Prospect Control and Thinxtra Automate Dam Asset Monitoring for an Australian Energy Giant with Next Gen IoT Solutions

Prospect Control

Prospect Control are experts at designing and deploying industrial automation and control systems. The firm uses the Internet of Things (IoT) to develop innovative solutions that enhance the operational effectiveness of traditional control systems including programmable logic controllers (PLCs), instrumentation, and electrical systems.

The Opportunity

Create a storage dam instrumentation solution to remotely measure seepage rates and groundwater levels to monitor the structural integrity of dams and meet regulatory compliance requirements.

The IoT Solution

Prospect Control’s dataPoint_VW “always-on” IoT-enabled remote dam monitoring solution, connected to the Thinxtra 0G Network, enables their client to automate dam instrumentation measurements and:

  • Solve problems faster
  • Save time and cost
  • Reduce risk
  • Reduce waste
  • Eliminate human error
  • Improve safety

Large dams and water storage catchments owned and operated by water and other utility providers are high value and often regulated assets. Risk management around dam failure is a critical consideration for regulatory compliance and employee and community safety. A vital element of a dam risk management strategy involves continuous monitoring to anticipate potential failure. Regular data measurements from instrumentation to detect leaks and water seepage in the dam’s structure are critical parts of a storage dam safety management system.

Traditionally, field operators collect data weekly or monthly by performing inspections and taking manual measurements from geotechnical instruments. The process is time-consuming, labour-intensive, and potentially hazardous. Data gathered manually is prone to human error, not always integrated with other data sources and is limited in value due to the lengthy time lapses between measurement cycles.

Prospect Control’s client is a leading Australian integrated essential service provider, delivering gas, electricity, and telecommunications services nationwide to millions of residences and businesses. The company uses a range of power generation assets to create energy, including hydroelectric and thermal power stations supported by dams.

When this client wanted an automated measurement system to improve asset management for several dam water storage locations, the company engaged Prospect Control. The Prospect Control team are engineers with three decades of specialist experience in industrial automation and control systems. The client’s specific requirements included faster, more reliable monitoring of vibrating wire instruments installed around their dams, including piezometers measuring groundwater levels in bores and flow meters to track dam seepage and relief system flow rates.

img-Steve Barker

We chose the Thinxtra 0G Network to connect the devices in this project because of its simplicity, cost and because it was our customer’s preferred IoT connectivity choice. The availability of communications modules for our region enabled rapid development of our proprietary technology. We provisioned each device, set up the back end, turned it on, and it worked. Combined with the solar-powered device and long-life battery, this is a set-and-forget solution. Customers don’t need to manage subscriptions to services like 4G or NB-IOT because the connection is truly plug and play. The 0G Network also delivers the lowest cost connectivity to cover long-range distances compared with other network solutions.

Steve Barker,
Director of Prospect Control

The Partnership Solution

Prospect Control designed and deployed their dataPoint_VW solution to remotely monitor piezometers and seepage rate flow meters in five months. Designed and manufactured in Australia, the innovative solution features IoT-enabled devices connected to piezometers inside bores and vibrating wire flow meters in seepage wells. Each device runs unattended, powered by solar, and backed by long-life battery storage.

Data measurements are transmitted from each device to a central data management platform by the Thinxtra 0G Network, powered by Sigfox technology, every 30 or 240 minutes, depending on the specific requirements. The Thinxtra 0G Network is the public, low-cost, low-power wide-area network dedicated to connecting Internet of Things (IoT) devices over long distances.

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dataPoint_VW automates bore piezometer readings in the field

Benefits of IoT-enabled Real-Time Dam Asset Monitoring

The benefits to the client from using Prospect Control’s Data Point VW “always-on” IoT-enabled remote dam monitoring solution are numerous. Demonstrating and using best practice asset management ensures they fulfil their risk management and compliance requirements 24×7. Reliable, fast data capture and reporting let their field operators rapidly detect and fix problems. Automated remote data monitoring protects field operators from manually measuring data points during difficult and potentially hazardous weather conditions.

The company saves time and cost by reducing manual tasks, which frees field operators to perform other value-added services. Issues are detected early, which is critical for power generation and to manage Australia’s precious water and energy resources. The customer also correlates data captured by the dataPoint_VW solution with other information, such as historical information and weather data, to gain further insights and improve asset management.

Barker says, “In the industrial sector, the IoT augments automation and control systems powerfully. At Prospect Control, we believe true customer value comes from data-based insights. The IoT offers entirely new opportunities to capture and share data more quickly and more easily than ever. The ease-of-use, reach, and reliability of the Thinxtra 0G Network lets us deploy and connect IoT solutions in minutes. As soon as our devices are connected, our customers are in a position to create insights that help improve their operations in so many ways.”

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Data is streamed to Prospect’s Analytics Platform via the Thinxtra 0G Network
img-Loïc Barancourt

Thinxtra is committed to partnering and supporting specialist firms like Prospect Control. The benefits delivered by Prospect Control on this dam monitoring asset management project show how fit-for-purpose IoT solutions create real customer value. In the industrial sector, the IoT unlocks incredible business value when it’s possible to reliably connect assets at low, fixed fees with the Thinxtra 0G Network.

Loic Barancourt,
Founder of Thinxtra

logo-Prospect Control

About Prospect Control

At Prospect Control, we leverage the best modern industrial control technology in the market. Channelling our innovative spirit through industrial Internet of Things (IoT) solutions and decades of traditional control systems and electrical engineering, we’re delivering world class solutions and outcomes for clients in the power, water, and manufacturing sectors.

Contact Prospect Control for more information.

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