What do you use to monitor an AB environment?

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Cajun Configurator Sean Terrell 1 year ago.

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  • #3335
    Jim Manley
    Jim Manley
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    Playing off comments on SCADA monitoring in the “General Automation Questions” some folks have made,  what sort of monitoring/alerting have you seen in AB environments?

    My question is driven by an event that occurred in my environment.  A bushing in a pump failed over the weekend.  The loss of liquid flow resulted in a chiller shutting down and the cooling system went off line for over 24 hours.

    Through serendipity, I just happened to be running a trend that included the water temperature of the cooling systems holding tank.  I noticed there was a problem when I popped up the trend on Monday morning.

    Coming from the data center world, I had all sorts of monitors/alerts in place to email/text/call me when this sort of thing happened.  I have no idea what’s available in the controls world to do the same job so I’m looking for suggestions.

    Thanks,

    Jim

    #3336
    Cajun Configurator
    Sean Terrell
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    Hi Jim,

    Alerts and alarms can be set up to trigger from literally anything. Those alarms from the PLC side can trigger alarm bits or status words to pass that data over to the SCADA side, and in virtually all cases the same can be done from the SCADA. What are you using for a SCADA? RS View?

    If you have the data at the SCADA already its very simple to set up an alarm trigger HI, HIHI, LO, LOLO all from the SCADA. I know with many web based SCADA systems like Ignition, alarms and notifiers can even be set up PER LOGIN, so that the watercooler filler guy or the coffee maker dude, can get a notification that the coffee is getting old, or getting cold, or the water bubbler needs a refill or whatever without the Coffee guy seeing the water guys alerts and vice versa

    Can you give some more specific info about what it is that you would want to do?

    #3338
    Jim Manley
    Jim Manley
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    I’m not sure what you mean by SCADA (seems different folks have different definitions) but my environment is AB hardware, Studio 5000 for PLC programming, FactoryTalk View Studio for HMI development, and FactoryTalk Historian/VantagePoint for history/audit/analytics.

     

     

     

     

    #3340
    Fred Graham
    Fred Graham
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    Hey Jim thought I’d chime in here.

    If you’re running a Historian, this is Rockwell’s “layer” or fancy name for a back-end database that has the facilities built-in to allow non-DB people to manipulate and interact with a database. It will also provide seamless connectivity to its FactoryTalk suite of products such as FactoryTalk SE. If you’re running FTV SE or FactoryTalk Historian SE then all of the functions you mention should be available to you.

    Sean made mention of Ignition. I’ve personally played around with Inductive Automation Ignition and it is very intuitive to use and of course has all of the functions you and Sean mention and most likely everything you will need to build a robust solution. The other nice thing is they offer very scalable packages to fit your budget. Their software is fully functional in a two-hour demo mode so you can build, stage, and test your application before you actually spend the money…kind of cool. I definitely recommend giving them a look.

    The third option is of course to build your own. I’ve actually just put a little article together C# HMI vs. Commercial HMI – Which One Is Best? (it’s still a work in progress) that talks about exactly this. I’m also embarking on a little YouTube series titled C# HMI if you want to have a look. Of course there are drawbacks to this which needs to be added into the article. One, you need a good command over higher level programming languages (i.e., C#, VB), and two you are building it from scratch (this is where Ignition and FTV take over some of the heavy lifting for you). Then there is the whole reliability issue as their systems are well-tried and tested. And let’s not forget about the whole “what if you get hit by a bus” scenario.

    It sounds like you may already have the “facilities” to do exactly what you want to do, you just have to do the deep-dive into the Historian literature and the FTV SE software it sounds like you already have. Again, I would say if what you have isn’t going to cut it, definitely check out Ignition and their Inductive University that is full of video resources to get you proficient with their tools.

    Hope that helps!

    #3356
    Jim Manley
    Jim Manley
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    Scooter –

    I just realized I didn’t answer your question.  (I hate it when I do that!).

    Specifically what I need to do is be able to alert the plant operations people via email and/or text when there is an “out of bounds” condition that needs attention.  In this case, when the temperature on the chilled water tank went above what is “normal” (in both time and temperature), an alert to plant ops would have gotten someone out to deal with the issue much sooner.

    This is just one of several scenarios I have discussed with the plant ops and production teams.

    Jim

    #3357
    Jim Manley
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    The local Rockwell reps hosted a one day session here at the distillery yesterday.  I sat in on a lot of it and got to talking with a couple of folks about this particular issue.  One person suggested I look at Win-911 as a potential solution.

    Any thoughts on that solution?

    #3359
    Cajun Configurator
    Sean Terrell
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    Hi Jim,

    I had not heard of win-911 however after taking a look it does seem like a pretty robust piece of software. However, Before making ANY purchase especially for the purpose of alarming and notifications, I would take a pretty hard look at the much broader picture.

    I am not familiar with your plant or site or office or industry or business, However in virtually every case that I have seen, and I readily profess that “every case” in that statement not a very large number, but in most cases, the business interest itself, the production goals and the operational ability of most projects are better served with a SCADA system.

    You need the ability to set up alarms and notifications, thats what YOU need. What about production? what do they need, how could they be served by the wider availability of all of the operational data? what about engineering? what do they need to better analyze real time data vs historical? what about logistics? what do they need and how could a material progress through production help them to better coordinate their output?

    To set up an alarm system that interoperates between your production machines, inherently means that the data is available. Not just to alarm or alert. Not just to track and chart for history and maintenance.

    Again Jim, I have no idea what your business actually does, how many machines, controllers, valves, or motors you are running / operating / functioning at any time. But for the price tag on win-911, I really believe there are MANY companies that can offer you a more comprehensive flexible and functional solution.

    OK… thats my please consider SCADA pitch, If all you want is alarming there are a number of options but I would, go with something that can be built upon or would easily integrate with a SCADA or machine learning in the event that the desire for supervisory control occurs someday.

    Check out Kepware Specifically, the Kepware OPC Alarm and Event plugin. Kepware is a very user friendly highly extensible OPC server (think of OPC as automation device centric data concentration software) that works very well with virtually ANY SCADA. The Alarm and Event Plugin allows alarms and events to be created on OPC tags, and multiple A&E clients to connect to the server.

    Ok so now you have an OPC and you can make anything alarm, there are dozens of OPC alarm clients out there that can provide all of the operability you could possibly need.

    Or you could build your own notifiers and clients Kepware comes with some very robust Visual Studio integration. Their C# examples are super well documented and show your exactly how to build your programs and notifiers.

    As far as for delivery Twilo would work nicely for SMS actually I think there is a Twilo Plugin directly from Kepware, and there is an email notifier that also runs right in the A&E QC

    That would be my limited and likely short sighted opinion.

     

    – Scooter

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