Opto 22 systems automate Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport

Temecula, Calif. - Opto 22, a developer and manufacturer of I/O systems for data acquisition and control, has had its serial control hardware selected by Minnesota Control Company for a large-scale automation project involving several key plumbing-related systems installed at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (MSP).


Temecula, Calif. - Opto 22 , a developer and manufacturer of I/O systems for data acquisition and control, has had its serial control hardware selected by Minnesota Control Company for a large-scale automation project involving several key plumbing-related systems installed at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (MSP).

Minnesota Control Company specializes in system integration, industrial automation, product design, and control panel building for customers in several industries including water control, water filtration, and wastewater treatment. The company is using a collection of Opto 22's serial products including the G4-B1s and SNAP-LCM4s (with fiber optic repeaters) for the automation and monitoring of the MSP's domestic and retail hot water supply. This same hardware is also used in the valet parking lot's automated car wash to monitor and ensure that the hot water and soap levels are adequate.

Other systems at the MSP now automated and controlled by Opto 22 hardware include the aircraft waste grinder systems which are used to treat all wastewater from the aircraft's chemical toilet holding tanks as well as the terminal's waste cutoff control system. In this application, the Opto system is used to sense fault conditions and can immediately shut down all sewer and water supply lines should emergency conditions occur. "Having a backup safety system like this in place not only ensures our regulatory compliance but also gives all of us a little more peace of mind," says Tim Fox, MSP's foreman of Plumbing Facilities.

Minnesota Control Company has also deployed Opto G4 I/O systems and SNAP-LCSX controllers for MSP to monitor floor drains on the roofs of all the airport buildings. "Standing water is a problem on any flat roof," says Mike Behsmann, president of Minnesota Control Company. "Even though the airport buildings all have heated roofs, when the snow up there melts, you have to have some kind of system in place to ensure proper drainage and prevent flooding and water damage."

Similar to the roof monitoring equipment, the same technology was modified and used in numerous catch basins, underground tunnels, and service pits underneath elevator shafts throughout the airport. In these underground areas, Opto22's the SNAP hardware monitors the sump pump system and other critical processes and equipment.

Future plans call for the MSP to construct two new concourses for which Minnesota Control will need to supply two domestic hot water systems, one waste grinder system, and four more sump pump monitoring and control systems. To meet these requirements, as well as the challenge of automating the airport's baggage handling and snowmelting equipment, Mr. Behsmann plans on gradually moving towards Opto 22's line of Ethernet products. "SNAP Ethernet just offers so much more in terms of faster communication and connectivity options for automation, control and remote monitoring types of applications," he states.

Founded in 1974, Opto 22 is a manufacturer of industrial automation products that harness the power of the computer and other commercially available technologies. Opto 22 provides low-cost hardware and software products for a broad range of applications including data acquisition, remote monitoring, discrete manufacturing, and process control. All Opto 22 products are manufactured in the U.S. at the company's headquarters in Temecula, California, and are available through a global network of distributors, system integrators, OEMs, and directly through Opto 22's Web site.

Minnesota Control Company is a private corporation serving customers in the areas of system integration, process control, industrial automation, and electrical and mechanical engineering.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Gary A. Mintchell, senior editor

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