HYDRUS: the story of the world's first ultrasonic water meter
Over a decade ago, Diehl Metering became the first company to market an ultrasonic water meter. HYDRUS was developed as a direct response to our customers’ experience in the Middle East and the meter has since evolved to become a cornerstone of smart water networks everywhere.
Ultrasonic measuring technology was first adopted by the heating sector in the 1990s. It was developed as an alternative to mechanical turbine measuring technologies, presenting the advantage of measuring flow rates without interfering with the flow stream. This made it less susceptible to blockages caused by metal particles, as well as being more resistant to rust and general wear. In short, ultrasonic energy meters were more reliable and durable.
Diehl Metering, then known as Hydrometer, was one of the pioneers of this technology. From 1991, our research team actively developed ultrasonic technology, and in 1998, we launched SHARKY, our first ultrasonic flow sensor for the heating market.
A new customer need
For years, ultrasonic technology remained the exclusive domain of the energy sector. Then, from 2005, Hydrometer began working in the Middle East and quickly saw an opportunity to better serve customers by developing an ultrasonic meter for the water sector.
In the desert-filled region around Dubai and Abu Dhabi, water is a precious resource. This makes high-quality meters a crucial tool in ensuring it is managed efficiently with minimal risk of waste and leakages. However, at the time, standard water meters were ill-equipped to cope with the desert sand. Tiny particles would work their way into the pipes, causing blockages and even permanently damaging the meters. In addition, mechanical meters could not distinguish between air and water and therefore would count air in cases of water shut off or intermittent water supply.
To address this issue, some of our customers in the Emirates had started installing ultrasonic energy meters in their water distribution networks. But energy meters are much bigger than water meters and are not designed to cope with humid conditions. We knew we needed to offer our customers a better solution, and our team began work on adapting ultrasonic technology to the needs of water metering.
Designed for the extreme and long-lasting accuracy
In 2008, we launched the world’s first ultrasonic water meter, named HYDRUS, a combination of Hydrometer and US, the abbreviation for Ultrasonic. The meter was a direct response to the challenges faced by our Middle Eastern customers.
Featuring a robust design, HYDRUS was built to resist high temperatures and high humidity, as well as withstand sand and air in the pipes. By building it to meet such extreme conditions, we ensured our new meter would deliver long-term performance anywhere in the world.
Listen and improve
Since HYDRUS were first launched, we have continued to listen to our customers and adapt the technology to their needs. The battery life has been extended to up to 16 years, and the meter is now available in all common nominal sizes, as well as an ultrasonic Bulk version.
We have also integrated new connectivity standards, allowing HYDRUS to gather multiple metrics about water consumption, flow and temperature. Furthermore, our IZAR radio technology is automatically integrated into all our ultrasonic meters, enabling utilities to benefit from remote readings and automatic data transmission in a fixed network or with a mobile readings system, as well as the potential of the Internet of Things.
It is 13 years since HYDRUS was first launched – and 30 years since Diehl Metering first developed ultrasonic measuring technology. Today, the industry has fully embraced the technology, and we continue to listen to our customers, continually enhancing our ultrasonic meters to optimize their precision, stability and durability, as well as their connectivity.