Distribution Flowmeters

Hello Everyone, wanted to reach out to the community and see if there is anyone who has done or doing work with distribution flowmeters.
We have a customer who operates water pumping sites for irrigating farms which are in Agro-Parks (i.e a large farming community with multiple farmers, each with their own plot of land). Each farming plot has a flowmeter for billing purposes. I am seeking to identify flowmeter options for this type of solution, which may have already been used with Ignition. Information on the manufacturer/model of the meter used, the communication architecture utilized, and overall experience would be appreciated.

@dcamp @dcamp1

Does work in oil fields using MQTT, he may have some advice


Does work on distributed systems using ModbusTCP, he may have some advice

Off the top of my head you may look into HART from the likes of Endress & Hauser etc or possibly DNP3

We are using Sitrans F US Sonoflo for raw intake also treated water. They have native HART. For each one we have a HART-ModbusRTU gateway. They go to the RS485 port of RUT955 who acts as a ModbusRTU-ModbusTCP gateway as well as 4G router.Had some issues at start now they are pretty stable. After that, just out of curiosity looked for other options but did not find anything less expensive.

I think there are many options but it is hard to know without knowing the pipe size, type, flowrate, pressure, etc. Almost all meters have requirements for up and downstream footage to get accurate readings. In your world, accurate may not be as stringent or maybe even more stringent than others. Turbines, ultrasonic, venturi nozzles, PD, etc. There are many different methods.

I would probably look at trying to use a turbine meter with a Cameron MC3 head. You can poll the mc3 via modbus over 485. I am sure there are some cheaper options out there, but the mc3 is widely used in the oil and gas industry.

I work as a chief operator in the water industry but also love process control… there are a ton of ways to do this but it all comes down to accuracy for billing… most billing applications are directly read from the meter register via manual read, radio communication, and cellular communication. These will give you the most accurate measurement with the only error coming from the meter… I would shoot for a 0.02% accuracy mag meter… brands such as Krohne, Neptune, Sensus, Badger, Rosemount are big names in the water industry.

Second best option would be to use a meter with pulse output capability using a PLC with a totalizer in the logic. Each pulse represents a known quantity of water.

Worst option would be to totalize a 4-20ma signal. I’ve seen 8% to 20% errors.

There is also a company called SCADAMETRICS (ether meter) that supposedly can take a direct read from a meter and transfer to PLC. This is handy because all the meter manufacturers use different proprietary protocols to read the register directly.

Our systems run as follows Flow meter > PLC > Private Cellular modem Remote> Cellular modem hub >Ignition

This makes for easy deployment for a network of remote devices with one cellular hub.


I can testify that the ScadaMetrics Ethermeter is an excellent choice to get flowmeter data from the odd protocols like Sensus into a PLC readable format. You can set it up to respond like an Allen Bradley PLC (DF1, DF1 Radio protocol, DF1 over Ethernet using N7:x type addressing) or with Modbus RTU and TCP support. They also have good detailed settings for the serial port that make them suitable for a direct connection to radio modems where you might need to tweak response delay, etc. The Ethermeter gets its reading based on how the flowmeter is programmed to deliver it, so if the meter is configured to round to the nearest thousand gallons, that is what will be reported. They have data sheets for tests done with a bunch of the most commonly used models that guide you through the set up process.