Remote reporting & data logging system

NC Automation Engineering CC is an automation project house established in Johannesburg since 1988 and dedicated to quality solutions. They were approached by a customer who wanted to monitor the long term performance of a number of electrical steam boilers all over Natal. The customer was currently using a number of laptop computers with custom written software which were left on site to interrogate the boiler controller and log certain measurements at a regular interval. The laptop computer would have to be dropped off and fetched a few weeks later from sites to retrieve the data making the laptops vulnerable to theft. The laptops, traveling between sites and time to retrieve and report on the data made the whole exercise quite costly. NC Automation designed a small wall mountable lockable IP65 box for the customer with a TelePAD connected to a cell modem powered by a battery which is recharged with a trickle charger. The TelePAD is connected to the boiler controller and at a user defined interval interrogates the controller via its serial port, timestamps and logs the returned steam measurements to a csv (comma separated variable) file in the TelePAD flash memory. The TelePAD provided enough disk space to store around 3 months data on board at typical logging rates. This logged data can then be retrieved from any PC either locally with a null modem cable or remotely with a modem by establishing a dial-up connection to the Telepad, logging onto the PAD with the password and transferring the file using FTP from Internet Explorer. The csv report file can then be opened directly in Excel....

Mining application – Flotation plant with automatic sampling & dosing

Registered Adroit System Integrator NC Automation Engineering has completed a R12-million flotation plant upgrade at Botswana nickel and copper producer BCL, where it has commissioned a GE FANUC 90-30 PLC and a 1500 tag Adroit supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system with four remote clients. The US$2-million overall turnkey project for the replacement of existing rougher and scavenger flotation cells was awarded to Baker Process in the United Kingdom. “This project incorporates the latest technology available,” says Baker’s regional minerals manager Dave Woodruff. Managing member of NC Automation Jason Wright echoes this by saying, “the project fully utilizes the open-system nature and powerful new features of the locally developed and supported Adroit system.” “The SCADA not only interfaces with the plant control PLC via an OPC server but also with intelligent on-line Outokumpu analyzers and a management database,” he enthuses. This allows for rapid adjustment of reagent dosing without physically having to take samples to a laboratory for testing. “Also, with Information Technology growing as a component of industrial automation, the Adroit remote clients together with our custom built, user friendly Management Information System, ensure that the plant managers are kept totally up to date with the live and historical performance of the plant, including maintenance records from their office desktop,” he points out. It also allows plant metallurgists to analyse thousands of logged process samples with powerful yet simple-to-use tools in order to fine-tune the dosing models and to improve the plant...

Fully automated flour milling, premix manufacturing & packaging control system

The growing number of AIB Bakery franchises countrywide prompted the franchiser to erect a fully automated flour milling, premix manufacturing and packaging facility in Mount Edgecombe to supply these bakeries with premix. NC Automation Engineering were awarded the entire automation and electrical contract of the green fields project involving the full automation of the following aspects. ü      Wheat intake and transfer ü      Cleaning and tempering ü      Wheat Milling ü      Bulk flour intake system ü      Finished product Recipe Batch Handling ü      A bulk out-loading system. ü      Finished Product Packaging ü      Purchases and Sales system ü      Stock Control system ü      Maintenance Log and reporting ü      Production reporting ü      Lab Test reporting Fig1: Finished Products overview screen, which involves mixing, batching, weighing, packing and bulk flour AUTOMATION SYSTEM DESIGN The system was designed around a  Windows NT Ethernet network connecting via  a 100 Mbs Switch two of OMRON’s new CS1 PLC’s to 2 ADROIT 4.2 SCADA PCs with a Central Server  PC supporting the plant SQL SERVER 7.0  database, a site wide intranet for reporting and data entry with dial-up networking for remote support and reporting. Using Adroit’s  OPC client driver high speed communication between the PLCs and Adroit was facilitated via a Klinkmann Omron Ethernet OPC server. All other computers on the site network have access to both the Intranet and the ability to view live SCADA information via Adroit’s remote user interface option and the Ethernet network The completed system is split into 2 areas.  Intake and Mill section Finished Products section Each section is controlled by it’s own OMRON PLC and Adroit Agent Server. The wheat intake system is...

Remote large scale meter reading & energy monitoring, alarming & billing system

Retail Supermarket Energy Management System PROJECT BACKGROUNDA retail supermarket chain identified huge potential overhead savings in store electricity usage. The savings could be gained through : Ensuring the electricity billing for each store each month was correct through an auditable check metering system Ensuring a good power factor at each store by installation of capacitors and implementing a monitoring and alarming system on power factor Identifying and correcting supply voltage problems to protect shop floor equipment Monitoring the daily and monthly electricity consumption profile at all the stores and correcting problem areas through benchmarking and alarming of inefficient use. A low cost, reliable check metering system which could monitor and alarm energy usage and provide accurate account checking and convenient reporting for over 450 stores distributed all over Sub-Saharan Africa was required. After considering a number of proposals the retail chains consultants appointed WSP Energy Management to manage all the stores electricity usage and costs using technology and tools designed, installed and commissioned by NC Automation. AUTOMATION SYSTEM DESIGN The system was designed around NC Automation’s PowerSmart software  which accomodates large scale automatic meter reading into an open ODBC database and all SCADA systems from a number of different manufacturers’ meters via Ethernet networks, GPRS/ GSM/landline modems and/or RS485 networks. A Central Energy Server PC resides at one of the chains regional headquarters and is connected to all 450 stores via the chain’s existing wide area network (WAN) An Elster Kent A1700 3-Phase billing energy meter is installed on the incomer to each store and connected to the store’s Ethernet network via an Ethernet/RS232 converter which via a unique...