ONE DROP AT A TIME
With much of Australia in the grip of the most serious drought in modern memory, technology promoting the efficient consumption of our most essential resource is most welcome. A key part of any water management strategy includes a precise and consistent method of monitoring water consumption.
Monatec is a Melbourne-based company that manufactures a range of battery-powered remote-monitoring products. In 2005, the company introduced the Monita R Series – a high capacity GSM/GPRS data logger and alarm reporting device, which enables water meter logging for real-time monitoring of water usage.
The product offers a reliable and efficient method of reporting for a variety of applications, including domestic water, irrigation and gas meters. It is very much designed for the modern communication age, allowing consumers to obtain meter readings via email or SMS.
“With its rugged and water-proof design, the Monita R series ideally suits water applications of all sorts and various outdoor maintenance applications,” says Monatec director, Andrew Meehan.
According to Meehan, the handful of existing data loggers on the market are all driven by external power sources. He saw an opening in the market for a stand-alone, battery operated logging device.
“The tricky part was getting the power consumption low enough so there could be a ten year battery life,” says Meehan. “Getting the GSM engine to run on low power supply was a challenge to say the least.” Indeed, the product was three years in development.
It’s an investment that is now paying off. Siemens is currently selling the product Australia-wide, and major sales have started rolling in following interest from a number of water utilities. Various local councils across the country have also started using them on resource-logging infrastructure.
EVERY LAST DROP TO MARKET
Innovation and technology are not usually considered synonymous with the wine industry. Even the savviest vintner is proud to consider the production of vino more art than science.
Having spent many years in the industry, Jim Guszlovan is all too familiar with the traditionalist approach to wine manufacturing. It lead him to the conclusion that there had to be a better way of filling and emptying wine barrels. The end result is the Rapidfil system.
In keeping with centuries of tradition, filling and emptying wine barrels is still largely presided over by a manual operator, who regulates the flow into and out of the barrel. It is not only a slow process but often results in overflows, effluent loading and oxidation.
Rapidfil’s system slots directly into existing wine systems and is easy to operate. It allows for barrels to be filled via feed pump or by gravity without any modifications. Crucially, Rapidfil regulates the flow rate, which slows just before shutoff providing a precise fill without wastage.
Rapidfil also allows for the cutback in labour cost. “With the manual process, one person fills about 15 barrels an hour whereas Rapidfil can do up to 60 barrels an hour,” says Guszlovan. The technology also overcomes the yield disadvantage of manual emptying, which tends to leave one to two litres in the barrel.
According to Guszlovan, Rapidfil’s advantages are twofold. “From an economic perspective there is a reduction in wastage, which means there is more wine to sell. From a winemaking perspective there is a significant reduction in the pickup of dissolved oxygen, which is a huge incentive to wine producers.”
Rapidfil has evolved as a product since its introduction five years ago. Currently almost half its sales come from the US.
INNOVATION @ 257 – WHAT’S NEW?
This Centre, supporting new technologies and products to market, has expanded to include additional service providers and the community now includes:
- INNOVIC – www.innovic.com.au
- Information City – www.mentre.com.au
- InnovationXchange (IXC) Australia – www.ixc.com.au
- Australian Institute for Commercialisation – www.ausicom.com
Located at Level 1, 257 Collins Street, Melbourne this hub is also the home of the Australian Technology Showcase in Victoria and we welcome all visitors seeking information in starting a new business or commercialising a new idea.
Two For The Road editorial is sponsored by the Victorian Government.