Dr. Chana shares his product evolution journey to creating some of the most technologically advanced instruments for flow, pressure and transient monitoring, and leakage management.
Dr. Chana is at heart a problem solver. Over his 35 years in the water industry, some of the leading instrumentation manufacturers have asked him to join their technology teams to develop unique solutions to a newly identified problem. Dr. Chana was drawn to the water industry when the UK water sector was privatized by the late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the late 1980s. This decision led to a surge of innovation as UK water companies were looking for ways to be more efficient (reduce expenses) and account for every drop of water (improve revenue).
A true pioneer in sensor design
As a co-founder of Radcom Technologies, Dr. Chana designed and developed instruments to monitor water flow, pressure, transients and leak noise, as well as sensors to reduce non-revenue water loss with advanced technology. Dr. Chana also designed and developed a PRV controller for pressure management. Each time a customer called, Dr. Chana would dive into the problem and devise a solution that never existed before. The following are a few examples…
In the early 1990s, meter sizing was a big issue in the USA as water pipes are designed for maximum flow into buildings, but many of the buildings at the time were faced with low occupancy. With very low flows, there was not enough water passing through to turn the oversized meters, which meant they were not accounting for all the water usage, and so water suppliers were losing revenue. The only way to properly determine the optimum sized water meter was to capture the actual diurnal flow profile with sufficient granularity and resolution, and for periods of up to 2 weeks or more. Dr. Chana was called in to design a data logger that could capture this type of data from the existing water meters.
At the time, most meters were magnetic with an index on top, so Dr. Chana devised a magnetic sensor that would pick up the rotation of the magnet from outside of the meter and produce a pulse to log every time the magnet went past. However some mechanical meters don’t have any rotating magnets inside, so Dr. Chana also devised an optical sensor that sits on top of the index, so that every time the needle went past, it would generate a pulse to log.
You need a logging interval resolution of at least one minute or less to determine an accurate flow profile, but in some cases, the flow going through an oversized meter would be so low, it only resulted in a rotation or pulse every few minutes – giving the illusion of no flow between logging intervals where no pulse was detected. Dr. Chana also devised a pulse interval time technique, so instead of counting pulses he measured the time between pulses to measure the flow rate with more granularity. Dr. Chana was the pioneer who addressed the issue of meter sizing by designing reliable accurate data loggers that could measure flow on any type of water meter.
Dr. Chana also revolutionized pressure transient loggers in 1996. At the time memory was very expensive and hard to get. So, he used a data compression technique enabling a logger to store a few million readings (at 20 times per second) over a week instead of just tens of thousands. This allowed customers to identify transient activity around the clock.
In 1996 Dr. Chana started work on a project, later known as Soundsense, with Southampton University logging sound and vibration in the hope of improving the rudimentary acoustic leak sensors available on the market at the time. In a light bulb moment, Dr. Chana decided to synchronize time allowing the logger to log the leak noise signals for a multipoint correlation. This technology is still used today.
Taking sensors to new heights
In 2011 Dr. Chana started GCRTech to design new products from a clean slate and with the freedom to solve new problems outside of the restrictions of past product compatibility. With over two decades of knowledge, Dr. Chana started by revolutionizing data loggers – he designed a new architecture to log more details at shorter intervals, allowing customers to measure leakage levels and detect pressure surges without having to use special loggers. The new designs also offered improved battery life that is still market-leading today.
GCRTech standard pressure data logger has the capability to sample data every second and log minimum and maximum samples which gives an indication if there are any pressure surges. The logger can log average flows and also log minimum flows accurately using shorter sample periods and pulse interval time techniques. By using a pulse interval time technique, GCRTech flow loggers provide extremely accurate data with a great level of detail. The pressure transient logger is distinctive in that they only record transient data during the transients, and record background data all the time. This allows portable transients loggers to record pressure surges for weeks and months until the memory is used up. Customers that are able to use cellular loggers can identify surges in near real-time.
GCRTech software is used to configure loggers, download data, and analyze data in graphical form. Using cellular loggers, the data is pulled to an FTP site and securely sent to the water supplier to plug into its SCADA or third-party software suites. This gives water suppliers full control over their data.
Where we are today
Over three decades Dr. Chana’s mastering of Pressurized Pipeline Network Monitoring instrumentation has put GCRTech at the forefront of water sensor technology. Today GCRTech data loggers are known for their in-depth level of detail and high-frequency sampling – giving water suppliers comprehensive and customizable monitoring of their critical water network system parameters. Better data collection algorithms lead to more meaningful data which in turn leads to better decisions to improve water system performance.
Having been in the field for over two decades, GCRTech loggers are built on tried and tested knowledge providing the most accurate data possible with proven reliability and durability. The loggers are easy to use and install with robust casings to protect against the elements.
Dr. Chana’s customer-centric product development remains a key driver in the future of GCRTech solutions. “Now under the MOBILTEX umbrella, we are excited to expand our offering to include cloud-based solutions for customers that want to make this transition on an existing reliable network. MOBILTEX also brings advanced tooling and processes for manufacturing that will allow us to deliver affordable quality instruments to water suppliers across North America and around the world. Together we are better,” concluded Dr. Chana.