Highland Spring gets brimful

Bottle water company Highland Spring utilises Wood and Douglas' telemetry to monitor its boreholes as Kate O'Flaherty finds out

Highland Spring gets brimful

UK bottled water brand Highland Spring is using advanced telemetry provided by Wood & Douglas for the monitoring and control of its boreholes.

Highland Spring uses the boreholes to collect naturally filtered water from deep beneath the surface of the protected 1,000-hectare catchment area in the Ochil Hills in Perthshire, Scotland.

The bottling plant operates 24/7, producing 90,000 bottles an hour. In total, the Highland Spring Group produces in excess of 350 million litres of water a year. It is essential to the bottling process that the tank farm remains ‘brimful’, as it provides production storage of water for the bottling plant. As such, the firm requires 24/7 monitoring and control on the boreholes, to ensure a continuous flow of high quality water from borehole to tank farm.

Wood & Douglas has provided telemetry monitoring and control of the boreholes since 1992, when an initial deployment of a PACSNET 3000 UHF radio network was established to monitor two boreholes.

It was later further extended to four and the firm now provides Highland Spring with long term telemetry monitoring via UHF radio with OPENNET 6000, as well as remote access and control for 24/7 critical operational support and provision of technician maintenance support with ongoing technical consultation.

Flow rates

Wood & Douglas’ wireless link monitors the SCADA feed from the boreholes located three miles from the bottling plant. Data relating to the flow rate, water level and conductivity is then fed via the base station located in the main plant to a central PC display for process monitoring and control. 

Frank Findlay, water resource manager at Highland Spring, says: ‘Now, instead of us having to go up the hill and physically switch the boreholes on, we can control it from a PC and anyone can go and switch it on.’

The OPENNET 6000 base station technology was introduced in 2009 to offer advanced configuration capability and upgrading of the radio outstations. ‘It is our aspiration to upgrade everything to the 6000 eventually,’ Findlay adds.

Pump monitoring

The Wood & Douglas network provides a range of interfaces over SCADA for data communications and monitoring to observe the condition of the pumps. Operators can login from any internet-connected device to monitor the SCADA feed from the boreholes and initiate control of the pumps with on/off switches at the boreholes via a web interface onto the IP network. 

This enables the management of water flow through the pipeline and of the valve control station at the factory and at the tank farm. Findlay adds: ‘There can be power cuts in the winter if it snows or when it’s cold as it can bring the lines down. We often can’t get up there in the snow but I can monitor on a PC and I have the flexibility to fix it at any time, whether in the office or at home.

‘I can monitor the system from anywhere in the world as long as there is an internet connection,’ Findlay says. ‘It gives me the confidence that I will know if anything goes wrong. It is a fully automated system and allows us huge savings in water, so we can be even more efficient.’

Written by Wireless magazine
Wireless magazine

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