Google+ Badge

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Improving Safety Procedures for Flow Measurement of V-notch Weirs

"In addition to the SatVUE solution minimalising potential safety concerns, the organisation immediately obtained significant improvements to their operational procedures due to improved data visibility."

Typically installed in open channels, the function of a V-notch weir is to determine discharge (flow rate) from a body of water, such as a dam or stream.

The basic principle in determining the flow rate is that the discharge of water is directly related to the water depth above the crotch (bottom) of the V; this distance is called head (h). 

Due to the V-notch design, even small changes in discharge cause a large change in depth allowing more accurate head measurement.
Further calculations are also factored in such as open channel flow rate and the average depth between the streambed and base of the weir crest (P).

Calculating V-notch weir flow measurements

Improving operational efficiency
A large North QLD power station were seeking ways to improve Workplace Health & Safety procedures, and operational efficiency, when it comes to V-notch weir flow monitoring on their dams. 

Previously, the workers had been using boats to access V-notch weirs to manually conduct level measurements in order to calculate flow rates. 

This was deemed to be an unnecessary safety risk due to potential instability when navigating small vessels to obtain manual level measurements. 

It was also very cost-prohibitive due to the number of sites that had to be monitored.

Technology that delivers - remotely!
Investigations by the power station into an automated, more cost-effective and ultimately safer method of obtaining this information lead them to the SatVUE Smart Remote Monitoring Solution. 

By installing a SatVUE and submersible level sensor at one of the V-notch weir locations, level measurements are obtained and transmitted at hourly intervals, via satellite communications. 

With the SatVUE programmed to also calculate the flow rate, this data can be viewed both ‘back at base’ and offsite via a remote web portal.

SatVUE technology - satellite communications ensure reliable remote access

Alert capabilities ensure timely response

Alarms have also been programmed into the SatVUE system enabling email alerts to be sent to site staff should any predetermined should any thresholds be breached.

The Result?
In addition to the SatVUE solution minimalising potential safety concerns, the organisation immediately obtained significant improvements to their operational procedures due to improved data visibility. 

This will ultimately result in more effective and timely responses to any issues that could potentially arise. They are now looking to implement the SatVUE system across multiple sites that they operate from.
Monitor Multiple Sites via a single Remote Web Portal

The Benefits• peace of mind that Workplace OH & S requirements are being met 
• improve operational efficiency and provide greater visibility 
• custody of data and minimisation of data transposition errors 
• remote access from any web-enabled device 
• ease of installation

Download a PDF copy of this case study here

Have other applications? Due to its flexible sensor integration the SatVUE solution is ideal for monitoring.
Water - ground, surface, waste, irrigation, bores, tanks, turkey’s nests, pipelines, channels, streams or dams for levels, quality, evaporation, flow & pressure; seawater for quality, currents & tides. 

Air - for dust, gases, temperature, humidity, pressure, solar radiation, wind speed & direction. 

Soil - for moisture & contaminants. 

Oil, gas, & other fluids - in pipelines and tanks for levels and pumps for status & control & more! 

Want to know more?

For more information on the SatVUE solution, visit

Monday, 10 September 2018

Managing Diesel Particulates through ‘Measured Maintenance’

This best practice guide explores the challenges and health concerns faced by fine particle pollution caused by diesel vehicles, and how these challenges are overcome using the latest technology.

This guide explores:

• issues which necessitate effective management of human exposure to diesel exhaust
• practical strategies to ensure compliance with government and industry regulations
• latest technologies available for diesel particulate analysis

A particular threat to personal safety
All employers have a duty to provide and maintain for employees, as far as practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risks to health.

With the World Health Organisation declaring diesel engine emissions a Class 1 carcinogen, the carcinogenic fumes from diesel engines represent a serious threat to the wellbeing of workers, especially in confined or poorly ventilated areas which are located close to the operation of diesel vehicles or plant.

Several avenues are available to counter this threat. Examples include: filters or traps in the engine exhaust; positively controlled ventilation; and the wearing of personal protection devices.

All the above can be effective when properly implemented. But initial and ongoing costs can be a major hurdle. Some options may create discomfort for workers.

They also have one major drawback, in that they deal only with particulates after they have been generated in the engine.

Extensive recent work in Australia has delivered a very effective and practical alternative. Alone or in concert with other measures, it can greatly reduce levels of particles generated right at the point of combustion inside the engine.

Moreover, the “Measured Maintenance” approach outlined in this document is easily integrated into normal workshop routines and involves minimal upfront investment. It can even deliver useful cost savings, rather than being a drain on the budget.

Setting the scene
Whether walking along the street or driving along the road, everybody recoils at the sight of a diesel vehicle spouting a cloud of black smoke as it passes by.

But the smoke is not merely a visual annoyance – it emphasises a danger that lies in the exhaust of every diesel engine.

Although warnings of environmental hazards may sometimes be influenced by ideological perspective, this is not the case with diesel.

It is an established fact that, unless effectively controlled, diesel exhaust represents a serious threat to human health and well-being.

This guide takes the reader through some fundamental reasons why care must be taken to protect workers, and the population at large, from exposure to excessive levels of this pollutant.

For employers and business managers in a range of industries, it means diligently exercising a duty of care to ensure that the workplace remains a safe place for those employed there, and does not create a hazard for people living close by.

Typical DPM Before Measured Maintenance

One mine's DPM reduction over two years!

The imperative to manage DPM exposure. Why?

An easy question to answer: Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) kills people.

It does this by greatly increasing the risk of lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes and acute asthma for individuals routinely exposed to elevated levels of this highly toxic pollutant.

Employers have a clear obligation to include compliance with published DPM exposure limits in their safe workplace management plan.

Several strategies and technological avenues have evolved over the years, and can deliver the basis for achieving compliance - they are discussed in later sections of this guide.

A factual appreciation of DPM health facts

In 2012 the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared diesel exhaust to be a Group 1 carcinogen (a direct cancer risk to humans).

Recent findings underline the need to minimise exposure to this pollutant.

• in a study of over 12,000 underground mine workers, the WHO found that miners most heavily exposed to diesel equipment exhaust were up to three times more likely to develop lung cancer than those least exposed
• recent extensive research by the UK government concluded that exposure to diesel particulate matter (DPM) was the primary causal factor in the deaths of around 29,000 Britons each year - more than ten times the number of people that die annually in road crashes.
Diesel particles consist predominantly of elemental and organic carbon. As well as being a health hazard in their own right, they also adsorb a large range of vapour phase and gaseous pollutants also present in the exhaust of diesel engines. These pollutants include known carcinogens and mutagens.

Particles are virtually all below one micron (PM1.0), and hence reach the deepest and most sensitive areas of the lungs, where they can do the greatest damage.

The smallest can also migrate from the lungs into the body’s blood system and be carried to the brain and other organs throughout the body.

For many years, researchers have studied not only the health consequences of sample groups, but also the related DPM exposure levels in their workplace.

This work has shown that, although there can never be a truly “safe” exposure level, a figure can be set which is deemed not to exceed health and safety norms. Accordingly, many countries have prescribed numerical DPM exposure limits, either as formal standards or as recommendations.

Averaged over an 8-hour period, limits developed by the various agencies typically range between 0.1 and 0.3 miligrams per cubic meter (mg/m³) for a size range of particles up to 2.5 microns.

These numbers, based on extensive research over many years, emphasise that even quite low concentrations of DPM can present a significant health hazard.

Options for exposure management
As noted in the preface sections of this guide, our focus will be DPM exposure management at sites where diesel plant or equipment is operating. Mining (underground and surface), quarrying, tunnelling, transport terminals, power generation and heavy vehicle maintenance areas are typical examples.

Of course, the most effective way to avoid DPM exposure is to utilise an alternative, zero or low emission power source. While this can be a viable option in some situations, in most it probably is not.

Diesel power is rugged, reliable, long lived, widely available, has a high-energy density and is relatively economical to operate. For these reasons, diesel power will undoubtedly remain with us for a long time.

Over many years, the underground mining industry has progressively implemented a range of measures to improve the quality of air in work areas. Many industrial locations could benefit from an understanding of these initiatives. Below, we will identify the most practical and widely adopted options.

1. Personal protection equipment for individual workers. In some very high-risk situations, there may be no option other than to provide personnel with either breathing equipment or high efficiency filters to surround the nose and mouth, and prevent inhalation of particles.
While necessary in some areas, this equipment can be quite cumbersome, uncomfortable and restrictive when used for extended periods.

1. Controlling ventilation rates to maintain acceptably low DPM levels through dilution. In an underground mine, ventilation can represent a significant proportion of total operating costs, and for this reason a more cost-effective option would be strongly preferred. Also, while the generally remote location of underground mines means that discharging ventilation flow into the atmosphere may be deemed acceptable, in many industrial locations simply venting untreated particles into the local air body would not be an option.
2. Installation of devices to trap particles before they are discharged from the engine’s exhaust system. Fitment of passive, catalytic or regenerating particle filters into the exhaust system of diesel-powered equipment is now a well-established option. Other than the relatively high cost of this technology, there is no technical impediment to DPM installations on non-road vehicles and plant. However, the very high surface and exhaust stream temperatures created during regeneration of some filter types can present a barrier to their use in coal mines.
3. Establishment of effective “measured maintenance” practices to minimise DPM output.
The options outlined above all focus on measures to deal with particles after they have been generated in the engine’s combustion chamber. Measured maintenance simply modifies the way routine maintenance is performed; progressively measuring maintenance effectiveness to significantly reduce, and potentially avoid, the need to apply expensive downstream “fixes”.

Cost-effective Implementation - Using ‘Measured Maintenance’ to cut DPM levels at source
As noted in the previous section, monitoring and managing the mass of particles generated during combustion can greatly reduce the scale of complementary measures to achieve acceptably low concentrations of diesel particulates in the workplace air body.

Traditional scheduled maintenance can ensure that engines continue to deliver a long service life, but deterioration in emissions performance can go undetected.

By integrating simple emission checks into routine maintenance tasks, “Measured Maintenance” provides an avenue to achieve both effective management of engine health and minimisation of harmful emission levels.

Is it practical and effective?

An intensive test program at eight Ausralian coal mines, involving the Australian Coal Industry, NSW Government, the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and other contributors, confirmed the effectiveness of this approach to maintenance.

Over the eight mines, initial reductions in particulate emissions averaged around 35%, with reductions of up to 70% from some individual engines.

Recognising the benefits, State governments now fully support and encourage the adoption of measured maintenance as a tool to minimise worker exposure to harmful diesel particulates.

What does it involve?

As a simple adaptation of normal workshop routines, “Measured Maintenance” adds checking DPM levels from the engine prior to commencing routine maintenance; then again at one or more points in the process to confirm, by measurement, the effectiveness of work done.Measured maintenance allows personnel to:
a) quantify DPM output level relative to pre-established baseline;
b) confirm the effectiveness of specific maintenance steps;
c) at completion of maintenance, confirm DPM level restored to (or near) baseline;
d) identify the need for further work before sign-off.

Clearly, a means for quickly and reliably measuring DPM status is the essential pre-requisite. In the past, this task required a laboratory technician and consumed several hours.

But new technology, utilising a simple, one-button instrument, now allows DPM checks to be performed in just one minute by the person doing the maintenance.

The Stall test is used for plant equipped with a torque converter. Other engines receive a “Free Acceleration” test, which comprises three rapid accelerations to max engine speed, with 15 sec Idle periods between each acceleration.

Preliminary work
Prior to launching a Managed Maintenance program, it is necessary to establish a “baseline signature” for each engine operating in the mine. This is achieved by all new engines to have a Stall or Free Acceleration “signature” test before entering service – test result recorded and stored all existing engines to be restored to “best” emissions level then have “signature” test – test result recorded and stored periodic (typically a 4-week interval) testing to monitor condition and trigger rectification if DPM exceeds the “signature” level by more than 15%
ongoing records to be maintained of all test results, for individual vehicles/plant.
Maintenance operators must also receive “hands-on” training covering the new tests and maintenance procedures.

This is an excerpt from a more complete version of our Best Practice Guide on 'Managing Diesel Particulates using 'Measured Maintenance'  which can be obtained by visiting our website here

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Dominic Casagrande (Megafresh) & Paul Gapes (FreshView)

Ethylene & Airborne Pathogen Removal: Chandler Megafresh chooses Bio Turbo over potassium permanganate pellets

“We’ve seen a 5% GP improvement to our bottom line, and wastage, due to over-ripening or mould infections, is now down to less than 1%, thanks to the Bio Turbo solution!”

Dominic Casagrande
Owner/Operator (Chandler Megafresh)

Chandler Megafresh are a fruit and vegetable retailer located in the eastern suburbs of Brisbane (QLD) which is owned and operated by Fruiterer Dominic Casagrande.

Megafresh recently installed three Bio Turbo systems into their cool rooms of their Chandler store to prolong the shelf-life of their fresh produce, with the aim to improve overall customer satisfaction.

The Bio Turbo technology replaces ethylene removal air purification systems that are pellet based (potassium permanganate).

The Bio Turbo technology provides an added feature over and above the ineffective pellet technology as it also eliminates 99.9% of airborne pathogens which can also impact the quality and retail price of fruit and vegetables.

Keeping the Customers Happy

Casagrande states, “Customer satisfaction is our number one priority, so we only use the latest technologies to improve the quality of our fruit and vegetables, keeping our customers happy”.

However, previously employed technology hadn’t always worked too well.

“I was unhappy with the performance of granular based technologies,” continues Casagrande. “After service and change-out of the old granules, the new granule effectiveness is less than a few weeks and needs to be replaced again. This comes at a cost and does not offer the same protection as the proven Bio Turbo”.

Bio Turbo was then selected as a technology to reduce produce loss by prolonging storage life of fruit and vegetables as it requires minimal operator input and only requires servicing once per year. 

Rapid ROI Results
Compared with before the installation, there has since been a significant reduction of the fruit odour in Megafresh’s cold rooms, but most importantly, waste has also been significantly reduced.

Dominic reports “We’ve seen a 5% GP improvement to our bottom line, and wastage, due to over-ripening or mould infections, is now down to less than 1%, thanks to the Bio Turbo solution!”.

He adds that the difference was more noticeable during the Christmas period, “Our cold rooms were fully loaded with fruits. In previous years, I can remember throwing away whole trays with rotten mangoes. This year, I barely had to pick one or two fruits per tray. The biggest improvements have been in rockmelons, all berries, bananas, kiwifruits, apples, all leaf vegetables, onions, mangoes and stone fruit.” Dominic said.

“I have since opened a new store at Carina and the Bio Turbo was on the top of my equipment purchase list!”.

Download a PDF copy of this case study here

Want to know more?

Contact us today to to find out how Miatech's Bio Turbo product range can assist with your own application.

For this, and more or our post harvest technology solutions, visit 

Effectively Monitoring the Wellbeing of Livestock

Excessive heat load (EHL), or heat stress, can be detrimental to the health and wellbeing of livestock (potentially resulting in death), as well as leading to reduced feed intake, fertility and milk production.

For primary producers this equates to a loss of income and increase in operational costs. Therefore, being forewarned and knowing when to implement effective heat stress management programs, is crucial to a productive livestock industry.

Responding Quickly To Excessive Heat Load Events
Heat stress conditions can change very rapidly. By monitoring relative humidity, wind speed and black globe temperature, Heat Load Index (HLI) and Accumulated Heat Load Unit (AHLU) calculations can be made.

This informs feedlot operators of the real-time heat stress conditions 
experienced by livestock which, in turn, provides an accurate assessment of what effective heat stress management programs may be taken.

The Solution
For this reason, a feedlot operator from Western QLD turned to Pacific Data Systems for a solution.

PDS recommended implementing their SPOKEdata feedlot weather station - a remote 3G monitoring solution that enables up-to-date, crucial HLI / AHLU data to be viewed both ‘back at base’ and offsite via a remote web portal.

Data accessible via remote web portal

Alarms Allow Rapid Response

With added alarm functionality, this provided more visibility of current heat stress conditions, which would allow rapid responses to incidents. 

Logging intervals were programmed for every 5 mins, with alarms included should heat load thresholds be exceeded. 

If these incidents occur, SMS alarms are sent to authorised site contacts, allowing them to make rapid, informed decisions as to whether or not to pre-arranged heat stress management procedures should be initiated.

The Outcome
With a limited budget to work with, PDS were able to implement a solution that more than satisfied the feedlot operator’s requirements, providing peace of mind for the welfare of their valued livestock.

Post-install Benefits
• peace of mind that livestock wellbeing is closely monitored
• complete automation - no manual measurements/calculations
• hardware withstanding harsh conditions
• remote access from any web-enabled device
• ease of installation

Download a PDF copy of this 
case study here

Monday, 27 August 2018


Local Council Seeks to Improve Compliance Obligations at Waste Facility

A local council sought to install a telemetry solution across several of their waste facilities to improve procedures around obtaining water level reports on site.

Each site includes sedimentation dams and leachate pump out-tanks. These require regular monitoring of both water level and water quality to ensure they don’t pass over the spillway and into surrounding waterways during significant rainfall events. Such an ooccurrence would be of significant risk to the local environment. 

The Council sought to implement remote monitoring and control technology to assist with their compliance obligations when it came to these site dams and leachate pump-out tanks. 

By doing so, this would provide certainty around water levels and water quality on site, allowing for an effective and quicker response should any events occur. This would also see an increase in accuracy for both real-time as well as historic reporting. 
The Council was also seeking to install a weather station at the waste facility so that a more accurate correlation could be drawn between rainfall and dam / leachate water levels. In addition to this, having a localised weather station that measures wind speed / direction would assist Council when investigating nuisance complaints relating to dust, odour etc.

Multiple Monitoring Points
In addition to the weather parameters, sensors were deployed at various locations across the site to monitor or control the following: 

• Level - continuous monitoring of the tanks and the sedimentation dam, including multiple SMS/Email alarms at various spillway heights
• Water Quality - pH, EC, Turbidity and DO
• Automate - the open/shut position of the leachate pumps

Multi-point Telemetry Solution
With those monitoring points scattered across the facilities, Pacific Data Systems supplied the Council with a multi-point, combined radio and 3G telemetry system. 

Each sensor deployed in the field was connected to an Olemtech radio transmitter, with each of these transmitting back to a central dataTaker ‘M Series’ logger. The logger included an integrated 3G modem for remote web portal access allowing for improved response times and minimisation of data transposition errors. 

Post-install Benefits
• improved compliance obligations 
• improved response times due to alarm functionality 
• minimisation of data transposition errors due to remote telemetry 
• web portal access for full visibility at all times

Download a PDF copy of this 
case study here

Monday, 13 May 2013

New Product: Pipeline Integrity Testing System

Pacific Data Systems have unveiled their latest in-house designed and manufactured monitoring system.

The PDS Pipeline Integrity Testing System has been developed for conducting leak tests in gas pipelines. The system identifies temperature fluctuations along the length of pipeline which can be a key indication of a leak in the gas pipeline.

Key features

  • Record temperature variations 
  • Portable and rugged
  • Easy-to-use
  • Battery-powered

The system is supplied with
  • Battery-powered logging unit capable of storing up to 128 MB (10,000,000 data points including Date Time Stamp)
  • 3m cable length (longer lengths available)
  • Data transfer: USB Flash drive or Ethernet connection to PC/laptop
  • Optional 3G / satellite communications (additional solar panels may be required)

To find out more about the Pacific Data Systems Pipeline Integrity Testing System, please visit our website - Pipeline Integrity Testing System, or call us on 07 3361 2000. 

Free Safety Guide - Choosing A Workplace Breathalyser

Did you know that not all breathalysers will provide you with the accuracy that is required for workplace alcohol testing?

Some devices on the market are little more than a novelty item. In a Choice review* of a number of “personal breathalysers” available in Australia, they found many of the devices on trial underestimated Breath Alcohol Concentration (BrAC) readings,  falsely indicating the user is under the 0.05 limit.

With inaccuracies like this, you may as well roll the dice to find out if someone is over the limit!

We have put together a series of questions that you should be asking your supplier when choosing a breathalyser to ensure you are not compromising your workplace safety.

Download our free guide to choosing a workplace breathalyser 

or call us on 07 3361 2000 to discuss our range of breath-alcohol detection devices (suitable for law enforcement forces, mining, transport, healthcare etc)