The problems inherent in bringing fresh water to communities have been in the news in recent times. Aging infrastructure, poor filtration, pollution and lack of adequate controls can lead to unhealthy conditions and undersupply.
The town of Tega Cay, South Carolina (population 8,000), turned to Siemens integrator Kinard Control Systems to provide its citizens with a reliable, stable, and cost-effective supply of fresh water. The solution was built upon a series of pumps, sensors and controls systems using the Siemens SIMATIC S7-1200 controller, TIA Portal, and WinCC. This resulted in a reliable source of fresh water for inhabitants based upon a modern system that will serve the community for decades to come.
Water Supply Upgrade
To cut costs and build for the future, Tega Cay elected to transform its entire water supply configuration. It decided to buy water from a less expensive secondary source. The town called upon Kinard Control to provide the technology and know-how to realize its vision. This entailed the construction, control and monitoring of new water tanks and booster pumping stations, some of which are many miles apart. Pumps are used to transfer water from the secondary fresh water source, fill the tanks and deliver it to consumers on demand.
To provide system connectivity, Brian Kinard, President of Kinard Control, proposed a radio telemetry communications system. It uses radio waves for transmitting instrumentation data. This links to the Siemens WinCC supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system for end-to-end remote monitoring and control in real time.
“The SCADA system allows operators to change setpoints,” said Kinard. “Cut-on and cut-off points can be modified, and all the trending information can be analyzed.”
The company configured a solution to span four different locations consisting of pumps, sensors, and Siemens S7-1200 programmable logic controllers (PLCs) connected through a panel developed by Kinard engineers. The system oversees two new booster pumps that feed existing above-ground water tanks. The network of sites transmit data to each other and to the master Siemens Human Machine Interface (HMI) for precise control over water supply operations.
The addition of the Siemens HMI component necessitated reprogramming. However, Kinard noted that Siemens made a wealth of libraries and modules available that the company had developed from other successful solutions. Using a tool from the Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) Portal, a unified engineering framework from Siemens, Kinard implemented any changes in the program rapidly.
“I started at 9 o’clock in the morning, and by 12 o’clock I had the entire system reprogrammed because I was able to use those libraries,” he said. “I could drag and drop from other systems we had programmed. If we had to start the process from scratch without the libraries, the very same work would have taken a week.”
Technology from Siemens improved project development and deployment speed in many other ways. The Siemens S7-1200 controller hosts a web page, which enables access through any browser on device. As a result, troubleshooting could be performed remotely and over the web if desired. Tega Cay personnel can now log into the system using a WebUX client. This made remote troubleshooting and access a simple matter.
A further feature of the Siemens TIA Portal is that it triggers a search for the PLC and automatically adds the appropriate IP addresses through a secondary Domain Name Server (DNS). This allows developers to access all resources needed when rolling out a new solution. This takes place automatically in the background without having to involve time from the engineer.
“I don’t have to change my IP address back and forth in order to accomplish tasks,” said Kinard. “The Siemens software designers have clearly incorporated the Siemens extensive field experience to help greatly simplify the IPS address issuance task.”
Kinard engineers augmented this controls infrastructure with precise placement of sensors and instrumentation to accurately diagnose problems. For example, if a valve becomes sticky or a pressure spike makes pipes leak, issues are discovered and fixed rapidly. Configuring the water supply network was made easy by the fact that the S7-1200 comes with a great many CPU options. They can also be expanded with a variety of communication modules, signal boards, and signal modules to fit machine requirements. These controllers come with integrated security in the form of comprehensive access, copy and manipulation protection. As a result, Tega Cay achieved its water availability goals while reducing operational costs. Water customers now see lower water bills.
For more information, visit siemens.com/s7-1200.
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