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New ABB Ability Verification tool helps pump hire company improve confidence in its flow measurements

03 May 2019

Leading pump hire company overcomes issues with verification of flowmeters used in its packaged pumping systems

ABB’s new digital flowmeter verification tool is helping a pump hire company ensure its customers can count on accurate measurement of pumped flows in their applications. Reducing verification testing to just minutes, the new tool enables Selwood Pumps to quickly and easily verify the accuracy of flowmeters used in its packaged pumping systems between hires.

Selwood, the leading pump rental solutions company in the UK, uses ABB’s WaterMaster flowmeters as part of its packaged pumping solutions that are rented to customers across a wide range of industries. The company carries out a verification of each flow meter both before and after every customer rental to ensure that it is within its original calibrated specification such that the next customer can have confidence that their flows are being accurately measured.

Selwood was originally using ABB’s VeriMaster verification system, which consists of a software package that tests key parameters such as resistance and voltage to check flowmeter sensor and transmitter calibration. The VeriMaster system uses an infra-red scanner which is attached to the flowmeter transmitter and connected to a PC via a USB cable.

“We had used the VeriMaster system for a while and found that it worked well while the transmitters were still new,” explains Carl Whitfield, Electrical Asset & Support Manager for Selwood. “However, wear and tear incurred as a result of our customer’s applications meant that we started having issues keeping the infrared scanner connected to the transmitter, which led to verification tests taking hours rather than minutes.”

Searching for a solution to the scanner problem, Selwood contacted ABB through its supplier, WH Good Automation Ltd, one of ABB’s network of Instrumentation Alliance Partners. By coincidence, ABB had completed work on its new ABB Ability™ digital cloud-based verification tool and was looking for companies to help evaluate it.

In contrast to the VeriMaster-based verification tool, the new ABB Ability™ digital platform offers both an infrared scanner and a HART connection, providing a fast and robust connection for the transfer of data between the flowmeter and the software.

Providing an instant and reliable connection, the new tool has helped Selwood Pumps to reduce the verification testing time for its WaterMaster flowmeters to just a few minutes.

“The new tool is much quicker and easier to connect,” says Whitfield. “Unlike other companies that verify their flowmeters only occasionally, we have a high turnover of testing of our meters and can test up to 50 a month. The new verification method connects instantly, drastically cutting the time we need to spend.”

Selwood conducted beta testing of the new software for three months, making suggestions for enhanced features that would make testing even easier. “We suggested that a facility to search the system’s data for flow meters based on our own fleet numbers would be convenient,” says Whitfield. “ABB responded by updating the software to provide a database feature, which makes it very quick and easy to find details of tests on individual meters.

“Now, I can simply input a particular flow meter ID and see its complete verification history, which our audit team finds very useful.”

The input and recommendations of the pump solutions team at Selwood has influenced the design of the verification package and the database searching feature will form part of the finalized product. Whitfield is to train staff in Bristol to use the new software.

Adds Whitfield: “ABB has said the new software will also be able to verify the MagMaster flow meter eventually, which is useful for us as we have several MagMasters in our hire fleet.”

David Lincoln, ABB’s Measurement and Analytics Digital lead, found that Selwood’s input was very useful in developing the software.

“The software was not far from commercial release, so getting Selwood to test it was very valuable. In using it to help solve Selwood’s verification issues, we gained valuable feedback and additional ideas that helped us to further refine the tool in ways that could help broaden its functionality for other users as well.”

“Carl gave us some very positive feedback and explained that it was very easy to connect to the software. We already thought the tool was good, but this was the confirmation we needed.”

The feedback about the HART connectivity was also useful in that it gave ABB a better appreciation of the additional communication features of the new tool. “We had developed the platform to connect over several different methods,” says Lincoln. “If Selwood had not had these issues, we might not have fully appreciated the potential in the software. It was very helpful that a customer had identified new possibilities that other customers might find useful.”

Paving the way for a data-led future

The new software forms part of the cloud-based ABB Ability™ digital platform. Ultimately, data from any of a user’s installed instruments and analysers will be available to view online via the myABB business portal, which provides a complete list of devices linked to the customer sites they are installed at and recommends services at defined intervals.

“There is a shift in how people see and use information and also in what they expect from manufacturers such as ourselves in terms of support and future product developments,” says Lincoln. “By using the data gathered by our ABB Ability verification tools and optionally uploaded to myABB, we will be able to obtain a clear picture of what is installed and how it is performing. With this information, we can assist customers in a range of areas such as maximizing product lifecycles, better management of spare parts and providing easy access to installation manuals and data sheets.”

For more information, visit www.abb.com/measurement. Alternatively, email enquiries.mp.uk@.gb.abb.com or call 0870 600 6122 ref. ‘ABB Ability Verification suite’.