Remote Monitoring: Water District Welcomes SCADA Upgrade

Aug. 3, 2012
Southern California-based Western Municipal Water District (WMWD) recently upgraded five water treatment plants and 80 satellite sites with new SCADA software that offers out-of-the box remote monitoring functionality.

Two reoccurring issues we are seeing in U.S. manufacturing are modernization projects and aging infrastructure, and in Riverside, Calif., the Western Municipal Water District (WMWD) faced the former with a fifteen-year old SCADA system. The muliple systems within the water district lacked unified communication channels and produced inefficient management of more than 28 billions gallons of water each year.

"The five main facilities and their separate platforms were a complete mish-mash. They had a mix of older, third party SCADA software and proprietary Manufacturing Executions Systems (MES)," says Chris McLaughlin, dir. of operations, Trimax, Inc (www.trimaxsystems). WWMD recommended that Trimax, a calif-based system integrator with nearly three decades of industrial control and electrical engineering experience, review Calif-based Inductive Automation's ( SCADA platform, called Ignition.

Before evaluating Ignition, Trimax decided to put together a 14-point SCADA software evaluation paper (visit to recognize what functionality and features would be ideal in any SCADA software platform. 

Two essential requirements for any new SCADA system were web-based clients with unlimited licenses—#5 from the evaluation list—and a relatively new platform. McLaughlin says, "Inductive Automation developed the software in the last eight years, so it's relatively fresh. The platform is written in JAVA, offers secure Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and can hook into other software pretty easily." After Trimax's evaluation, WWMD choose the Ignition SCADA software platform.   

After a master SCADA plan was created by Trimax, the first implementation was the West Riverside County Regional Wastewater Authority plant (WRCRWA). This plant produces 8 million gallons of water per day and performs high-level water treatment. Its specific pain points included logging issues, outdated graphics, a lack of remote access, SCADA screen visibility for IT, and reporting and trending were not getting back to operations.

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"Straight out of the box, Ignition software is remote-access capable," McLaughlin adds. The software allows operators to use SCADA functionality from any computer workstation in the office, field operator interface terminals (OITs) and mobile devices: smartphone or tablet. Ignition can also run on Windows, Mac or a Linux operating systems,

For this initial installation, Trimax also replaced the dated OITs with Phoenix Contact's ( Valueline Industrial PCs. The new industrial PCs allowed operators to control all I/O connected to the SCADA system within the plant. Other key features of the SCADA software at WRCWRA include customizable reporting, an object-oriented development environment, modular components, unlimited tags and clients, comes with a designer and historian, and alarms dial-outs. Security is addressed with two separate logins, one into a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and another for the SCADA system. Trimax says the WRCWRA installation took eight months, due to the large amount of data. 

Sources: Phoenix ContactInductive Automation 

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