A Mobile Water Dosing System Prototype
Funding: Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher
MCC Water Solutions
MCC Water Solutions is a family run business based in Donegal that operates throughout Ulster, with over 40 years’ experience in the pipe-laying and the water pumping industry.
The company’s ethos is to protect the environment by sustainably harnessing our ever-decreasing water sources by getting the most from every litre that is used in irrigation systems. MCC Water Solutions have recently brought their experience to the golf and sports field market.
Problem to Be Solved
The aim of the collaboration with WiSAR was to investigate the feasibility of developing a mobile water dosing system for golf greens to allow the green keeper to accurately add various agents such as fertiliser or other chemicals, to the flowing water in a controlled and automated fashion, optimising the mix according to grass conditions. An integrated, electronically controlled, emergency shut-off valve was also required to automatically stop supply after a defined volume of water is exceeded, to prevent over watering and to minimise water wastage.
Funded by an Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher, WiSAR began with a full technical review of the client’s current mains-powered system. Firstly, a low voltage dosing pump was selected, and the system specification was designed around that.
The next step was to determine the power source required to power the mobile dosing system. Several options were investigated but it was determined that a dedicated rechargeable battery would be the best option maximise mobility. The energy requirements of the system hardware were then determined to ascertain the battery capacity needed to deliver an operating time of over 5 hours.
With the energy requirements scoped out, a lightweight rechargeable lithium battery was identified that could supply the current capacity required to run the system. The selection of other hardware components such as the LCD, Relay, Flow Meter, Solenoid Gate Valve, microcontroller was completed. A PCB which was then designed and manufactured to connect the power supply, dosing pump, flow meter, LCD, micro-controller and relay.
The final stage of the project was to set up the dosing pump and to develop the firmware to control the signals from both the water meter and dosing pump to accurately control the addition of agents such as fertiliser and other chemicals, to the flowing water. The client created a test rig which allowed WiSAR to confirm the functionality of the components and the overall system, which is now fully operational.
IMPACT & BENEFIT
The company, Reitigh Uisce MCC Teo, have received a full report detailing the approach and design of the mobile water dosing system and a full rig for system testing. After a period of evaluation, the company will be in a position to refine their requirements which will enable WiSAR to develop an advanced prototype for commercialisation. This will enable the company to expand their market, with an increasing demand for such systems from golf clubs in both Ireland and the UK.
“By working with WiSAR researchers in LYIT, under the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher Programme, Reitigh Uisce MCC Teo were able to adopt technological solutions, to significantly advance the efficiency of our systems, making them more attractive to emerging markets such as the sports and agricultural industries.
Going forward, we would like to build on this research by further refining our product, which we believe will position the company for international growth and market penetration.”
Barry McCloskey, MCC Water Solutions- Reitigh Uisce MCC Teo