Aquaflex NZ – our commitment to customer support

With the recent sale of WaterMetrics to Datacol we would like to clarify how this impacts Aquaflex and assure our customers of continuity of supply and service.

Aquaflex NZ is a division of Streat Instruments and a completely independent company to WaterMetrics or Datacol.

Streat Instruments has a long history in the field of industrial control and telemetry systems and as the designers and manufacturers of both Aquaflex Soil Moisture Sensors and Aquacom Telemetry units, Aquaflex NZ is ideally placed to provide full sales and after sales support for these systems.

We are totally committed to supporting our customers and ensuring they gain the maximum benefit from their Aquaflex and Aquacom systems – please feel free to ring us anytime if you have any questions or require assistance.

Aquaflex NZ supplies Aquaflex and Aquacom products and services direct to our customers and also to distributors such as Boraman Consultants, WaterMetrics, and numerous irrigation companies and consultants.

Please feel free to contact us anytime for sales or service support – 03 3848 900 or e-mail servicing@streatsahead.com

DRYCOM

Independent study demonstrates effectiveness of Equi-pF soil moisture release curve apparatus

Dr Steffen Trinks of the Technical University of Berlin has conducted an independent evaluation of our Equi-pF soil moisture release curve apparatus. His paper is reproduced here. It was published in the July 2015 edition of the journal  WISPAS Jul 15.

DRYCOM

Moisture: A key factor in sustainable manufacturing

Manufacturers of both nonwovens and traditional textiles are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of moisture management during processing. Its well known that fibres perform differently during the carding, lapping, needing and spinning processes. Finding and maintaining the optimum moisture content provides clear benefits in both processing performance and product quality.

“Over-dry material creates static problems,” says Jim Herbison, Managing Director of Streat Instruments. “It can also reduce fibre strength, resulting in excess fibre breakage, increased drop out and reduced yields. On the other hand, a product that is too wet blocks fibre transports, causes roller laps and can lead to the build up of bacteria.”

Streat Instruments moisture systems are designed to assist users in optimising production conditions in order to maximise productivity, quality, operating efficiencies and profitability in the nonwovens and textiles industries. Over the last three decades he New Zealand-based company has earned international recognition as a premier manufacturer and supplier of moisture management technology.

New App increases control and flexibility

DSC00759The new Drycom Connect combines well proven Streat control technology with a dedicated smart-phone and tablet app, which allows operators to view moisture and associated production data from their production plants in real time, at any time, from anywhere.

“The Drycom Connect App is a valuable management tool, empowering users to monitor system data remotely,” says Herbison. “Having a mobile option provides an increased level of control as well as peace of mind.”

The App can keep track of multiple systems within the plant and can be integrated with data from fibre weight control systems by Streat’s sister company Garnett Controls.

Sustaining quality with minimal energy consumption

Drying is one of the most energy intensive operations in textile mills. Streat Drycom empowers processors to reduce energy usage by optimising the drying process.
Drycom ensures consistent moisture by continuously measuring the moisture of the fibre, yarn, nonwoven web, or other product outputs at the exit of the dryer.

“Drycom automatically controls the energy and/or speed of the dryer to maintain the desired level of moisture,” adds Herbison. “In addition to ensuring consistent moisture content, the productivity gains and energy savings provided by our systems are considerable.”

Hundreds of Streat Drycom systems are already providing users in over 40 countries with the tools they need to operate sustainably, optimise production processes and maximise productivity, quality, operating efficiencies and profitability.

In processing areas such as opening and blending, carding, and web forming, plant humidity control is not enough to ensure optimum moisture conditions. Micro-climates within machinery often dry the fibre, making downstream processing difficult or impossible. It’s not uncommon for plants to run at high humidity levels (up to 70+ % RH) in order to drive fibre moisture content up to manageable processing levels. High humidity creates an uncomfortable environment for workers, high energy costs, and potential machinery damage.

Drycom measures the fibre directly. Moisture can them be managed in a manner appropriate to the process, such as targeted moisture application by precision spraying devices. Experience in all types of natural and man-made fibres has enabled Streat to build a portfolio of application-specific technologies to ensure sustainable production.

DRYCOM

How to use farm environment plans to your advantage

dairyIrrigator

Farm environment plans

The word ‘audit’ usually bears negative connotations of tedious, unnecessary work to appease a faction of government. For Canterbury farmers, a top-of-mind example is the enforcement of ‘farm environment plans’.

Environment Canterbury (ECAN) has recently implemented requirements to have a ‘farm environment plan’ for farms that meet certain criteria based around location, farm size and nitrogen leaching levels.

A farm environment plan is a farm audit focussing on environmental impacts and sustainability. They are part of the larger Land and Water Regional Plan, implemented by ECAN which aims to provide clear direction on how land and water are to be managed and help deliver community aspirations for water quality in both urban and rural areas.

The Hawkes Bay Regional Council has a management plan in place for farmers and the Marlborough District Council have one in place for dairy farmers. However, ECAN covers the widest area.

Plans require detail on the following information:

  • Property or farm enterprise details
  • Map or aerial photos at a scale
  • List of all Canterbury Regional Council resource consents held for the property or farm enterprise
  • Assessment of adverse environmental effects and risks associated with farming activities and how these will be managed
  • How these objectives will be met
    • Nutrient management
    • Irrigation management
    • Soils management
    • Collected animal effluent management
    • Livestock management
    • Offal pits
  • Nutrient budgets

The plan must be audited by a Farm Environmental Plan Auditor before submission to ECAN and be completed and submitted every year.
It’s easy to file compulsory documents away and forget about them until it’s time to submit another report. However, there are many opportunities to be gained from the data collected for farm environment plans.

One example is using the mandatory irrigation and soil management data to farm smarter.

Moisture knowledge is power

Moisture is a critical factor in many farming application areas. It affects growth, quality and profits.

Since moisture measurement is already a requirement for Canterbury farms, it might as well be used to benefit the farm itself.

Having visibility of soil moisture levels across the farm empowers farm managers to strategically place irrigation and allocate resources to areas that need it most.

For example, an accurate soil moisture system, when used in conjunction with feed budgeting information, can be used to predict pasture growth. On large properties, visual pasture assessments often cannot be completed weekly, but using the information from a soil moisture system gives farmers the ability to predict pasture growth based on soil temperature and moisture.

By having a better understanding of soil moisture and temperature, farmers can gain greater value from other tools such as feed budgeting and climate outlooks, contributing to more informed decisions. This helps farmers to assess the risk and opportunities that may exist around future feed supply and demand and allow decisions such as stocking levels, when to purchase or when to sell, to be made in a more informed manner and potentially increase returns to the business.

Accurate data, accurate analysis

Having a soil moisture sensor that measures accurately is obviously beneficial for analysing this type of data. But what makes soil moisture sensors more accurate than others?

Reliable, hardy equipment and an expert support team to consult with are essential to producing quality water moisture data.

Having soil moisture sensors that gather data from a cross-section of soil, rather than just one spot, will help eliminate discrepancies caused by factors such as dripping irrigators, soil variability and stony soil.

Because of the strict regulations within farm environment plans to provide accurate information, installing quality soil moisture monitoring technology will not only comply with ECAN’s specifications but also give greater visibility for farmers to make advantageous decisions to benefit farm efficiency and profitability.

Increased drying efficiencies lead to increased profits

Bullseye

Drying, whether it be of loose fibre, yarn or fabric, is one of the most energy-intensive operations in the dyeing and finishing area.

Moisture is generally accepted as one of the most important factors affecting the processing of fibres, yarns and fabrics. This rings true for both natural and man-made fibres, albeit it is often more significant for natural fibres, as they tend to be more hygroscopic.

The purpose of the drying operation is to drive off the moisture within the fibre, so that when the product (whether it be loose fibre, yarn or fabric) exits the dryer it is at the desired moisture content (or regain).

Each process has different requirements for the moisture content as the product exits the dryer. In some processes the moisture content has no bearing at all, for example heat setting of fabrics. In this process the object is to drive off most of the moisture early in the drying process and then have the material maintain a certain surface temperature for a certain period of time to ensure adequate “setting” of the material.

In other processes, the moisture content of the product as it exits the dryer is critical. To avoid the problems that can be caused by moisture-content variations, most processors tend to over-dry, as this tends to be the “safe” option from a production and quality perspective. But it results in a significant waste of energy. For wool fibre a good “rule of thumb” is that between 15% and 10% regain, for every 1% you over-dry you are wasting 2% to 3% in energy!

Processors without accurate on-line moisture-control systems typically over-dry by 3 to 4% (or more), thus wasting 10% or more in energy. How much does 10% of your drying-energy costs equate to over a year? This could impact significantly on your bottom line – studies have shown that a 1% saving in energy can equate to an improvement in bottom line profits by 10% or more.

Although over-drying is referred to above as a “safe” option from a quality perspective, over-drying can cause quality issues too (fibre damage, static problems, etc). Also, if fibre is sold based solely on weight, you are giving away fibre when you over-dry!

Moisture measurement and control systems are available to ensure that the product moisture content is maintained at the desired level at the exit of the dryer. These systems, such as the Streat Instruments DRYCOM Moisture Control System, continually monitor the moisture of the product at the exit of the dryer and manipulate either the energy supply to the dryer, or the dryer speed, to maintain the product moisture at the desired level. This allows the “safety margin” to be reduced to a much tighter window of moisture-content levels, thus affording the benefits of significant energy and productivity savings.

In response to requests from high-value knitwear processors in Scotland, Streat developed the DRYCOM Tumble Dryer Controller, which is easily retrofitted to existing dryers. By ensuring the garments are removed from the dryer at precisely the right time, product quality (handle and shelf appearance) are optimised and processors benefit from reduced energy and increased productivity.

With a typical payback period of between 6 and 12 months, Streat DRYCOM systems provide processors with a significant opportunity to reduce energy costs, improve productivity and efficiency, and enhance their competitive edge.

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