Auke Water’s parent company Fuda Group have serviced the water industry in China for 20 years constructing large dam gates in their Jiangsu factory. To expand their product line Fuda created Auke Water, a company who would be dedicated to providing intelligent irrigation solutions within China and East Asia. Auke realised that it did not have the technical experience to produce high quality irrigation solutions, although it had sufficient manufacturing experience to produce quality gates.
Auke engaged Intelligent Canal Systems (ICS) to assist with the development of all aspects of their business to ensure they were well positioned to become a leader in the intelligent irrigation space within their target market. Auke’s main targets were:
Produce a suite of standard yet customisable automated water gates to cover the normal range of required operation in an irrigation canal system.
Develop a range of software applications including SCADA and APPs to remotely control and monitor the gates.
Develop scalable and cost effective communication solutions that allow the remote gates to communicated with the data and software servers.
Train their sales and engineering staff to be able to evaluate a clients canal system to ensure the right technical solution is delivered for each client
Develop standard manufacturing, testing, commissioning and support procedures to ensure Auke delivers a quality product each and every time.
After licensing the initial gates designs from a well-known international irrigation gate manufacturer ICS worked with the Auke engineers to produce a range of high quality aluminium gates that are capable of serving all the typical irrigation canal operations. The range of gates includes overshot regulators capable of accurate in channel flow measurement, undershot regulators and metered farm offtakes.
ICS worked with the electrical engineers to develop standard control systems that are installed on the gates to facilitate the automatic operation, telemetry, local user interface, and power supply. The control systems use all commercially available off the shelf hardware and software which is important to ensure the clients can support and maintain their system economically.
ICS specified and demonstrated a standard cloud based SCADA application that Auke can easily scale an incorporate into their projects to meet their clients needs. The SCADA application provides full remote control, monitoring, alarming, historical databasing and trending, GIS data visualisation and reporting in one package. The SCADA package that ICS developed for Auke allows them to easily deploy large scale automation projects with all the SCADA requirements an irrigation client will typically request.
ICS worked with Auke to develop two methods of internet connectivity for their automated gate systems. Two systems were developed so Auke is able to provide their clients with commercial competitive IoT communication systems for both small projects (e.g less than 40 sites) and large projects. Having every site remotely connected to the internet provides Auke and their clients with a massive advantage when it comes to commissioning, support and maintenance. Any updates or troubleshooting that the sites require after installation are easily completed by Aukes engineers without the need to travel to site, which significantly reduces the maintenance cost and reduces downtime.
ICS also specified and demonstrated cloud computing solutions for Auke to provide as part of their standard product offering. Using a cloud server as opposed to a traditional physical server provides Auke and their clients with a number of benefits:
Easy scalability, as the install base of the client grows the specifications of the cloud server can easily be scaled to suit the system.
Easy connectivity for all stake holders including client operators, engineers and supervisors and Auke support engineers.
Low, regular ongoing costs with high reliability and industry best practice security.
Cloud computing also allowed Auke to keep all of their control and monitoring software, communication servers, PLC and remote HMI support files in a secure, centralised and accessible location. This reduces the complexity of operating and maintaining the system post installation as all the associated software and supporting information is located in one location.
Procedures and Training
ICS’s experience with designing and manufacturing high quality aluminium and stainless steel water gates allowed Auke Water to fast track their in-house design and manufacturing capabilities. ICS trained the engineers and factory personnel on the details of quality water gate design including design principals, material selection and manufacturing procedures.
ICS produced a comprehensive training manual and conducted a series of training sessions with Auke’s salesmen and engineers to train the staff on the fundamental and advanced aspects of canal modernisation. The sessions covered a range of topics from canal evaluation, gate selection, control system development and customisation, canal control algorithm specification and commissioning, SCADA development and cloud computing fundamentals. The comprehensive training sessions enabled the Auke staff to better understand their client's needs and to effectively turn those needs into high quality project solutions.
The work done with Auke water demonstrates ICS unique and wide rage of expertise when it comes to irrigation canal modernisation. ICS were able to assist their client with all aspects of their move into the irrigation modernisation space in China. The technical assistance and knowledge transfer ICS have provided to Auke has given Auke a major competitive advantage over their Chinese competitors. Auke are beginning to realise the benefits of this work with increased sales and higher win rates. These commercial benefits are a result of having well trained and informed staff combined with high quality, international standard products that demonstrate the latest industry standard technical capabilities.