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OPC Historian Captures Environmental Reporting Data

A trending software package from Canary Labs uses OPC DA to capture control system data and environmental emissions data to satisfy Title V permit compliance for a Wyoming cement manufacturer.

Aw 4514 Canary

Mountain Cement Company (MCC) operates a two-kiln, 800,000-ton-per-year plant in Laramie, Wyoming. During preparation of reports required by its Title V permit, MCC began exploring how the data reported by the continuous emissions monitoring systems and continuous opacity monitoring systems could be improved and streamlined. Efforts proved successful, and resulted in a new data acquisition and handling system (DAHS) that provides reliable, real-time data and reports for Title V permit compliance. 

A trending package from Canary Labs, based in Martinsburg, Pa., had been installed and implemented at MCC to address a separate information/control system challenge. Canary Labs utilized the OPC Data Access (DA) communication protocol between its servers and the MCC process logic controllers (PLC), which enabled it to be a plug-and-play software package for logging and trending production data. 

After using Canary Labs software for a few months, it was quickly apparent how powerful the software was. In 2006, MCC consulted the software designers at Canary Labs about the possibility of developing programs to address the environmental reporting needs of the plant. What was discovered was that Canary Labs’ technique in historical data management was almost flawless and perfect for the emissions reporting and records management requirements. 

For each kiln system, MCC used the following environmental monitoring equipment:

  • 1 – Teledyne/Monitor Labs (ML) SO2 and NOx continuous emissions monitor
  • 2 – ML continuous opacity monitors (one for kiln stack, one for clinker cooler stack)
  • 1 – Pitot-tube or ultrasonic flow meter
  • 1 – Oxygen sensor

MCC instrumentation and electrical personnel worked diligently to connect all of the environmental-related signals (flow, temperature, opacity, etc.) to the PLCs, so the data could be appropriately stored and managed. “Instead of hand typing the data, the Canary system collects and computes the environmental data we need, saving us a lot of time,” says Steve Cooley, environmental manager for MCC. 

Although Canary Labs did not provide a traditional environmental DAHS, MCC and its consultant, Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber (FTC&H), were able to work with Canary Labs’ software engineers to develop a custom application for the facility. This required coordination of MCC’s instrumentation group, FTC&H’s regulatory knowledge, and Canary Labs’ developers. 

Notes Michele Buckler, environmental consultant with FTG&H, “Canary is providing real-time environmental compliance data trends and rolling averages for the first time in our history. It has also greatly simplified data management and reporting activities for this plant.” 

This new OPC application:

  • Met the raw and calculated data storage requirements of MCC’s air permit.
  • Provided real-time values and trends of the instantaneous and averaged data to operations personnel.
  • Alerted control-room operators to excess emission events and provided the ability to simultaneously record the causes and corrective actions taken into the database.
  • Provided on-demand reports detailing excess emission events, kiln operating time, calculated percentage of time in excess, etc.
  • Allowed MCC to export data in a customized form to an Excel spreadsheet.

The end result was a data historian, trending, and reporting system that met the needs of MCC’s Title V permit and its operations personnel. Comments Nathan Morris, automation engineer, “Canary Labs trending package has provided innovative real time techniques for tracking quality control and production. This has resulted in increased productivity and equipment reliability. The bottom line is the software helps to ensure a safe work environment for our employees.”
For more information on OPC-based solutions from Canary Labs, visit

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