Speeding up the implementation process

04 October 2011

Mitsubishi Electric and Adroit Technologies have jointly addressed the shortcomings of traditional PLC-SCADA integration tools with a new technology that was first introduced at SPS/IPS/Drives 2010.

MAPS is an integrated package that takes users through all phases of process design, engineering design, control system design, installation, commissioning, acceptance testing and ongoing maintenance; helping to maintain consistency and integrity within an automation system, improving quality and reducing costs.

In process applications, where Mitsubishi Electric PLCs are mixed with SCADA solutions from Adroit Technologies, MAPS is said to provide a structured approach to life-cycle engineering, offering a standards-based approach that reduces the time and effort in automation project design, testing and commissioning phases, with pre-defined and user configurable PLC function blocks and associated SCADA graphics, based on the international S88 and S95 standards.

The solution provides a structured single point of configuration, deployment and management. Using the MAPS Enterprise Manager allows for bulk engineering and reduced effort through import functions which enable the rapid configuration of the engineering design, SCADA and PLC project, as well as ongoing life-cycle management of the automation solution.

A wizard approach is used which can automatically generate PLC and SCADA projects, reducing the time spent on design and configuration. It also ensures a standardised and structured design that eases on-going maintenance of the plant throughout its life-cycle.

With traditional integration tools the generation of reports can prove problematic, whereas with MAPS, reports covering areas such as I/O schedules, PLC and SCADA tag configuration, can be automatically generated. This automatic report generation ensures that the project on handover also reflects the ‘as built’ up-to-date electrical and instrumentation drawings that are aligned to the SCADA tags and PLC I/O. The reports are database driven, so will always reflect the current status of the electrical and instrumentation configuration.

The package also helps to ensure that project documentation is kept up to date. Throughout the design phases and as systems are upgraded or modified over time, it provides on-going management of the PLC/SCADA and the plant ‘as built’ electrical and instrumentation documentation. Whether tags are changed in the design, PLC, SCADA or the MAPS management environment, the project ensures that databases and documentation are synchronised.

Commenting on the development, and on the traditional shortcomings of PLC-SCADA integration tools, Detlef Koffke, key account manager for Mitsubishi Electric Factory Automation said: “MAPS is a step change in the way a complex plant is designed, installed and maintained, with a streamlined approach that drives down costs and boosts productivity. It builds on Adroit’s object-oriented SCADA software that provides openness, features scalability and extensibility and delivers tight integration with Mitsubishi Electric PLC-based automation systems, while addressing the shortcomings of traditional integration tools which fail to maintain system integrity as the project evolves."

Proving the claims
To prove the claims for MAPS a 12 month study project was undertaken, using MAPS and a traditional project implementation process. The project was split into four categories – design, development, deployment and documentation.
The design phase of the traditional solution required the drawing up of the process design, electrical and instrumentation detailed design, user requirements specification (URS) and functional design specification (FDS) and the sign off of it. This includes the entire document and design planning around the project. This took around 3.5 months.
With MAPS the planning phase took a little longer because some development work for the project is started in parallel. For example, the MAPS function of creating SCADA I/O and PLC function blocks directly from the DesSoft solution means more attention at the design phase but will substantially reduce the worktime in the development phase.

With the traditional solution engineers need to modify standard Function Blocks (FB’s) or create new FB’s for the project, which takes time to develop and test. The SCADA graphics also need to be created or modified. Those changes need to be made in both the PLC programming and SCADA engineering. With each new set of changes there is a risk that mistakes could be introduced. This effects FAT testing as those mistakes and errors must be corrected and retested. This phase has an expected timeline of 6 months.

As some of the development work has already been done in the design phase of the MAPS solution, the system engineer can then automatically create the FB’s, SCADA I/O and graphics. All that is required is for the engineer to give the FB’s logic and draw in the static images on the MAPS Designer. If the standard MAPS FB’s have been used, FAT testing time will also be reduced. This saves time developing FB’s and SCADA graphics and offers quicker FAT testing. In this example it took only 3 months compared with the traditional 6 months.

With a traditional solution, there are always changes and modifications that need to be made on site in the implementation phase of a project. Changes in the PLC code can result in a change in the SCADA operation and consequently the P&ID drawings may also need to be updated. This phase took just under 2 months.

If a change is made with the MAPS scenario it can be done from the MAPS Designer which then synchronises to the PLC, updating the program. It will also update the DesSoft P&ID drawings, saving the engineer time as MAPS co-ordinates and manages the changes across three different software packages. The MAPS deployment phase took just one month.

Generating documentation for a project can be difficult as all the changes on site need to be documented for a good hand-over. This phase usually also contains development of the final procedures on ‘how to use’ the installed solution. With a traditional solution this takes around two weeks to complete.

Because MAPS also generates the I/O lists and equipment list for the project, while tracking the changes that were implemented on site during deployment this phase can be shortened, taking the same time as the traditional solution.

On conclusion of the project it was found that the traditional solution took 12 months while the MAPS solution took 9 months and achieved a cost reduction of around 25%. If any changes are made on the MAPS project through the rest of it’s installed life the documentation continues to be automatically updated in-line so that you will always have the current/actual status of your project, enabling continuing cost and time savings into the future.

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