Hastings-based CR Automation – an integration specialist with an extensive track record in control and monitoring solutions for the water and wastewater industries – has become Schneider Electric’s latest telemetry partner.
While CR Automation’s client base is diverse – industry sectors range from Food & Beverage to timber – it has a particular expertise in the water and wastewater industries.
“Most of our work in this sector involves Councils,” says owner Peter Richards. “We’ve designed and installed control and monitoring equipment at a large number of facilities around the North Island.
“There’s a growing movement among Councils to streamline the monitoring and control functions of their plants – treatment and pump stations, reservoirs, bore holes – and connect them via telemetry so that they can be viewed and operated remotely from central control facilities.
“Being able to monitor the plants 24/7 eliminates the need to maintain a large complement of engineers and technicians who often travel vast distances to physically inspect these plants. Remote monitoring and control is not only far more efficient but also translates into a more reliable infrastructure and improved Health Safety Security and Environment statistics.”
Though every plant has specific network requirements, CR Automation’s telemetry solutions are based on a common platform: Schneider Electric’s Wonderware SCADA system and a communication infrastructure comprising Radio over Ethernet.
“In most cases,” says Peter, “we are layering the new SCADA equipment over the top of the Councils’ existing IT hardware. Thanks to Wonderware’s user-friendly interface and the open Ethernet protocol, integration with a Council’s existing servers is relatively seamless – compatibility issues are exceptionally rare.”
The radio communication system includes Schneider Electric’s Trio Licensed Radio Units, interfaced to SCADAPack Remote Terminal Units (RTUs). The radios operate over licensed UHF frequencies, which provides ownership and exclusive use of data across the frequencies and ensures total data integrity.
“An advantage of the SCADAPack Smart RTUs,” says Peter, “is their use of the DNP3 (distributed network protocol) that is also natively time and date stamped. This enables a data buffering capability and prevents any data being lost if there is any loss of communication. The system continues to capture and buffer the data and then releases it when the communication link is recovered.”
A key part of the new installation is the alarm facility.
“Monitoring the levels in facilities such as reservoirs and bore wells is critical – as is the functioning of pump stations. Previously, a dangerously low water level at a facility might remain undetected until an interruption of supply occurred or someone happened to go along and check it. Now, any problems are immediately conveyed to operations crews via SMS, email or app notification to their smart phones and devices”.
Because all the critical data points are logged on the SCADA system’s Historian function, all events are time- and date-stamped. This, says Peter, make it easy for crews to review and analyse patterns in plant reliability and, if necessary, amend maintenance schedules.
“Compliance issues around drinking water standards, for example, are directly impacted by the ability to monitor facilities. The new technology – monitoring the plants in real time – makes it much easier for Council to check on reservoirs and respond far more quickly if there is a problem.”
Being a Schneider Electric telemetry partner, says Peter, has obvious advantages.
“For us it means having access to quality, proven equipment. This provides added credibility and gives us an edge when we’re submitting tenders to new clients. They know they will be getting a reliable solution from a trusted supplier.
“For Schneider Electric, it means entrusting its technology to an integration company recognised for its expertise. We would never compromise the brand.
“Radio Telemetry is a vital component for the water and wastewater industries. It underpins the move by these industries to become cleaner, safer, more reliable and energy efficient, while remaining competitive and profitable. “The technology we’re installing delivers an easy, proven solution.”
For more information, contact Schneider Electric on 0800 652 999