It’s comfortable to stick with a known commodity, but that can lead to becoming stuck in the past. That’s becoming the case with many water districts that aren’t exploring their valve control options.
Systems engineers are likely familiar with a traditional PLC, but, while the base product may be competitive with an electronic valve control in price, the extra costs for other necessary components needed to complete an installation can drive that price up.
James Parsons, Application Engineer at Cla-Val, said districts will buy a traditional product, “then, they’re going to stick it into a large enclosure, and they’re going to have to set up some kind of communications network back to a SCADA system.”
“You can look at the VC-22D as a single unit that has a relatively small footprint that encompasses all of those. It doesn’t require an enclosure, it has its own enclosure, and it’s watertight,” he said.
It also has its own communication capability built in like MODBUS, so there’s no use for extra cards.
Of course, things still can go wrong, but Cla-Val has built its brand on support for years, utilizing the expertise of people like Roger Lah, Technical Product Specialist.
“That’s part of our jobs is to help customers – typically over the phone – to go through that process if they need some assistance after it’s installed to add in some alarms or other functions that haven’t been used yet but are easily field adjusted,” Lah said.
Those valve specialists can quickly ascertain if there’s an issue and how to fix it, while generalist system integrators may struggle to zoom in on a specific product.