A precise, efficient water metering system is key for any industrial application that requires water flow. This is especially important for concrete batch plants because consistent and accurate water batching helps create a quality, durable final product. While concrete batch plants can and do operate year-round, spring is typically the beginning of the busy season ahead of a summer surge in productivity, and concrete batch plants need to ensure the component parts of their industrial water meters are functioning at peak performance.
How do concrete batch plants evaluate their water flow meters to identify areas to troubleshoot? And, perhaps more importantly, how do batch plant operators ready their water meters for spring and beyond? We answer these questions and more to help you optimize the efficiency of your water meter.
how does an industrial water meter help with accurate batching?
Concrete batching is based on precise measurements, timing, and repeatability. If water, admixtures, or other chemicals are not properly added to the concrete, the workability of the final product suffers and can result in reduced durability, lifespan, and visual appeal — or, worse, non-compliance with state or federal Department of Transportation regulations.
This is where an industrial water metering system — specifically a volumetric meter solution, which is most commonly used in concrete batching — provides timely, accurate, and dependable flow data and control to ensure the proper amount of liquid is dispensed for a final product with superior workability, strength, durability, and surface finish.
These benefits aside, water metering systems are also critical in ensuring compliance with strict DOT guidelines around the durability of concrete and the proportions of admixtures or chemicals used in concrete batching relative to the environmental impact. This is especially important for batch plants that work across state lines or in a number of different municipalities.
what are the main components of an industrial water meter
Before we discuss how to properly service your water meter to ensure optimum performance, let’s quickly break down the main components of a volumetric water meter for a better understanding of how each element works in conjunction with the others to help create a quality concrete product.
There are three main components of a volumetric industrial turbo water meter:
- Rotor and spindle assembly: Mounted inside the chamber of the water meter, the rotor and spindle assembly is the primary mechanism that helps measure the flow of liquid into a concrete batch. The rotor moves on the spindle with proportional velocity to the fluid moving through the meter, The rotation of a four-pole magnet mounted on the back of the rotor causes electronic pulses to be generated within the stem of the transmitter. These signals are sent to a scaler board inside the transmitter that determines the appropriate volume of liquid to pass through the meter.
Rotor and spindle assembly
- Gaskets: Several gaskets are secured at various connection points throughout the water meter chamber to prevent costly, inefficient leaks and reduce the likelihood of damage to the electronic components of the meter or accessories.
Meter head assembly with gasket
- Scaler board: As the nerve center of an industrial water meter, the scaler board is the primary control mechanism for regulating the flow of water based on electronic impulses created by the rotor and spindle assembly. In addition, the scaler board also provides important flow data to help users make metering adjustments based on need. Because it is programmable, the scaler board is able to compensate for different rates of rotor rotation.
what to look for when servicing your industrial water meter
We suggest a 3-point service check of your metering systems. It’s best practice to first inspect the rotor and spindle assembly, as the constant rotation during operation can result in wear or breakdown before the other components. In addition, a worn rotor or spindle will more significantly hamper meter efficiency because the assembly is the primary driver of how much fluid is passed through the meter.
The rotor and spindle assembly should be replaced if determined to be beyond its useful life, and the Badger Meter Exchange Program from IPEC can help concrete batch plants exchange old or failing meters for refurbished models, or discounts on new meters purchased.
Because of their importance to optimized efficiency, the meter’s gaskets are also prone to wear over time and extended use, which is particularly important for concrete batch plants given increased levels of productivity during the warmer months. Leaks within the meter chamber due to failing gaskets can result in inaccurate dosing, as well as unnecessary energy or water consumption and increased energy costs. Much like the rotor and spindle assembly, complete replacement is key for meter performance.
Once rotor and spindle replacement is complete, it’s crucial to recalibrate your meter’s scaler board. It’s important to ensure the new rotor and spindle assembly are operating in lock-step with the scaler board for maximum efficiency. A simple calibration test as outlined in the video below will indicate whether the meter is still reading and batching water accurately.
If the calibration test does verify inaccurate or inefficient dosing, you can create a permanent workaround by adjusting the scale factor to compensate for variances in rotor rotation.
With IPEC and Badger Meter, concrete batch plants can create precise, consistent water metering to ensure concrete products of superior quality and durability. IPEC’s expertise in custom metering solutions and service paired with Badger’s field-proven products give concrete batch plants the power and flexibility to respond to the ever-changing nature of the concrete industry. In addition, IPEC’s Badger Meter Exchange Program gives batch plants the necessary flexibility to upgrade their metering solutions as needed by offering discounts on new meters, and refurbished meters to replace their old or failing Badger meter solutions.
Learn more about how IPEC can help you achieve unparalleled accuracy and efficiency with your water meter solutions.