BladeMeter™

The BladeMeter is a major advance in valve technology.
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With the BladeMeter it’s now possible to automatically deliver precise quantities of water at both high and low flow rates in pipelines using only natural pressure (gravity) and solar energy.

The BladeMeter precisely controls and measures flow onto farms, even with low and fluctuating pipeline supply pressure.

Large Diameter

For high-flow gravity irrigation

Pattern Approved

Flow measurement accuracy has been certified in Australia under NMI M 10 for the 2ft BladeMeter model

Sonaray™ Technology

20 transducers across 5 planes send and receive ultrasonic pulses to determine flow rate

Solar-Powered

Solar-charged battery system with 80, 120, 160 watt solar panel options

Remote operation

Can be controlled remotely using SCADA or over cellular networks using SCADAConnect™

Features and Benefits

The BladeMeter precisely controls and measures flow onto farms, even with low and fluctuating pipeline supply pressure. With remote control built-in, it can be remotely operated or pre-set to turn on and off automatically to deliver the right flow rate at the right time, day or night.

Its compact, all-in-one design ensures rapid installation, reliable operation and easy maintenance. Using only natural gravity pressure and solar powered valve actuators, the BladeMeter has an extremely low cost of operation. In addition, its unique actuation mechanism and large diameter reduces head loss, helps to prevent weed fouling and is easy to visually inspect, service and clean.

By using Sonaray™ flow measurement technology it measures accurately at high and very low flow rates, so it has the flexibility to deliver water at rates suited to any crop type and irrigation method.

The BladeMeter is ideal for farm turnouts

  • Connected to hydrostatic (gravity) pressure pipes
  • Connected to open canal supply networks
  • That need to pass a wide range of flow rates
  • Requiring remote operation and accurate metering
  • That need to be fully accessible for easy maintenance

Highlights

  • Large diameter for high flow gravity irrigation
  • Fully submersible
  • Sonaray flow measurement accuracy of ±2.5%**
  • Solar powered
  • SCADA-ready communication system
  • Pattern approved under the NMI M 10 Australian Standard

Control capabilities

The BladeMeter’s built-in software provides the following control options:

Local

Position

Opens to a desired position and stays there

Flow

Maintains a desired flow rate

Network*

Demand

Incorporates knowledge of pipe network dynamics and overall demand to maintain desired flow rates through multiple turnouts

 

* Network operation is only available when used in a pipe network with other BladeMeters as part of a Rubicon Low Energy Pipeline solution.

When used with Rubicon’s Low Energy Pipeline solution, the BladeMeter is able to manage large flows in situations where pressure and elevation head (hydraulic grade line) is frequently below 10m.

Local control pedestal

Each BladeMeter installation includes a robust pedestal that provides power and control to the valve and is a secure, weatherproof housing for electronic components and batteries.

The pedestal also serves as a local user interface. A keypad and LCD display are located under the lockable pedestal lid, allowing farmers to monitor, or operators to control and troubleshoot on-site.

Unique low head loss design

Traditional buttery valves use a circular disc in the flow path to control flow through the conduit. This creates substantial flow disturbance, resulting in head loss, particularly at lower flow rates when the valve is only open by a small amount. Many valves are inherently unstable at lower opening angles, which limits their ability to precisely control flows. The disc also forms an obstruction upon which debris can easily become wedged.

The BladeMeter’s unique dual-plate design provides excellent hydraulic performance, minimizing flow disturbance and maximizing flow capacity. The control plates sit downstream of the flow path and their contoured surfaces promote a smooth and symmetrical flow profile, making it ideal for gravity applications where it is essential to minimize head loss.

Additionally, the dual plate design minimizes the opportunity for weeds and other debris to accumulate and clog the meter.

Traditional valve  (plan view)

Traditional valve designs, such as butterfly valves cause swirling eddies resulting in friction losses and create an obstruction for weeds and other debris to catch on

BladeMeter™ (plan view)

The BladeMeter’s control plates have been designed to minimize head loss by maintaining a uniform flow profile

BladeMeter flow measurement accuracy

The BladeMeter’s Sonaray technology enables it to measure to within ±2.5%.

2’ BladeMeter measured by the Australian Flow Management Group, University of South Australia, March 2019

Technologies

The BladeMeter uses core technologies which are common across TCC™ products:
Sonaray™ flow measurement

The BladeMeter employs Rubicon’s Sonaray cross-path ultrasonic flow measurement technology. Twenty transducers across five planes send and receive ultrasonic pulses to determine velocity by measuring the transit time taken for the pulses to travel between transducers. Cross-path measurement means that the control valve can be located directly downstream from the measurement area without affecting accuracy. It also eliminates the need for flow profile calibrations that are required for single-point, single-path and doppler flow meters. The BladeMeter also has an additional downward-facing transducer to verify that the pipe is completely full. Any air in the top of the pipe prevents signal transmission and reception, triggering an alarm. The BladeMeter’s Sonaray technology enables it to measure to within ±2.5%.

Valve control technology

The BladeMeter’s drive mechanism is a nut and shaft system that uses opposing threads machined into a high grade stainless-steel shaft to provide positive drive for valve opening and closing. Together with integrated digital valve position sensing, the BladeMeter precisely modulates to deliver a required flow rate, even with fluctuating supply pressure.

The flow control plates are driven by a long-life brushless motor and gearbox located within an IP68 rated housing. Rubicon’s SolarDrive™ technology – a purpose-built integrated circuit board – manages valve positioning, solar power regulation, battery charge, fusing and the pedestal keypad interface.

Specifications

General

User interfaceLCD screen
Data interfaceRS232/485, USB, ethernet
Unit of measureMetric/imperial
Data tagsA comprehensive set of tags are available for integration into SCADA systems
Data StorageAll volumetric usage is accumulated and backed up to an SD card. Historical data can be uploaded locally via USB for post processing.
Not full alarmAlarm indicates when meter box is not full
Control Local or remote via SCADA
ElectronicsSolarDrive™ power management and control technology housed in the local control pedestal. Each unit passes a 12hr heat pre-stress and 100% functional test.
Motor12V DC
Gate position256 count magnetic encoder
Seal performance <0.02 litres/second per lineal metre of seal (exceeds the
American and European standards AWWA C513 & DIN 19569)
Actuation options12V DC powered (solar); 120-240V AC powered; mechanical override; electrical override pendant and battery.

Flow measurement

TechniqueCross-path ultrasonic transit-time
Transit-time measurement resolution100 picoseconds
Measurement frequency2.5 seconds
Accuracy±2.5% verified by the Chief Metrologist of the National Measurement Institute of Australia between the flow ranges of 0.4 cfs to 16.3 cfs for the BM-600
Velocity measurement rangeAccuracy listed above is achieved at flow velocities greater than 25mm per second
Sensor quantity32 individual ultrasonic sensors, arranged in four cartridges, across 8 planes of measurement
Calibration method Factory pre-calibrated. Optional ultrasonic level sensor is also internally self-calibrating. Simple in-field verification process.

Water level measurement

TechniqueUltrasonic
Accuracy0.5mm
Resolution0.1mm

Material

FramesExtruded marine grade aluminium
Gate panelsComposite laminate construction using marine grade aluminium sheet bonded to RTM Styrofoam on aluminium extrusion
HardwareStainless-steel
ShaftsStainless steel
SealsEDPM rubber
Wear stripPVC
Pressure ratingRefer to the Dimensions and Maximum Water Level table in data sheet
Water level sensorAnodized aluminium and copolymer acetyl plastic with stainless-steel fittings

Power

Power supply 12V DC self-contained battery charged from solar panel or AC mains power
Solar panel80, 120 or 160 watt polycrystalline silicon solar cell
BatteriesSealed gel lead acid with temperature sensor (~5yr life, provides ~5 days of operation without solar or mains power input) or optional lithium LiFePO4

Communications

ProtocolsDNP3, MDLC, Modbus, PLC-5, SLC500, TCP/IP
Specifications subject to change