Project Summary Highlights:
A large public sewer authority, comprised of a wastewater treatment facility and 28 remote pumping stations, was using a legacy SCADA system with little visibility and central control of their system. Only the remote pumping stations and a few critical plant flow signals were connected to the SCADA system. The authority was aware of the expected remaining service life of the system, knew of the capabilities of present-day SCADA systems, and the new regulations required for their industry. These needs had to be balanced against their budget. PDA was consulted to provide a long-term solution that could help them achieve a balance. Considering the limited budget available to the sewer authority, PDA provided a systematic approach to the upgrade, planning the work in phases.
Before improvements could begin, the sewer authority requested that a parallel control system be implemented. This would provide the plant with consistent operation and ease learning of the new system until the legacy controls were all replaced. To assist in the design, a tour and client workshop were arranged by PDA with a similar, successful project at a participating regional client. This arrangement removed any reservations within the authority regarding the new SCADA application. Sample HMI screens were built allowing the plant operators to gain experience with the conversion.
Overall, Phase One of the project went very smoothly. Challenges on the project included harmonizing legacy and modern controllers and networks while limiting rework in future phases. The remote sites currently are communicating through leased copper lines. Although cellular was considered for future phases, the authority now plans on installing fiber to each remote site. This will change the communications to Ethernet and will be able to connect each site directly to the SCADA system. phases will include upgrading these to a consistent, industry-standard hardware, at which time a fiber-based network from a local service provider will be introduced. PDA planned to ease the Authority into the changes, giving them exactly what they wanted, but minimizing scarring on the project. Project scarring is most common when upgrades are phased. This means you must complete engineering to a certain level to achieve system functionality during a phase. The next phase may require rework from the first phase to continue advancements. This work is known as project scarring. PDA engineered the project phases to minimize the scarring while designing each phase to fit within a municipal’s budget constraints. This allows municipals to enhance their systems while making each phase financially manageable.
The next phase will involve the addition of Secondary Gate Actuators to be PLC controlled. Presently to operate these gates someone has go to the blower building and physically open and close the gate. These operations are major safety hazards due to some of the weather conditions involved and must be eliminated. In addition, in this phase, PDA will also introduce more signals to the SCADA system in the plant which are currently not visible. The New HMI (Ignition) screens will be created to show the same data found on the existing legacy screens. To minimize project scarring, and to conserve budget, PDA will be able to use the same tags and registers in the SCADA screens. Facility Managers have options when working with PDA regarding SCADA screens. They can choose to mirror the existing screens to minimize operator change management, redevelop the screens to a new templated-based screen development allowing for ease of implementation across a SCADA system, or adopt new standards such as High-Performance HMI visualization. Any option that is chosen will undergo a thorough review of the screens as they are developed in the new platform. PDA hosts HMI workshops that promote functionality checks and review with the municipality as the screens are being developed to ensure that all parties are satisfied with the look/feel of the screens. Overall, these solutions will provide a better (safer) work environment.
No technical roadblocks have been encountered in Phase Two. The largest challenge was to adapt the scope of the phase to meet the Authority’s approved budget. PDA led open and iterative planning sessions with the client to triage the highest priority items into the budget allotment.
Future phases will include the upgrade of the control systems at each of the 28 locations. Also, the installed fiber communication will allow direct control from SCADA to any of these remote sites. Finally, the original alarming notification was very basic. There was one person on the call list and the information provided on the call-out was vague. The person had to go to the plant to see what the alarm was before addressing it. Now with the alarms going through the Ignition call out, the person who is at the top of the roster gets the exact description of the alarm and can travel directly to the location instead of having to go to the plant to determine the issue. At the end of the projects, the Authority will have a single source of information for their entire operations. All necessary operations and notifications will be visible to those who need it, when they need it.
A company that specializes in the manufacture of very large open-die forgings as well as open-die forged products such as discs, rings, sleeves, and shafts from high quality, clean steel contracted Process and Data Automation (PDA) to install systems to determine equipment efficiencies at two of their plants, the first a steel mill and the second a forge. These new systems were connected to the SLCs using third-party hardware modules, to allow effective tracking of the performance of each of the machines, e.g., the mills, lathes, and saws, in the two plants. Of particular interest to the company was the ability to track the occurrence of downtime and to establish the reasons for the stoppages.
With this information, the company hoped to be able to correct any issues that may develop with their manufacturing processes. Presently the company is unable to obtain tangible information from either the reporting or data collection systems operating in the plants to assess maintenance issues or typical production aspects.
With the Ignition project as the OEE system, the larger accomplishment in undertaking and completing the project was the aggregation of relevant production data from the vastly different systems. Success depended upon PDA’s ability to find a relatable way to access the relevant information from each of the different sources in a way that was useful to the end-user.
The first OEE system was installed and commissioned successfully at the steel mill, leading to the request for a second similar system to be installed at the forge, and presently a third system is being considered. The project was organized into three phases, i.e., Hardware, Visualization Software, and Reporting & OEE. The installation required extensive upfront investigations to collect data automatically from eight machines, including four sawmills with CompactLogix Processors, three mills with Siemens 840D PL/SL CNC controls and a lathe with Siemens 840D CNC controls. PDA planned to utilize Inductive Automation’s Ignition software, which is very versatile and expandable, for the overall data visualization, providing live Data Screens displayed on the TV monitors in production and on the operator’s station at each machine. The connection of Ignition to different technologies with different platforms was involved and it was necessary to (a) identify where the relevant data existed within the machine, (b) extract that data, and (c) aggregate it into a user-friendly form. The development of this capability was entirely a consequence of the skills of the PDA engineers.
The variety of machines to be monitored did pose a challenge to the installation of the OEE system. The type of connection to a particular machine to obtain the relevant data had to be determined individually and, in some cases, a degree of creativity was required.
Several of the Siemen’s lathes, basically CNC machines, did contain a server that provided PDA with a connection port. But the older lathes did not contain this server and it was necessary to upgrade the machine to support OPC-UA, which allowed data to be accessed. (OPC-UA denotes an industrial protocol that allows information to be shared between different machines or devices using a standardized protocol. In general terms it is a method of connecting to multiple things that support the universal protocol). The company completed these upgrades as required.
The newly installed OEE system allows the company to track the performance of the machines in terms of uptime as well as recording downtime and provides an overall efficiency number. Once the versatile software is implemented it allows a determination of the lifetimes of the different saws, saw blades, drill bits, etc. together with knowledge of the source of the items and the operating conditions so that selection of items to be purchased is facilitated. The primary purpose of the OEE system, however, is to track uptime and identify reasons for stoppages in production, allowing corrective action to be taken.
The OEE system in the steel mill also provided the capability to track performance based on the load on a saw blade. The power consumption of the machine indicates that the blade is cutting a piece of steel and not running idle. Further, with knowledge of the lifetime of a blade as a function of operating conditions, it is possible to predict a likely blade break in operation, which, when it does occur, can ruin an entire run. The ability to change out saw blades has led to improved rates of production.
Future considerations for the company already include installation of a third OEE system based on Ignition. Discussions with personnel from the forge allowed PDA to describe the versatility and expandable nature of the Ignition software. It was pointed out that the system was, in fact, an entire SCADA system.
However, in its current capacity at the steel mill and at the forge, it serves as just an OEE system. A future project will be based on monitoring the electric, gas, and water utilities as well as the waste output from the buildings on one site.
Process and Data Automation (PDA) is proud to announce we have recently been Ignition 7.9 GOLD Certified. Ignition by Inductive Automation is the industry’s only server-centric industrial automation software platform with unlimited licensing, built for connecting industrial devices, databases, and business data together in one central location. Now, with the new Ignition version 7.9, they’ve made it easier than ever to get, see, maintain, and manage Ignition systems across our entire enterprise.
The Ignition Gold Level Certification Test covers more advanced features of Ignition: advanced architectures, tag historian and compression, redundancy, SQL databases, troubleshooting error messages, and more. PDA already was Ignition Core Certified which covers the basics of Ignition: architecture, real-time status and control, historical data logging, UDTs and templates, and alarming. It is designed to test your understanding and knowledge of Ignition.
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