Project: Baton Rouge Wastewater Pump Station SCADA System 9/27/05
September 27, 2005
Last week, chance meetings with maintenance personnel reviewing the
Phase II drawings indicated that there were numerous scope and technical
issues to be resolved. Left unaddressed, we could find ourselves in a
position that no matter how well we performed on the contract, the city
would be unhappy.
To address this problem, we helped the city develop a punch list of their concerns.
Discussion of the rebid of Phase I and this list became the agenda for our
meeting with city maintenance personnel and the primary engineering consultant.
It was agreed that employing standard Ethernet communications is the
preferred architecture. The primary consultant expressed a strong
preference for RTU and local HMI units to be selected from among the major PLC
manufacturers, for reasons of reliability and support. Our experience has been that a
large installed base is the most important barometer of future hardware support.
We have found that the biggest problem for our customers with local HMI
systems is their short design life--typically 5 to 10 years is the average HMI life span before
a complete software redesign is required for the next generation of hardware and/or software.
For local HMI devices, it is now possible to buy
commoditized WinCE-based touchscreen displays that will run WinCE versions
of graphical interface programs from several major HMI software vendors.
Using this platform, the local and main SCADA HMI systems can be designed to
maintain the same look and feel, lowering the learning curve for operators.