Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) is an integrated system that utilizes equipment and management systems for information and communications to collect the amount of water used by customers, averaging the data in real-time. AMI often uses radio-based technology to read water meters. This eliminates the use of manual meters.
When discussing AMIs, there are four main components – meter interface unit, sensors, meters, and remotely controlled variables. Flow meters measure the amount of flow, where it is sent to the meter interface unit through meter signaling, to then be converted to a flow value. Information is stored and wirelessly transmitted into the information management system.
Meters are typically combined with sensors – pressure monitors, temperature sensors, or water quality monitors. If controlled remotely, utilities can be shut on or off in a matter of seconds, a helpful tool for on site flow meter testing.
Smart meters are a common type of AMI and can communicate reading back to utilities to process and analyze the data, then communicate it back to customers. This ensures smooth billing processes along with optimal energy and time-based rates.
Ultrasonic flow meters utilize ultrasonic technology to measure fluid velocity flowing throughout the pipes. Transit time technically typically accompanies ultrasonic flow meters, measuring both upstream and downstream signals, with the transmitter processor signaling from sound wave frequencies reflected off gas particles. This process determines the flow rate.
AMI solutions are relatively scalable, fitting into many companies budgeting needs and capacity. They can be fully automated, which makes them efficient in the short and long run. AMIs can be costly upfront but save money as they prevent water loss.