industry Group, he acts as the voice of the U.S. market to guide solutions specific to the region. Nick has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado, and over 10 years of experience in the process instrumentation and control industry.


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