Hitaltech enclosures have been part of Schneider’s Mk I telemetry stations for 10 years. So what made them choose Hitaltech for Mk II?
About Schneider Electric Systems UK
Schneider manufactures telemetry stations, predominantly for the water industry. There may be dozens of units dotted around water company sites, operating locally and independently or joined up to form a much larger network. The units perform many tasks, including monitoring flow rates in rivers and reservoir levels, feeding information to control rooms, and making significant independent decisions like opening sluice gates.
“Our units are sophisticated and intelligent,” explains Ian Campbell, Purchasing Manager, Schneider Electric Systems UK. “They are intelligent enough to do something about the situations they encounter.”
The Mk I enclosure
A decade ago, Hitaltech worked with Schneider to create the first iteration of the telemetry station. Our enclosure housed functions for alarm analysis, archive data logging and local control applications. Then, for isolated and unmanned sites, we created the enclosure for a more compact field device that proved especially valuable for small footprint, low power telemetry applications.
Developing Mk II
When the time came to start work on the Mk II station, Schneider performed due diligence to ensure Hitaltech remained the right development partner.
“We did look at alternative suppliers,” Ian confirms, “but the suitability of the Hitaltech housing for our application – the form and fit – is excellent. We evaluated it against many of Hitaltech’s competitors and found it to be the most suitable.”
Just as important as the suitability of the housing was the suitability of the supplier. “It’s important to work with a company who will support you at every stage, from prototyping into full production, and Hitaltech have certainly done that. The level of support is genuinely very, very good.”
Customisation and printing
“You could never buy this as a standard item – it’s customised for our needs,” explains Ian. “We take the standard housing, then it’s machined to our specifications. The fact that they can also do the printing means we have to put a lot less stickers on each unit – saving on the cost of materials and labour. We’ve taken a lot of stickers off as part of the redesign but there are some labels – like CE marks – that won’t change. As most of our labels are permanent, printing is the cheaper and quicker option. So the customisation has enabled us to reduces costs as well as improve aesthetics.
“The finished product is very adaptable. It’s DIN rail mountable too, ergonomically very good, easy to modify and it looks good. Delivery deadlines are excellent. Nine times out of ten they beat the delivery deadline we give them, and we’ve been putting them under a lot of pressure to deliver. Hitaltech’s delivery performance has allowed us to achieve significant milestones in the release of the product.”
Working with Hitaltech
Ten years after Schneider first started working with Hitaltech, and two years after work began on the Mk II telemetry outstation, why does Ian believe the relationship remains as strong as ever?
“I’ve been outsourcing products for over 20 years,” he says. “You know you’ve found a good supplier when they will go the extra mile and genuinely work with you. They are as committed to the product as we are.
If the product is successful and the cost, design and end product are right, then everybody benefits. That’s the way Hitaltech works.
“I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.”