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A battery-operated, submersible device for automatic meter reading (AMR) is now available in the UK.

The device simply clips on to the existing water meter in seconds and so requires no modifications or costly re-engineering of the water meter.

Manufactured by Taiwanese company Aquas Smart Water Solutions and available in the UK through sole distributor Mac Solutions, the AQLOG AMR Series uses advanced image-processing and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to provide water companies with a compact, battery-operated, wireless solution for automatic water meter reading.

No separate power cabling is required and the device can be deployed remotely using GPRS or 3G wireless communications technology.

The AMR Series uses technology that has been custom-designed specifically by Sony for Aquas.

A CMOS array imaging module and OCR technology provide quality image capture, as well as offering low noise interference.

The AMR Series can also operate in very low light environments.

Aquas developed specific software algorithms in order to reduce the power consumption, while improving the accuracy of the device.

The AMR also has in-built data-logging capability and alarm management, which means the water company can offer customers online access to their water bill, with the option of viewing their water-usage profile.

For the water companies themselves, the AMR Series offers increased water bill accuracy of up to 10 per cent, as well as reduced water pipeline leakage of up to three per cent, as customers will be able to identify more leaks from their usage profile.

The AQLOG AMR Series is submersible and dustproof to IP68, and can operate in temperatures from -20 to 75C and in extreme-humidity environments.

The device has an integral Modbus interface for data transmission and can store up to 50,000 records over five years – assuming readings are logged every 15 minutes.

Because the AMR Series is completely self-contained, power, networking, sensor and IO cabling are eliminated.

Engineering and infrastructure costs are also minimised.

The AMR Series is easy to install and requires no calibration.

The device is compatible with existing water meters and mounting kits are available for non-standard water meter designs.

Further benefits are low maintenance, minimal operating costs and flexibility, as the device can be transferred quickly and easily to other water meters.

Aside from automatic meter reading, typical applications for the AMR Series include water-flow balance leakage analysis; minimum night flow analysis; water-distribution network modelling, calibration and demand forecasting; and time-dependent water billing.

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