Magmeter helps water company keep-up with demands

Latin America is experiencing an unprecedented population boom, thus requiring increased investments in water and wastewater facilities to keep up with the growth.

By Linda Meyers, Signet Product Manager, GF Piping Systems

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According to various independent studies, the total amount of facility investments will need to increase by a factor of three, from a present day value of $18 billion to $60-$70 billion, to satisfy the consequential increase in water demand. Companhia de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo, or better known as SABESP, provides water and sewage services to a range of residential, commercial, industrial and governmental customers in the City of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and in 367 of the 645 other municipalities in the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

City of Sao Paulo in Brazil
City of Sao Paulo in Brazil

The company also supplies water on a bulk basis to municipalities in the Sao Paulo Metropolitan Region that do not operate water systems.

As a forward thinking company, SABESP is always looking for new and innovative ways to improve their processes. Teaming up with GF Piping Systems (USA), a supplier of pipe, valves, and flow monitoring instrumentation, SABESP tested GF’s new Signet 2552 Metal Magmeter flow sensor at the Presidente Prudente facility, located approximately 400 miles west of Sao Paulo.

Muddy water (right side of photo) feeds into Presidente Prudente Facility which cleans the clay and silt from the water to distribute as drinking water throughout the region.
Muddy water (right side of photo) feeds into Presidente Prudente Facility which cleans the clay and silt from the water to distribute as drinking water throughout the region.

According to Hamilton Cassola, director of NIVETEC Instruments and Controls and distributor of GF Piping System products, "This facility, a municipal drinking water treatment plant, needed a reliable, low maintenance sensor installed in a 6-inch cast iron, cement-lined pipe on the effluent side of the plant." The unit was installed through a ball valve and just downstream from a reliable full bore magmeter.

To meet their requirements, GF Piping Systems offered the newly developed Signet 2552 Metal Magmeter as a test unit.  A six-inch 2552 Magmeter with frequency output was installed and connected to a Signet 8550 Flow Transmitter. 

"The test unit performed exceptionally well, closely matching the full bore sensor readings," says the Management and Operational Development Department Engineers of SABESP - Presidente Prudente. "Because of its reliable readings, the Signet 2552 Metal Magmeter will be installed into our other facilities.”

The engineers also found that the Magmeter required less maintenance and was easier to use compared to the rotors they had been using, which necessitated removing a hot-top paddlewheel when replacement of a pin or rotor was required.    "At the present time, we use many rotor type sensors that sometimes require rotor and pin replacements," explains the SABESP engineers. "With this new insertion magmeter, we expect maintenance-free performance and more consistent and reliable readings."

Due to the need for a low maintenance flow sensor, NIVETEC also agreed to help GF Piping Systems test the Signet 2552 Metal Magmeter at other test sites. "These critical beta sensors tested in Latin America during 2006 taught us that the early prototypes needed improvement, so we went back to the drawing board to insure a robust sensor that could be used for hot-tapping into pressurized pipes up to 300 psi," stated Sergio Guerrero, Signet project engineer, GF Piping Systems. "With the help of our valued customers, we now have a successful product that we are proud to offer to Brazil and the rest of the world!"

The new Signet 2552 Metal Magmeter flow sensor can be used for hot-tapping into pipes with pressures of up to 300 psi.
The new Signet 2552 Metal Magmeter flow sensor can be used for hot-tapping into pipes with pressures of up to 300 psi.

The new 2552 Metal Magmeter was released February 1, 2007, and is expected to be widely used throughout Latin America, including Chile, Columbia and Mexico, as well as globally.

The 2552 is ideal for these type of harsh applications as it features no moving parts to wear or foul and high accuracy sensing without the excessive costs associated with full bore magnetic flow units. With no moving parts to wear, the unit accurately measures flow in fluids containing a high content of particles, solids and fibers, making it an excellent choice for applications with dirty fluids.

The unit’s design permits hot-tap access to the pipe stream, allowing quick and easy installation without system shut-down, significantly reducing overall costs.

Outstanding performance characteristics include a wide dynamic flow range of 0.15 to 33 ft/s (0.05 to 10 m/s) with repeatability of ±0.5% of reading at 25°C, and linearity of ±1% reading.

In Brazil, SABESP is launching the first water-related public-private partnership (PPP) in the country. Its aim is to double the capacity of the Alto Tiete water treatment plant. Total value of the project is $170 million with five additional PPP’s soon to follow. SABESP invests approximately $500 million per year in capital investments.  

"Because GF Piping Systems has such an extensive line of Signet insertion flow sensors, they will be a strong partner with the expected expansions throughout all of Latin America," said Hans Moesl, general manager, George Fischer Ltda, Brazil.

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