Schneider Electric manufactures telemetry stations for use in process automation, used extensively in the water industry. There can be dozens of units found at water sites, operating locally and independently or grouped to form a much larger network. The units perform many tasks, including monitoring flow rates in rivers and reservoir levels, feeding information to control rooms, and making significant independent decisions like opening sluice gates.
“Our units are sophisticated and intelligent. They are intelligent enough to analyse the situations they encounter,” said Ian Campbell, Purchasing Manager at Schneider Electric.
The Mk I and Mk II enclosures
A decade ago, Hitaltech worked with Schneider Electric to create the first iteration of the telemetry station. The Hitaltech enclosure housed functions for alarm analysis, archive data logging and local control applications. Then, for isolated and unmanned sites, Hitaltech created the enclosure for a more compact field device that proved especially valuable for small footprint, low-power telemetry applications.
At the time of developing the Mk II station, Schneider Electric performed due diligence to ensure Hitaltech remained the right development partner.
“The suitability of the Hitaltech housing for our application – form and fit – is excellent. We evaluated the key factors against many of Hitaltech’s competitors and found it to be the most suitable,” said Campbell.
Just as important criterium was the suitability of the supplier.
“It’s important to work with a company who support you at every stage, from prototyping into full production. Hitaltech has certainly done that, providing an excellent service throughout the process,” said Campbell.
“You cannot buy this as a standard item – it’s fully customised for our needs,” said Campbell. “The standard housing is machined to our exact specifications to meet individual requirements. The fact that Hitaltech print directly onto the housing means we can reduce the number of stickers on each unit – saving on cost of materials and labour. As most of our markings are permanent, printing is the cheaper and quicker option. Ultimately, this level of customisation has enabled us to reduce costs as well as improve aesthetics.”
“The finished product is very adaptable. It’s DIN-rail-mountable, ergonomically sound, easy to modify and visually pleasing. Delivery deadlines are excellent – nine times out of ten, they beat the delivery deadline provided, even under a lot of pressure. Hitaltech’s delivery performance has allowed us to achieve significant milestones in the release of the product,” said Campbell.
Working with Hitaltech
Ten years after Schneider Electric first started working with Hitaltech, and two years after work began on the Mk II telemetry outstation, the relationship remains as strong as ever.
“I’ve been outsourcing products for over 20 years,” said Campbell. “You know you’ve found a good supplier when they continue to go the extra mile, take the time to build a relationship with you and consistently deliver. After 10 years, they remain as committed to the product as we are. If the product is successful and the cost, design and end product are right, then everybody benefits. That’s the way Hitaltech works and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.”