Digital Twins / Smart Networks

The world is facing a significant problem with an ageing infrastructure and it is not feasible to replace water supply mains in the timescales required to reduce leakage to acceptable levels. Whilst current leak detection approaches are successful, they are time consuming, labour intensive and need to be repeated. Also, as network leaks are repaired and distribution systems ‘tighten’, the systems are inherently more prone to bursts as there is less ‘natural relief’ from pressure surges i.e. reducing leakage causes bursts. A different approach has been developed and proven by the Hydraulic Analysis Group to identify leaks, extend pipeline life expectancy and reduce the risk of future bursts and leaks.
Hydraulic Analysis have combined our expertise in pipeline analysis with our proven transient modelling software to develop a real time modelling capability using measurements that are increasingly available. Real time software must be capable of modelling rapid time steps to prevent errors and maintain accuracy. Our approach ensures the pressure surges caused by an event (pump or valve operation) have been tested on a transient computer simulator before the operator action is triggered. This is especially important when reconfiguring a network following a disruption to supply to prevent further failures. It is all about moving from a predominantly manual reactive operation and maintenance system to a proactive, predictive and automated performance system. This will improve customer experience, minimise costs and maximise performance.
We provide a real time network management system which is easy to visualise and operate in both online and offline mode for rapid asset health assessment. It is an effective and user friendly simulation tool with the capability to assist with critical decision making. We work with organisations to implement, develop, train and support network teams to maximise system performance and to integrate the outputs into any existing system as appropriate. Pressures, flows etc. can be easily visualised through colour coding pipes and nodes. Real time models will show areas where leakage already exists by identifying discrepancies between the model and real time data.

Why is our product innovative when compared to alternatives?

Our product differs from other market products as it is a transient simulator based upon our proven surge analysis software which has successfully been used on over 8,000 past pipeline surge studies. The simulator undertakes 1000’s of calculations every second and will provide a solution to any given network operating condition by modelling the changes in pressure passing through the network at the local (current) wavespeed. The technology has been taken from our oil and gas business and is proven. We have many examples of working real time oil and gas pipeline network simulators in the UK and China.

Benefits of Real Time Simulation

• Drives an understanding of the network configuration.

• Provides an instant overview of the hydraulic behaviour of the network to help correct :-

• Over/under pressurisation
• Non-compliance of water quality standards

• Can quickly identify network anomalies for :-

• Reducing leakage levels
• Identifying blockages
• Identifying unexpected operations

• Predicts what will happen next if current conditions are maintained.

• Allows ‘what-if’ considerations for current and future designs.

• Allows optimisation (operational alternatives) to be considered against a set of objectives.

Where does real time simulation fit into current systems?

A real time system allows integration of all available system data into a single clear format – a calibrated hydraulic model of the network that gives a clear and unambiguous picture of the pipeline system in its current state:

• All facilities included – tanks, pipes, pumps, valves and users.

• Breaks all barriers between non-infra (treatment / process) and infra (distribution).

• Clearly shows the flow entering the network from the works and how this will change in the future so existing and future treatment issues can be resolved.

• It forces analysis of network understanding and forces a return to correct the GIS data.

• Leakage and burst alerts.

• It provides a virtual measurement of any property anywhere on the network.

• It allows visualisation of network data in a completely unique manner with profiles, trends etc. of flow, pressure, quality.

• It monitors where water comes from and how it moves around a network.

• It monitors water age and can see if water is residing too long in a network (quality issues).

• It monitors concentrations of components such as chlorine and fluoride and the interaction between them.

• Addresses goal of utility companies in terms of using SMART data and reducing leakage.

• Staged implementation based upon current available data, even if existing data gathering rates are slow.

• Does not replace any existing systems but enhances and complements current SCADA and network management tools.