Smart software offers remote solutions

08 April 2011

Many engineers will have a requirement to monitor and manage field equipment from a central location in a bid to improve operating efficiencies, enhance safety and provide real-time information. CEE reports one possible solution.

Achieving this goal requires a reliable communication infrastructure that connects field PLC/RTU’s back to central operations. More and more industries are also deploying field equipment in remote locations, where terrestrial-based communications do not exist or would be cost prohibitive to install.

A cost-effective route to ensuring reliable communication, regardless of location can be found in a software package which offers remote measurement capabilities as well as standard SCADA. Panorama E2 from Codra, for example, offers a full object solution platform that incorporates SCADA, telemetry front-end and much more. Its architecture uses native OPC standards for communications between client and server modules. The open platform also offers the ability to integrate specific functionality by adding Microsoft .Net objects directly to the platform, which are seen in the configuration Studio as an extension of the standard objects supplied by Codra. Add to this the intelligent sharing of communication resources for telemetry protocols and you have a powerful software solution.

To speed up development of telemetry applications, Panorama E2 provides generic, protocol-independent, configurable objects, both functional and workstation, which offer automatic configuration of properties for views and alarms which are generated directly from the remote terminal units (RTUs).

The telemetry front-end is delivered with a ready-to-use sample application, which can be modified if required, providing an out-of-box telemetry solution. The telemetry function features two modes – standalone, including a server and a workstation, along with a development license, from between 10 and 200 remotely-managed sites; and a functional server for larger systems requiring real-time telemetry, from 100 to over 1,000 sites.
The telemetry feature has proven useful in a variety of applications. It has been used, for example, to undertake energy monitoring tasks for AGC Glass, a company that produces and processes flat glass for the construction industry.

It has been used to monitor the telecommunication infrastructure to hydroelectric power stations at EDF. Engineering support services company, Babcock has also used the technology for the command and control of boiler systems installed on remote sites, and Strasbourg District Council has used the system to manage its storm drains.

The water industry offers good examples of where the telemetry front-end really comes into its own. The diversity and complexity of equipment in the water industry is increasing to meet the demand for ever increasing levels of quality and conformity, leading to an increased in complexity and diversity of equipment, as the data from ever more sensors and instrumentation is required centrally for business and operational purposes.

The Veolia Water Company, for example, had a requirement to control and monitor the entire water cycle for the region East of Paris, all from a single location. This includes the control of the water supply from rivers and reservoirs in the region, the remote command and control of the drinking water purification plants, their feed into the drinking water distribution grid and the control of monitoring of the continuous supply to homes and businesses across the region, followed by the management of the waste water, its treatment and its return to the rivers along with the management of the rainwater; which is all now being performed via a Panorama E2 based Central Regional telemetry SCADA system.

The objectives of the installation were to provide security and continuity of the drinking water and waste water services from a central control room, 24/7 and to be able to continuously analyse the operational facilities, in order to manage potential problems that may arise anywhere in the water supply across a large region. It incorporates thousands of kilometers of pipework in addition to multiple facilities, spread over a large area East of Paris.

The Veolia Water Company system is connected directly to remote PLCs as well as connecting to the telemetry RTUs, and it directly handles communication with all the equipment, without the need for any independent master station units.

The system needed to be able to handle 50,000 process variables from PLCs at purification plants and 450 telemetry RTUs. All the data is controlled and monitored by two central redundant servers at the main control centre. The servers feed the data to local and remote operator stations, running Panorama E2 HMI Client software. The data is also processed by the system and fed into a local database service for data historical and archiving purposes and to dedicated servers for business reporting and maintenance management purposes.
The latest Panorama E2 offering, Version 4, extends the functionality of this smart solution suite. Additions include real-time support through to electronic dashboards and additional features for telemetry applications, as well as seamless integration into the IT system architecture and tools such as networks, database and productivity suites, making it suitable for the development of not only traditional SCADA style applications, but any application requiring real-time data to be collected, processed, visualized and shared via the Internet or a company’s Intranet.

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