OPC DataHub Connects New and Existing Systems

Oct. 28, 2008
BP Pipelines chooses OPC DataHub from Cogent Real-Time Systems to connect via ODBC a real-time SCADA database to a new leak detection system.

BP Pipelines operates one of the largest networks of pipelines in the United States, transporting over 450 million barrel-miles of petrochemicals per day. Its control center in Tulsa, Okla., is responsible for the transport of oil and natural gas from South-Central and Midwest oil fields to locations nationwide.

Recently the management at the Tulsa control center decided to add leak detection to its SCADA system to monitor pipeline leakage. The SCADA system, by Telvent, gathers data from production systems and stores it in a Sybase database that has been modified for real-time applications. The challenge was to feed process data from Sybase database to the leak detection system, which had available an OPC server.

“We tried for months to find an OPC server that would communicate via ODBC to the real-time Sybase product,” said Chuck Amsler, Team Leader for SCADA Applications at BP Pipelines. “It was an old version of ODBC, and we just couldn’t get at the data. None of the applications we tried could do it.”

Finally Amsler called Cogent Real-Time Systems to see if there was some way the OPC DataHub could be used to make the connection. After a few hours of consulting with Cogent’s technical staff, he had a DataHub script that supports a connection to the Telvent system and queries the Sybase database. With his process data reaching the OPC DataHub, it was just a matter of bridging the data to the leak detection system’s OPC server. Now the data flows from Telvent to the leak detection system reliably and consistently.

“Once we saw how easy it was for the OPC DataHub to make the connection,” said Amsler, “we decided to use it to log the results.” With Cogent’s help, he wrote another script to transfer the leak detection calculations back to an Oracle database for eventual re-use by the SCADA system.

The DataHub scripts give a large degree of flexibility for customization. On the Sybase side, there are actually two servers running, one hot and the other for backup. The system can switch from hot to backup at any time. For every query, the script tests for which server is hot, and always reads from the correct server.

On the Oracle side, dynamic scripting allows members of Amsler’s team to modify the logging process even while the system is running. They can add, delete or change data points that qualify the basic pipeline data, without breaking the connection or interfering with the logging.

“We are very impressed with the overall quality of the OPC DataHub,” said Amsler, “and with the level of support from Cogent. We look forward to working with them as we move from data gathering to the next stages of the project.”

The OPC DataHub is a highly optimized integration tool for real-time data. It provides quick, reliable and secure access to valuable process and production data and makes it available to management systems, database archives, and remote clients. Combining a number of innovative technologies, the OPC DataHub makes it easy to access the real-time data needed to make informed and timely decisions that save time, reduce waste, and increase profitability.

Founded in 1995, Cogent Real-Time Systems is a leader in real-time data integration between Windows, Linux and QNX systems. Customers include the Bank of Canada, Cadbury Chocolate and the European Space Agency.

For more information, please contact Cogent at [email protected], visit our web site at www.opcdatahub.com, call us at +1 (905) 702 7851

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