The new Smart Metering Sensor Board for Libelium’s Waspmote platform enables very high reliability monitoring of 6 parameters for electricity & water supply, logistics and industrial automation.
Libelium, a technology leader in wireless sensor networks, announces a new Smart Metering Sensor board for its award winning Waspmote platform. The new board extends the current features by supporting the measurement of the following key parameters: electric current, water flow, weight of materials and goods, liquid level, distance and displacement of an object. Applications include managing the usage of electricity & water, supply chain management and manufacturing.
The European Union sees the widespread introduction of smart metering as vital in the reduction of energy costs and carbon emissions. The 2009 Electricity Directive will ensure that every household in the EU will be fitted with smart meters by 2022. Smart meters allow energy usage to be precisely monitored and controlled in real time and are equally important for domestic and industrial customers.
Most existing smart metering products are closed systems with limited wireless range making them unsuitable for most industrial uses. David Gascón says, "Combining the new sensor board with Waspmote’s wide range of radios, enables monitoring of electricity and water usage in the most remote locations". A wide choice of ZigBee radio modules is available including, for long range purposes, 868 MHz (for Europe) and 900 MHz (for US). He adds, "Waspmote enables measurement to take place wherever required, for example from garages, basements, remote machinery and even from inside walls".
Industrial systems need to be configurable and very reliable. The modular, open platform is readily configurable to meet the specific needs of a customer. Users only need to buy those boards and sensors that they require for their particular application. Many existing smart meters depend on a mains power supply meaning that if that fails, the meter powers down and is therefore unable to send an alarm. David adds, "With a battery power supply and extremely low current usage, Waspmote is reliably able to alert users". The Waspmote electrical current sensor is suitable for domestic and industrial use covering up to 150 A.
The water flow sensor – capable of measuring flows in pipes from 0.15 to 60 litres/minute – is suitable for measuring water consumption, for detecting leakage in pipes and for monitoring agricultural irrigation.
The term ‘smart metering’ often refers to monitoring the supply of electricity and water; however, it is a much broader technical challenge. Highly reliable smart metering can not only be used for managing utility supplies but also brings benefits to managing liquid storage, inventories such as grain in silos and movement of goods.
For these other applications, the new board can be combined with a rich choice of sensors. Examples of uses include: weighing goods during manufacturing with the load cell sensor; checking liquid levels in a tank with the level sensor; measuring distances to objects with an ultrasound sensor; and measuring object movement with the displacement foil sensor.
Waspmote’s modularity and openness enables Smart Metering to be deployed flexibly by customers. The new versatile board, which is ideal for smaller and medium scale deployments, supports up to six sensors; the customer can select the type and number of sensors to use. For larger scale deployment, Libelium offers a development service to create custom metering boards with one or two sensors.
Earlier this month Wireless Sensing Interest Group (WiSIG) gave the Best Demo Award to Libelium at the Sensing Technology 2010 Exhibition (Birmingham, UK) for the work performed with the Waspmote platform. Waspmote was also chosen by Sensors Magazine as one of the most exciting new products at the Sensors Expo & Conference in Rosemont, Illinois in June 2010.