A Design and Production
A1. Prepatory Actions
Fort he pilot demonstration of the actuator for smart water management applications at industrial scale, the actuator needs to be equipped with interfaces for the communication via the DNP3 protocol and for sensor integration. The main challenge of this action is to integrate the components, providing these features, into the 3S Energy Saving Technology of the actuator in order to work wireless. The DNP3 protocol is quite common in the Anglo-Saxon regions and will be tested by the Dutch pilot customer Oasen Drinkwater. The sensor interface enables to monito several parameters during pilot demonstration that are relevant in the smart water management domain (pressure, velocity, pathogens). For the development of these two kinds of interfaces, the hardware and the software of the actuator need to be redesigned and further components need to be integrated. The result of this action will be a sensor at lab scale providing the necessary features for pilot demonstration, i.e. wireless operation and communication and sensor data processing capabilities.
This action is absolutely necessary to allow remote control and battery-powered application of at least 12 months in order to enable easy retrofitting of existing valves without cabling. Adding the two interfaces to the actuator is necessary to qualify the actuator for application at industrial scale. An interface for sensors that collect data about pressure, flow, and chemical characteristics of the water, will qualify 3S actuators as a fully integrated system for grid operators for remote control and monitoring of the grid. Having a number of single components with questionable interoperability would not serve grid operators’ needs. This action would finally enable to use the actuator for smart water management, allowing automatic and even offline shut offs in relevant application scenarios, e.g. when threshold sensor values are breached.
The current actuator uses the common OPC standard for communication with grid operator’s SCADA system via a server. However many operators call for a lean integration of remote valve automation applications without an additional server requiring effort for installation, monitoring, and maintenance. This can be achieved by using the DNP3 protocol. In some countries such as the Netherlands and the UK DDNP3 is even standard and OPC system would not be accepted at all. To achieve wider market relevance and compatibility whit existing technology by providing a DNP3 interface as alternative to x-active, the actuators need to be equipped with such an interface.
A2. Prepatory Actions
This action focuses on the identification of cost savings potential for the actuators used during the pilot demonstration by (i) redesigning components, (ii) reconsidering material choices, (iii) reducing component diversity be e.g. using standard HW components instead of customized configurations and (iv) optimizing the manufacturing to achieve cost savings and to transfer the manufacturing process from single piece to small series production. The main part of this action will take place simultaneous to the interface development and before the pilot demonstration to be able to test different configurations of actuators. Final adjustments and optimization of design and manufacturing will be accompanying the pilot demonstration to use the obtained feedback for the optimal and most cost-effective configuration.
This action is necessary to reduce production cost by 30 % and to advance the transition from single piece production to small series production. Additionally, the action shall ensure product quality, create trust and convince customers as the target group of municipalities and other public grid operators is very sensitive to these issues.