By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
In an effort to better understand their product, EBCI Water & Sewer employees toured a factory in Denmark last month. The Kamstrup Corporation, which makes the water meters currently being used in Cherokee, invited program members to their site in Stilling, Denmark for a collaborative outreach session.
“Where they are new to the U.S., we were the first ones to come over and view, and we took it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Ethan Arch, EBCI Water & Sewer field technician supervisor. “We sat down and went through the AMI (automated metering infrastructure) system, and they showed some of the services we can provide our customers with the new system we’re going to be getting.”
Arch said the team from Cherokee viewed the entire factory. “They make BTU meters,” Arch noted. “They make electric meters. They make everything. While viewing the factory, the Water & Sewer staff watched water meters being made from the ground up. Once the process starts, robots are used to construct each meter. Kamstrup takes pictures and records every step of the build for each water meter. They store it so if you have a problem with a meter, they can go back and see at what step it failed, but they try to catch it before it gets to that point. It’s very rare that we get one that fails.”
He added, “Once that process starts, they don’t touch human hands until they are taken out to be installed. So, they’re sanitized and everything.”
Arch said the way of thinking within the Kamstrup Corporation and Denmark in general made an impression on him. “Every project that they do, their way of thinking is ‘what’s the outcome going to be in the next 20 years?’ Take the city water; they don’t treat their water. They don’t disinfect it with chlorine. They poured their energy into taking care of their aquifers so the water that comes out is pure.”
He said Kamstrup originally made BTU meters for heating and air and added water meters. “Their heating and air for every building there is a utility. They have a big, central factory that pumps hot water everywhere, and that’s how they heat their buildings and cool their buildings. They use trash that’s accumulated to run the plant. They can’t keep up with the demand, so, they have trash imported from other parts of Europe to feed their plants for their heating and air.”
Arch said their team met with engineers at Kamstrup and received training on the AMI system. “This technology will be coming soon to our Water & Sewer utility. While at the Kamstrup factory, we learned that the AMI will make our budget planning more predictable, prioritize functionality over complex processes, and improve the way our customers view water by empowering them to catch leaks on their properties to minimize subsequent damage.”
To learn more about Kamstrup meters, view this One Feather article from last fall: https://www.theonefeather.com/2016/12/new-water-meters-coming-to-cherokee/