Treatment plant MAPS the right route to efficiency
Published: 5 August 2013 - Heather Ramsden
A waste water treatment plant and four association purification plants in the East of Ireland have been able to reduce ongoing operating costs by installing Mitsubishi Electric automation components.
The project involved taking particularly diverse performance requirements into account as well as increasing energy efficiency and optimising the transfer of data amongst other things.
An essential part of the current integrated solution is the Mitsubishi Adroit Process Suite – MAPS for short – which is used to accurately track and control all process stages and systems remotely.
In Ireland, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) keeps a close eye on businesses in order to make sure that its environmental protection requirements are strictly adhered to. The method used to do this is based on a special reporting procedure that provides information on current processes. In order to ensure that all the requirements are met, operators must be kept informed regarding ongoing processes at all times.
However, both the processes – waste water treatment and purification – are highly decentralised and the previous infrastructure was not designed to allow the high-speed transfer of data. As a result, regular time-consuming visits were made to the plants on a daily basis. By means of collaboration with Mitsubishi Electric, the aim was not only to improve the efficiency of data transfer but also to reduce the energy consumption at the plants – as much as possible – in order to save on resources and bring down costs.
An integrated automation solution was installed by Mitsubishi Electric integration partner, DDC Ltd, comprising of the Mitsubishi Electric iQ control platform, various frequency inverters and GOT series HMI’s. The solution was designed and visualised using the Mitsubishi Adroit Process Suite (MAPS), an integrated documentation management application with diagnostic and maintenance tools. With this, the data archived by MAPS is prepared centrally and clearly displayed to the user via the Adroit SCADA Intelligence Suite (ASI). Communication between the local pumping stations and the central plant is conducted via a GPRS network.
Reduced engineering costs
Engineering, commissioning and maintenance costs can be reduced considerably by installing MAPS. This involves combining three basic tasks within the construction of the plant – the programming of the PLC, the development of the process control application and the creation and updating of documentation.
The MAPS library contains preassembled modules – known as “templates” – for doing this. In the case of the water and waste water industry, the templates relate to automation objects such as pumps, valves, tanks and flow meters. The faceplate, i.e. the graphic representation, alarms, the data archiving for the object in question, tags for the process control system, as well as a list of all the digital and analogue inputs and outputs used in the program are included in a template in accordance with the processes displayed in the controller.
The result is an efficient PLC program, a process control application in which alarms, trends, data archiving and faceplates are generated along with a list of the inputs and outputs used. By means of collaboration with Adroit Technologies, a partner within the Mitsubishi Electric e-F@ctory Alliance with expertise in PC-based visualisation systems, customer-specific templates were created for use at the Irish waste water treatment and purification plant. After verification had been successfully completed, the full commissioning of four small to medium-sized purification plants was carried out in less than a week. It is highly unlikely that the commissioning of the plants could have been carried out in such record time if conventional engineering tools had been used.
Secure remote access
Modern communication solutions, remote control concepts and flexible data management mean that the plant operators are now able to visualise the status of all the parts of the plant from a central location at any time. All the data required is archived automatically, which has meant dispensing with local data collection costs as plant values are checked remotely.
In the process, Windows Security ensures that only authorised persons are able to access the system by managing users and groups.
Local GOT operator terminals from Mitsubishi Electric, which are used for the monitoring and manual control of the individual stations, bring transparency to the functional sequences and enable process-oriented dialogue between operator and plant.
Alarms are displayed immediately within the control room via the centralised alarm system. If a problem arises the system sends a text message to the the service team via standard mobile data terminals within a very short time so that they are able to react quickly and thus save on resources and reduce down times.
Adroit SCADA Intelligence Suite
Besides the need to archive data, all information occurring has to be presented as clearly as possible so that the operators can react quickly. In the plant in Ireland, the Adroit SCADA Intelligence Suite (ASI) looks after the preparation of data. The database is searched at regular intervals for relevant information which is then put into a specific context.