February 2011, Vol. 238 No. 2


Remote Monitoring Applications Profitably Feed SCADA Systems

Reliable remote monitoring applications for cathodic protection and other assets are available today to feed a pipeline SCADA system and increase operational efficiency, according to Finland’s FF-Automation. The company is a manufacturer of remote terminal units (RTUs) and supplier of supervisory and control and data acquisition (SCADA) solutions.

According to the company, remote monitoring systems deliver rapid payback. They offer other benefits that include 1) optimized assets performance, 2) reduced incidents, 3) longer asset life, 4) broadly shared knowledge, 5) better worker safety and 6) lower carbon emissions.

The remote monitoring system collects field measurements automatically from all sites. Information is stored in centralized database servers. The monitoring system can reduce measurement recording cycle time from two months to a few minutes or hours.

Collected field measurements are analyzed automatically and alarms are generated if values exceed defined alarm limits. Alarms can be seen in alarm views and can be automatically forwarded by e-mail or mobile telephone to maintenance personnel. Site malfunctions can be identified immediately and repair actions can be started before the malfunction leads to a critical defect.

Modern monitoring systems share the collected information in graphical trend and table data format for any authorized participant. Graphical interfaces can be seen with a normal web browser from any PC in the company’s Intranet.

Users in different offices and work places can browse the latest and historical field measurements and alarm information on their desktop PCs. Shared information increases important field knowledge in the company. Data can be used, for example, for analyzing, reporting and supervising performance. The monitoring system also records useful information like site locations on a map, site identifiers and device manufacturers.

Cathodic Protection Monitoring
The company says its AutoLog Cathodic Protection (CP) monitoring system monitors each rectifier’s impressed current, voltage and – optionally – pipe-to-soil potential. The RTU performs CP rectifier measurements and sends data to a centralized SCADA server via base station and backhaul network.

From the SCADA application, users can see rectifier locations on the map, alarms from abnormal situations and measurements in history trend lines. Measurements and alarms are stored in the SCADA server’s SQL database. Optionally, the SCADA server also can send alarms to the operator’s e-mails and mobile phones.

The system shows historical CP currents and voltages in trends. This information can be used to supervise and tune the CP system to optimal performance.

The system can communicate using radio modems, GSM modems, RS-485, TETRA and TCP/IP Ethernet network. FF-Automation says it can supply all communication equipment including modems, antennas and lightning arrestors.

Several hundred of the company’s CP protection RTUs are used in harsh and hot desert environments as well as cold climates in many destinations in the world. The company says its RTUs (sometimes RMUs, meaning remote monitoring units) have IP56 stainless steel outdoor enclosures or a custom enclosure.

Each RTU is equipped with local HMI (local display unit) and has five additional digital inputs and outputs for monitoring and controlling accessories like burglar alarms. Cabin temperature is monitored continuously using on-board temperature sensor. The RTUs can be programmed locally or remotely.

The company says it has been designing and manufacturing remote monitoring and controlling systems since 1976 and has a strong team to work with the customer. It says it can also design and manufacture special hardware and software solutions for your applications like controlling rectifier current and voltages remotely, wireless CP transducers, GPS power interruption, solar powered rectifiers etc.

The firm says it can arrange local training for installation and maintenance groups and it can make FAT tests before delivery under customers’ supervision and local site acceptance tests (SAT). The spare parts guarantee is for 10 years.

Click for a closeup of the diagram of AutoLog Cathodic Protection Monitoring System For Saudi Aramco.
[inline:AutoLog Cathodic Protection Monitoring System For Saudi Aramco]

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