Reacquired us to fit multiple ESDs on approximately 50 regional sites. Much of the code we found on site was non-standard code. Widely different range of hardware used at each site. The work was very regional.
Good morning. My name is Matt. Today I’m going to be giving a case study on behalf of Australian Control Engineering. This was a project we did with a water utility company here in Australia. This project required us to fit multiple ESDs on approximately 50 regional sites around the place.
These were all required for water purification processes. These are ESDs, or emergency shutdown devices. They are effectively used to shut down the system if there’s any chlorine gas leak detected. Chlorine gas leak can, of course, cause some serious problems, both the in health, both environmental and the equipment on site.
So, we definitely don’t want that. The hardware on sites ranges from old legacy equipment all the way through to modern PLC devices. This project had us working in collaboration with a subcontractor in order to install the actual physical ESDs on site. While ACE took on the role of programming the PLCs, the HMIs and the SCADA System associated with it.
All documentation such as FCDs and operator manuals these had to be prepared individually for each and every site. ACE took care of them and it definitely proved to challenge at some points. There were three main challenges faced during this project.
The first challenge being that much of the code we found on site was non-standard code. We were led to believe from the beginning that there were going to be three or four different versions of code spread throughout the region. This did not end up being the case. Yes, there were three or four base codes, but the vast majority of sites had additional changes on top of those codes. This caused us some issues.
Our second issue was the widely different range of hardware used at each site. Not only did we have differences in age. Some old legacy devices like no longer supported by manufacturers, some being brand new, state of they are devices. The secondary issue with that was brands. There was not a uniform brand of PLC gear on site. We had a mixture of Schneider PLCs, Siemens PLCs and a few sites, some other smaller brands as well.
The third and final major challenge we faced was the fact that the work was very regional. We had sites spanning all the way from Albany all the way out to Leonora, for those who are familiar with Western Australia.
This meant we had to do long drives and often losing phone and internet signal. Meaning support and assistance from other engineers when needed could be very hard to source in terms of finding solutions to each of these problems.
The first issue of having non-standard site code we ended up treating each site as having unique code. This assumption ended up paying off. As it turned out, only a very small amount of sites actually did have standard code. By making this assumption, we created custom solutions for each and every site. We had to bring on extra staff to do this, but that was a requirement in order to meet the deadline and get all documentation out to a good standard.
The solution to our second problem of the range of hardware on site. There were quite a range of hardware on site. I’ve got a list right here. A pretty decent list, but not completely extensive. We had 535 RTUs. We had eNets, Koyo DL405 PLCs we had C-more OIPs, GE Quick Panels. We had Siemens PLCs and Schneider M580 PLCs. Just to name a quick summary. To deal with this, we had to reach out to our engineers within the office. We have a large range of skills here, and we’re able to cover the entire knowledge base required.
Some engineers, of course, they didn’t have all of this knowledge. As an individual but to make sure this didn’t become an issue each engineer heading out to site they had an engineer in the office who knew the hardware that was expected on site who could give support on the day.
We also ensured that each and every engineer got a custom cable kit. We custom made a whole range of cables which were expected to be required for any hardware that they could be expected to find on site with this, the final challenge we face of having regional sites the average distance of our sites were approximately 400 km away from our CBD office.
This posed a great challenge in just even getting to sites. Many of the sites were in very small towns and quite close together meaning that some driving was going to be needed and flying to these small towns was not really of viable option. Due to this, a series of road trips were planned out.
This did pose a risk to the safety of our engineers due to driving being one of the most dangerous things we do. To counter this, we implemented a new software used to track solo workers during their regional trips. This software not only tracked our workers, but it also allowed them to check in at regular intervals as they were driving.
Workers were given retraining on these base key principles of health and safety to ensure everyone was up to date on what they can do to stay safe on the roads. Despite these challenges, the project was a great access. All required sites had complete functionality from field device all the way back to SCADA.
Due to ACE’s efforts and vital input from the client, these important safety devices were put into place and improved the water security of Australia’s future. To summarize this case study, ace was hired to install emergency shutdown devices for water treatment plants across regional Australia. The documentation we provided during this included FCDs, I/O list, test documentation and operator manuals.
All of this work was conducted in house, with a sole exception that we were working alongside the client’s electricians in order to wire in the actual ESD devices. ACE did not hire any subcontractors for this role as we had all the skills in house. If you require Ace’s services at any point, please do reach out.
Australian Control Engineering is specialised in operation technology network audit, automation design and implementation for utilities industry. If you would like to learn more about our capability and understand how we can help you accelerate your results, please Contact us.