Our client operated thousands of assets like pumps, tanks, generators, and other equipment spread out over a large geographic area. Over the years, new equipment had been installed from a variety of vendors using a wide range of automation technologies. Data collection was a challenge due to varying PLCs, HMIs, and communication protocols, as well as many unconnected assets. As a result, data was stranded in spreadsheets and home-grown database applications which made enterprise level system performance analysis difficult and delayed reporting.
Our client needed one common SCADA platform to bring enterprise data together in a common location and in a standardized format. The goal of this project was to develop an enterprise data platform architecture and pilot the system at a single site location. Emphasis was placed on standardizing the tag structure and screen visualizations for each asset type, consistently historizing data, providing remote alarming, creating a mobile interface for field operations, and providing enterprise level reporting and dashboarding for management.
After evaluating several software platforms, we chose Inductive Automation’s Ignition 8.0 for this enterprise level system. Ignition’s data-centric model and unlimited client licensing structure provide the foundation for a functional and scalable system. The central enterprise architecture includes network connections to each site, remote tag providers from each site, and a local database for application data. Each site has a local database containing application and historical data. The enterprise level system obtains historized data via the remote tag provider connections.
The Ignition Vision module was used to develop all desktop user interfaces, creating a standard template for future site additions. An Enterprise user can drill down to any asset or site through a well-organized navigational structure and view real-time process data at several specified organizational levels. Enterprise level users can also view high-level dashboards with aggregated data for assets, sites, site areas, or devices. At the site’s local Ignition 8.0 installation, users can view all process screens, dashboards, and real-time data associated with that particular site.
A user-friendly mobile app was developed using the Ignition 8.0 Perspective Module, which functions on the enterprise-level to aggregate data from individual sites to a user’s mobile device. Perspective templates were built for all mobile screens with consistency in color, style, and layout for every asset. Since Perspective uses HTML5, the application runs on a web browser session with clean graphics and mobile responsive screen resizing for seamless operator experience. Perspective also allows managers to look at high level data while still being able to drill down to see specific device data. The app provides user authentication and component security, tag read/write capability and control, and ability to view and acknowledge alarms. Using Perspective’s integrated geolocation feature, we developed a method to organize alarms based on the alarming devices’ distance from a user’s mobile device. This provides information and alerts to each operator using their location and proximity to each asset.
Benefits Received by Client:
The enterprise level system was installed and a pilot project was developed for one geographic area. All assets in this area are now connected together into a common database, and the information needs of both management and operators are met. Management can view high level performance information using dashboards available from their desktop or phones. Operations can view individual asset process and performance data and they receive real time alerts for any problems. Everyone on the team is operating with the same set of information presented in a way that makes sense to their role. Most importantly, a scalable SCADA platform is in place capable of building out the remainder of the enterprise and providing a common standard as new equipment is added in the years to come.