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New version of TopKapi offers maps, energy monitoring, and DBMS Connectivity

16 January 2009

AREAL has introduced the latest version 5.0 of its TopKapi SCADA platform with new features that make it easier to connect with database management systems often used in business applications. There is also a new software package for energy monitoring applications, and for SCADA applications spread out over a wide area, a new mapping function allows data to be superimposed on digital area maps for easier visualisation.

TopKapi DBMS connectivity
TopKapi DBMS connectivity

The company database is located at the heart of the company’s information system, so TopKapi now offers a flexible link with database management systems such as Oracle, SQL Server, and many others.

The SCADA software saves the historical data of the process and reads any type of data submitted to the operator. It is also able to carry out high level tasks usually assigned to systems much more cumbersome and complex.

“Today, supervision must be more and more part of the company’s global information system,” says AREAL president Pierre LaMarle.

“With version 5.0, TopKapi puts emphasis on interoperability by recording historical production data directly, into various DBMS systems such as Oracle or SQL Server.

He says TopKapi relies on SQL and the latest Microsoft's ADO.net technology to handle data.

“These allow the use of robust and efficient exchange mechanisms within the DBMS. Thousands of events per second can be recorded simultaneously without causing overload or loss of data.”

The data may be forwarded into multiple databases via separate routes to distinct systems, or replicated between two or more servers to provide redundancy. Buffers managed by TopKapi can store information locally if the system is not accessible, until the situation returns to normal.

TopKapi can also, through SQL requests, use the data stored in the DBMS, whether it was generated internally or by another application. Users can customise queries to view and use the data into graphs or in the alarms and events windows of Topkapi, and define their own criteria for selecting and sorting.

But mastering SQL is not necessary for implementation in standard conditions, Mr. LaMarle maintains. The criteria for selecting and sorting can be adjusted in the standard TopKapi interface.

For applications handling large amount of data, a load balancing system provides the ability to optimise distribution on different servers.

TopKapi energy monitoring
TopKapi energy monitoring

ENERGY MONITORING AND CONTROL (EMC)

Mr. LaMarle has another new package for his SCADA platform, something he calls EMC Pack. EMC Pack solutions.

These provide real time synthesis indicators from raw data collected from field equipment to gauge and monitor energy efficiency. Automatic generation of pre-configured and pre-formatted operating reports simplifies the diagnosis and monitoring.

“Reducing energy costs in the industry and building management has become a major environmental and economic issue,” he notes.

“Companies can assess the extent of their energy consumption by reviewing their energy bills; however, it is much more difficult for them to identify exactly how and where their energy is being used.”

Currently, there are instrumentation solutions related to the measurement and metering of energy used to collect data from facilities. However, their drawback is that they produce large data tables which are cumbersome to analyse and are insufficient as a practical measure of energy consumption.

With its EMC pack AREAL offers predefined graphical objects to have a direct and synthetic "visual" reading of energy consumption.

By simply instantiating an energy counter, consumption levels—displayed as bar graphs—are directly presented as raw values, weighted by produced unit and corrected according to the season.

The comparison from one period to another is immediate; the graph of monthly energy consumption, for example, shows directly in the background the consumption of previous years or months.

The results are recorded as they are computed, making them available permanently and instantly without waiting for their preparation to each new request.

Automatic generation of energy reports can also ensure that the contract for the supply of electric power fits best with the consumption levels, taking into account the hourly consumption and the periods where the requested power exceeds the subscribed power.

Using geographical maps
Using geographical maps

For workshop and office buildings, the calculation of the ratio kWh / m² / Day Degree for heating and cooling gives a true reference of energy performance and will provide the ability to compare buildings, to measure the effectiveness of actions taken, and to verify in case of investments that the results are in line with forecasts.

WEB MAP SERVICES (WMS)

Mr. LaMarle has one more item in his bag of tricks for TopKapi V5: Web Map Services, or WMS.

Complying the standard published by the OGC—Open Geographical Consortium—this function in TopKapi was created to meet the needs related to the use of increasingly widespread geographic information systems (GIS).

With its new WMS functions, TopKapi displays onto a graphical view both the animated items featuring the data acquired and a map or a network view obtained from a GIS.

This applies not only to all applications monitoring distribution networks (electricity, gas, water, sanitation, telecommunications and so on.), but also—in conjunction with the automatic acquisition of GPS position—to the management of mobile fleet and operators on duty (for example DATI, alarm devices for isolated workers).

The WMS standard can be used with most major GIS products such as Arc GIS, Autodesk, Map Info, Star Apic, etc., and was recently extended to allow access to Google Maps. Other services like MAPPY or Yahoo! Maps are also available.

TopKapi can select in a WMS server the layers to be displayed, and superimposes on the image its own objects with conventional control / command features.


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