From Wellhead to Desk: Fully Automated Chemical Programs
Wave Control’s UCS technology is a systems manager you can supervise at a distance without wasting hours driving to remote wellheads or walking from factory offices to production installations.
Designed on the concept of “Remote configuration, Local control,” it automates the routine operations of a chemical program, reports system performance to the user on secure web links and adjusts settings as ordered by the user without a visit to the site.
We’ve worked hard to make our patented “Uninterruptible Chemical Supply” easy to install, to configure and to afford. As a result, it’s now available as a compact, integrated system (“Cellular UCS”) for small remote applications such as oilfields, as well as in its established and proven original form: customized systems for large or unique industrial applications (“Custom UCS”).
The technology is protected under U.S.A. patent No. 7,263,448 and Canadian patent No. 2,501,530.
How UCS Works
The technology eliminates routine operator checks by automating
- Tank-level measurement
- Drawdown (flow rate) measurement
- Dosage determination (optional)
- Pump-speed adjustment (optional) and
- Reporting of readings or alarms
A UCS system consists of a controller, pressure sensor, chemical supply valve and tubular column. The system performs cycles of draining and filling the column, monitoring the level with millimeter-range precision. When the valve is opened, fluid flows from the tank to feed the pump and fill the column; when the valve is closed, the pump draws only from the column. Column level is monitored continuously and is used to determine flow rate, flow stoppage or pump performance issues.
Both the National Research Council of Canada and Natural Resources Canada supported development of the UCS, providing R&D funding in part because of the technology’s potential to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
Safety: Driving is the riskiest activity in most occupations; this is especially true with oilfields. Less driving means less chance of injury. Automating drawdowns also minimizes the likelihood of operator contact with chemicals.
Cost savings: UCS delivers a huge saving in operator time that would otherwise be required for traveling to sites and adjusting programs. Reduced driving also means reduced fleet costs.
Operational efficiency: Consumption and inventory data, outages, dosage settings, etc. are all logged and stored. Disputes with chemical vendors are unlikely with a precise measurement system.
Chemical savings: In PWM (pulse width modulation) mode, under- and over-treatment is eliminated. This is particularly important with chemicals such as H2S scavengers and paraffin inhibitors, and can result in reduced dosages and improved performance.
Energy efficiency: The system can be added to a solar pump skid with negligible additional load, both because it uses very low power and because it can reduce the need to overdose chemicals.
UCS for Oilfield Applications
The compact oilfield version of the UCS uses a secure cellular communications system, a secure server and a web app for configuration. Data can be displayed in the default web app and/or forwarded to the customer’s network. This highly integrated system has the capacity to:
- Measure pulsating or intermittent flows automatically by performing drawdowns on the column using an integrated valve;
- Drive a solenoid pump directly, drive a DC motor via PWM board add-on, or swing a relay/contactor for control of pumps by on/off timer;
- Provide PID control of flow rate or deliver a defined dosage based on stream flows or temperature;
- Monitor chemical inventory – unaffected by temperature or humidity – via a sensitive and ultra-stable pressure sensor;
- Keep data costs to a minimum: it reports flow, level and status one to four times a day;
- Report a host of other variables, from chemical temperature to external 4-20 mA signals;
- Send reports to secure Cloud storage; and
- Immediately report power interruptions.
Needing minimal power, it is ideal for solar applications. Our focus has been on reliability and ease of use. Just install the UCS in the line between the chemical tank and pump, connect power (12-24V) and then log in to the web app.
Customized chemical automation systems
The UCS has been adopted by almost all oilsands operators for control of critical applications. The options for customization are many and varied, including large-valve applications, special control algorithms, Class 1 Division 1 certification, and special client and site specifications. Each system is engineered and built under a single project manager by our highly integrated team of engineers, programmers, instrumentation techs and fabricators.
Hard-wired or high-bandwidth wireless systems provide real-time communication with the client’s control room, delivering instantaneous responses to process changes and ensuring accurate chemical feed to the PPM set point. This means optimized operations, reduced downtime and a smaller carbon footprint. It also minimizes operator contact with the chemicals for an improved working environment. Tank-level monitoring provides redundant confirmation of proper injection rates and helps maintain adequate inventory.