The upgrade of Acsa's infrastructure monitoring and control system (IMCS) was installed by software automation company Process Control and Integration Technology. The benefits of the upgrade range from lower licensing fees, to better alarming functionality, prevention of data loss, in case of a server failure, and increased availability of information.
This system's functions range from applications such as controlling lifts and escalators to providing historical data for management reports, such as how many times a lift has broken down over a specified period.
The project primarily involved upgrading the existing system to Rockwell Automation's FactoryTalk View supervisory control and data acquisition (Scada) package.
"Rockwell Automation's FactoryTalk View's main benefit is that it is a much more stable platform than the previous generation Scada software," explains Process Control and Integration Technology's Ulrich Brahim.
"The network capabilities allow it to be distributed further with greater reliability than before. Direct reference tags, as part of Rockwell Automation's integrated architecture approach, also offer huge benefits, ranging from faster installation times to reduction of human error and more efficient system operation. Another benefit was that the migration from RSview32 to FactoryTalk View was a seamless process and reduced the engineering time considerably.
"The support from Rockwell Automation during this intense project was excellent," says Brahim. "The company's software department assisted us throughout installation and their technical help desk was also very pro-active with regard to any problems experienced."
Acsa's IMCS consists of many stand-alone systems that individually monitor and control different sub-systems. Each sub-system gathers information from the monitored variable and the information from the IMCS servers is then displayed graphically, while also being logged and processed. All these sub-systems are interconnected using various protocols and network topologies.
Information is gathered using different network types, such as Ethernet, DH485, Modbus and Profibus. The servers and all the main controllers are connected using Ethernet. DH485 is mainly used where a connection between two or more controllers is necessary, while Modbus and Profibus are used in the case were the controllers are connected to third-party devices. All programmable logic controllers are Allen-Bradley programmable logic controllers, using software such as Rockwell Automation's RSLogix 500 to function and integrate with the overall system. All existing controllers are in the process of being changed over to the ControlLogix software platform, in line with the Integrated Architecture approach.
"FactoryTalk View's redundancy capability means that data loss in case of a server failure is no longer a problem. The data and human machine interface (HMI) servers can be configured for full redundancy," Brahim explains. "The software package now allows the system to gather data related to availability, downtime and mean time to repair Acsa makes extensive use of this data in its monthly performance reports. And, due to FactoryTalk View's central alarm and data logging functions, the alarm functionality is easily configured with greater reliability. The cost saving on license fees was on average about 25%."
Acsa systems and support head of department, Tessa Clase, says the ease of use and seamless connectivity to clients have been the most impressive features of the new system. Data reliability through redundancy measures, data precision and variety and integration across reporting platforms have transformed the overall system into a modernday tool upon which the company relies heavily on a daily basis.