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Sensus Metering Systems is abandoning brass to use a long-fibre-reinforced polyamide composite for its water meters, making them even stronger and more durable. The new meters have been thoroughly tested and are now being launched in Europe.
(Published on October-November 2005 – JEC Magazine #20)
Metering water in apartment buildings is not without its problems. The stakes involved can be important. The consumer doesn’t want to pay for more water than he has used, and the operator wants accurate meters that are strong and will last a long time. More generally, water conservation and sustainable development issues are equally as important. With all this in mind, Sensus Metering System developed its new 620-C composite-body water meter weighing only half as much as a brass one. “The choice of composite wasn’t just an evolutionary accident. It came out of a reasoned analysis providing user advantages in different ways and for different uses,” explains Serge Franck, Sensus sales director for the Europe-Middle East-Africa region.
The official pre-summer launch came after a period of tests in real conditions on more than 400 meters that a range of customers had installed in several diff e rent European countries (Germany, Great Britain, France and Spain). In all cases, the installers pointed out how easy the meter is to work with, due to its reduced weight and movable end connection that can adapt easily to misaligned pipes.
Resists water corrosion
A semi-crystalline polyamide reinforced with long glass fibres was chosen because it has already proved its merits in the automotive and valve industries. Besides guaranteeing durability, the polyamide material meets the most stringent drinking-water requirements (ACS; WRASS, KTW, DVGW/K270). It resists corrosion from aggressive water and from the chlorinated chemicals used to make the water drinkable. No heavy metals enter into the composition of the composite, which is easily recycled.
Sensus subjected the 620-C meter to an environmental impact study, showing that its entire production cycle, including polymer production and injection, consumes only about one-third as much energy as the brass meter – 45 megajoules, compared to 150! The injection processing temperature is about 280°C, compared to 1 000°C for casting the brass. Injection forming is now a very controlled process, and it produces net shapes that require no additional machining, even the threaded joints. The meter was designed using 3D CAD and FEA. It can withstand 75 bars of static pressure and more than 150,000 pressure shock cycles (water hammer) at more than 100 bars, without damage.