ifm full system

As the world’s driest inhabited continent, Australia has always faced challenges in terms of meeting its water consumption needs and the twin challenges of climate change and population growth only compound the country’s inherent water scarcity.

ifm’s IO-Link solution is helping innovative wastewater treatment companies, like Aerofloat, tackle these challenges – saving time, money and water.

Each state and territory has its own regulatory frameworks when it comes to recycling water, with criteria governing wastewater handling including the wastewater source, site constraints, treatment methods and the quality of effluent needed for proposed end-uses of treated water.

Accounting for these factors means there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Senior Applications Engineer at ifm, Grant Smith, said that the challenge for wastewater treatment operations is to run plants effectively along the entire cycle – producing a result that is economical, effective, safe and in line with environmental regulations.

“At ifm, we understand the customers’ needs and focus on offering scalable solutions that are the best fit for the application,” Mr Smith said.

“We offer solutions for water and wastewater treatment plants, including physical hardware. We take a consultative approach, which helps us understand the customers, and we know that every application and project is different.”

Pressure sensor innovation

Mr Smith said ifm has supplied various IO-Link Solution wastewater treatment projects, providing hygienic pressure sensors that continuously detect the tank’s pressure, temperature, level and flow.

IO-Link is a short-distance communications network that connects smart sensors and actuators back to an industrial control system, allowing for richer and more transparent data monitoring.

ifm’s National IoT Business Manager and Digital Strategy Leader, Freddie Coertze, said that where traditional sensors would each have to be wired through separate channels, IOLink has just one channel with all the information about an operation, including variables such as pressure, temperature, level and flow.

“In the past, conversion losses and EMC interference during the analogue signal transmission of the level caused inaccuracies and errors. IO-Link utilises purely digital transmission of the measured values. That way, the exact measured value is transmitted to the controller, eliminating any risk of signal interruption,” Mr Coertze said.

With IO-Link, screened cables and associated grounding and expensive analogue input cards are no longer necessary. Instead, data can be transferred via industry-standard cables.

Fronting the charge

ifm has collaborated with water treatment companies using sensor and control systems for many years. One such enterprise is Aerofloat, an Australian industrial wastewater treatment specialist that ifm has been working with to help provide customers with affordable, Australian-compliant treatment services.

Aerofloat’s General Manager of Engineering and Operations, Michael Anderson, said that the company is committed to innovation and sustainable solutions, with several patented technologies, and an R&D focus.

“Relationships like the one we’ve built with ifm are critical. We’ve done some reliable wastewater treatment plants exclusively fitted out with ifm instruments.”

Mr Anderson said that because ifm has so many instruments in its portfolio, there are always new products that can be added to Aerofloat’s arsenal in servicing its wastewater plants.

“With IO-Link, we can add a new instrument later without upgrading the control panel. We can quickly and efficiently get the instrument into one of the field modules with a digital system.

“Having that scalability, flexibility and ease of add-on functionality is critical. It not only helps us respond to customer demands but also allows us to adjust to regulatory changes within the industry.”

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This sponsored editorial is brought to you by ifm.

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