New control systems have greater communication requirements than in the past. Tighter regulatory restrictions demand that control data must be passed between areas of the plant. Reduced staffing requires that plant information needs to be accessible anywhere in the plant, or sometimes outside of the plant. Advanced graphical interface tools and data logging place a greater demand on the control system’s communications bandwidth. All this combines to make the communications backbone of a Control System a critical component.
Due to the increased demand for speed and reliability, specially designed industrialized hardware and redundant fiber networks were used. The redundant hardware made sure that any one break in a communication path would not restrict the communications. However, this break needed to be corrected before a second issue occurred. The decision was made to use the computer-based SCADA control system to monitor its own health and alarm if a problem was detected.
Hirschmann’s Rail-Switch family were selected from a variety of vendors providing industrialized, managed Ethernet switches because they supported the Ethernet/IP communication protocols used by the control system and could be integrated directly into the system without the need for additional hardware.
The Trihedral VTScada SCADA application was configured to monitor the health of the network switches. A loss of redundancy would be alarmed on by the computer system in the same place that process alarms (high temperature, low pH, etc.) are handled, providing a visual indication, audible indication, historical log, and remote notification by way of phone, email, or text.
Integrating the switch into the system was a three step process: configuration of the switch, implementing the Hirschmann-provided tools in the Rockwell Automation PLC control system, and configuring the computer-based SCADA software to monitor, display, and log alarm conditions.
Step 1: Configure the Switch
Using Hirschmann’s HiDiscovery software tool, the managed switches were configured for redundant fiber-ring topology. In addition to the basic configuration, each switch was configured to enable the Ethernet/IP protocol and the Signal Contact configured to activate on a loss of Redundancy in the ring.
It is important to note that the HiDiscovery software is provided by Hirschmann with all managed switches. However, the other switch configuration tools like the Web-based interface and the Command Line Interface can also be used.
Step 2: Program the PLC
The EDS (Electronic Device Signature) Files and Rockwell Integration tool were downloaded from the Hirschmann website. The EDS files were added to the Rockwell Software Logix5000 programming software using the EDS Hardware Installation Wizard, allowing the Switch to talk to the PLC processor as if it were an IO module. To establish the communications link between the PLC processor and the switch, the switch was simply added to the Ethernet Network tab as an “IO Module”, specifying only the IP Address of the switch and rate of data exchange.
In order to process the information from the switch, an AOI (Add-on Instruction) developed by Hirschmann was imported into the PLC program. This AOI drives the data transfer between the switch and the control processor, extracting the configuration and status information on the health of the switch directly to the PLC program memory variables.
An instruction was added to the PLC program to check the health of the communications between the PLC and the switch using a GSV instruction to monitor the “Entry Status” and generate a communications alarm.
PLC program logic was created to reference the Hirschmann_Switch AOI in order to manipulate information to/from the switch and populate PLC program variables. Information includes port configurations and status, switch temperature, model & serial numbers, diagnostic statistics, and configuration information. Almost all information available from the switch’s Web or Command Line Interface (CLI) are available.
Step 3: Configure the SCADA software
Finally, tags were created in the VTScada SCADA application to alarm on a loss of communications with the switch, or the loss of redundancy of the fiber ring. When a loss of redundancy occurs, the system will indicate the problem audibly and visually in the alarm summary. Visually, the operator can look at a display showing the entire plant communications and quickly identify the problem and begin the process of fixing the fiber ring.
Utilizing a Hirschmann industrial Ethernet solution with Rockwell Automation control hardware and Trihedral’s SCADA monitoring software, Lord and Company was able to provide a cost-effective solution to increase the reliability of the customer’s Water Treatment plant control system. By tightly integrating control network diagnostics with the control system located at the plant the system health can be monitored in real-time using tools with which the plant personnel are familiar. This ensures that potential problems are brought to the attention of people who can act on the information in a timely manner, preventing interruptions in the treatment process or loss of data needed for regulatory reporting.
Customer: City of Reidsville, NC Public Works
Location: Reid Lake Road, Reidsville, NC
Description: 9 MGD capacity plant pulling from Lake Reidsville
· Rockwell Automation CompactLogix Programmable Controller system
· Hirschmann RS20-0800T1T1SAABHH with Industrial Protocols
· Trihedral VTScada SCADA Software running on industrial computers
Lord & Company is a proven systems integrator providing control, monitoring, and information systems for improved, expanded, or new municipal water and wastewater treatments plants, industrial processes, or radio communication systems.
One critical component of these systems is SCADA technology. To understand the importance of a reliable SCADA solution, we will consider three things: current challenges around SCADA systems, key factors in successful systems, and how to choose a reliable solution partner.
Understand Challenges Surrounding SCADA Systems
In the vast networks of municipal water and wastewater plants, industrial operations, or radio systems, we know that SCADA systems are critical to uphold communication. Effective communication systems help organizations reach to remote locations and relieve those remote locations of the burden of requiring additional manpower. However, the time and costs associated with operating typical SCADA systems cause massive headaches for owners looking for seamless control, monitoring, and information systems.
With these challenges in mind, we created SMS (SCADA Made Simple) to offer an easy-to-use HMI solution that brings the benefits of SCADA technology.
Consider Critical Factors for Successful SCADA Solutions
Because SCADA systems manage many processes and withstand much interaction from operators, organizations need a SCADA solution that is secure, robust, and reliable.
SMS SCADA features a robust user interface that allows for information and data communication between monitored systems and the user. It allows operators to send and receive data, and control alarms and status through a user-friendly user interface. It saves time and money by using a cloud-based platform to mitigate the constant hardware and software upgrades required to maintain typical SCADA systems. With a highly secure data center served by a Tier 1 premium bandwidth supplier, Lord & Company has created an integrated solution with dual redundant servers for a safe, robust, reliable HMI solution
SMS SCADA is supported by our 90,000 sq. ft. data center with up to 25,000 servers. High-security data centers with onsite physical and electronic monitoring feature SSAE-16 and HIPPA compliance, and are Safe Harbor Certified.
Choose a Reliable SCADA Solution Provider
At Lord and Company, we are experienced in RF protocols, wireless technology, and the systems relying on your wireless network. Our teams use combined knowledge to help leading companies effectively use wireless communications for dependable and protected SCADA systems with solutions like SMS SCADA. Our CSIA certification, vast network of industry partnerships, and proven experience with large municipal water and wastewater systems like that of Brunswick County, NC, and fire, police, and EMS radio control systems have lead customers to trust working with us at Lord & Company time and again.
Lord And Company, Inc recently completed 3 Weeks of Motorola Toolbox, STS and Wonderware Intouch training for our highly valued customer in the North East. Training was conducted in co-operation with Motorola Solutions, Inc. 12 technical personnel each week for a total of 36 personnel were trained at a convenient facility in Brooklyn, NY. This training was specific to the customer’s System’s hardware, applications and software. Training format included a daily mixture of instructor Presentation and Hands On Lab (8 Labs) with Instructor support.
- Motorola MOSCAD Basics: The course provided knowledge for Toolbox software application backup methods, basic use of and troubleshooting with the Toolbox software, replacement procedures for hardware and reloading of the application programs and configuration files.
- Motorola MOSCAD Advanced Training: Advanced level provided a detailed understanding of the System and Network Configuration, the data tables and ladder programming with procedures for online monitoring of programs and data tables.
- Introduction to Motorola System Tool Suite ”STS” Software for ACE3600 and the differences between STS and Toolbox.
- Motorola STS/ACE3600 Basics: This course provided knowledge for STS software application backup methods, basic use of and troubleshooting with the STS software, replacement procedures for hardware and reloading of the application programs and configuration files.
- Motorola ACE3600 Advanced Training: Advanced level provided a detailed understanding of the System and Network Configuration, the data tables and ladder programming with procedures for online monitoring of programs and data tables.
- Setup and Troubleshooting with a Protocol Analyzer: The course provided the purpose for and instructions of how to setup a protocol analyzer and how to export and interpret the data.
- SCADA System Hardware, Software and Server Basics: The course provided an understanding of the functions of the hardware and software utilized in the system and how it communicates with the Motorola ACE3600 and MOSCAD processors. Includes procedures for rebooting the systems, making system backups and hard drive and data management.
- Wonderware Intouch Basics: This course provided an understanding of the Tag Dictionary db, event logger, Modbus driver configuration for communicating to the FIU/FEP’s, links to the graphics screens and graphics development.
- Lab Setup:
- Twelve (12) Laptops with Motorola System Tool Suite ”STS” Software for ACE3600 , Motorola Toolbox 9.503 Software and Wonderware Intouch software.
- Six (6) MOSCAD RTU’s with 420 Processor, PS and I/O modules and configured and tested for comm to rental PC’s. One RTU per two students.
- Six (6) ACE3600 RTU’s with Processor, PS and I/O modules and configured and tested for comm to rental PC’s. One RTU per two students.
A Big Thank You to the following Team members:
- Kenny Brooks for configuring the Laptops & PLC’s and setting up the lab in our Fort Mill, SC Training Facility. This setup was invaluable to get the training flow synchronized for optimal learning.
- Brooke Morris, for coordinating the shipment of equipment under complex delivery requirements.
- Our Trainers, James Owens (Week 1), Michael Missaggia (Week 2) and Rafael Balderrama (Week 3) for extraordinary team work, combining all the different materials and co-coordinating amongst each other, so everyone could provide the same level of exceptional training.
A Special mention and Thank You to Dana Albina from Motorola Solutions, Inc for providing Training Site and managing logistics in Brooklyn, NY.
Figure 1: Lab Setup for Internal Testing at Lord And Company, Inc Training Facility.
Credit: Kenny Brooks
Figure 2: Reception Area at Training Facility in Brooklyn, NY.
Credit: Dana Albina, Motorola Solutions, Inc
Figure 3: Training Facility in Brooklyn, NY.
Credit: Dana Albina, Motorola Solutions, Inc
Lab Instruction – Slide Samples
Figure 4: Lab 7: STS Setup – Creating New Project Slide.
Figure 5: Lab 7: STS Setup – Compiling Application Sample.
As always, we tried to meet our Goal of Starting and Finishing with Excellence. With a Great Team and Team Work, I believe WE did.
Project Manager, PMP.
I just turned the Big Five-0 this year in July and my wife and kids threw me the biggest and best surprise birthday party that you can imagine. I had many friends and family surprise me with some unique gifts to remind me of how old I have become. We all had some great food and it was great to catch up with some friends that I do not see as often as I would like.
I did receive one gift that when I opened it; I thought it was just another joke or gag gift to see my reaction. I received a gift certificate to go skydiving from my kids. I joked it off and moved to the next card reminding me that I was older than dirt these days. A couple of days later in talking with my kids I found it was not a gag gift but I was going skydiving. I ask about the gift and they explained that they found my Bucket List in my desk drawer and skydiving was on the list. I explained to my kids that I am getting older and I do not even remember making out that list but I was told that I was going skydiving.
As a Project Manager with Lord & Company; I have been trained to avoid risk and if I cannot avoid it then ways to mitigate risks. I have been trained to define, identify, prioritize, analyze, plan, monitor and control risks. This type of analyzing sometimes drives my wife crazy but with my background in Engineering and Project Management it just comes natural.
Now I am faced with a pivotal choice, do I back out on the challenge of skydiving or do I face my fear and do this. Of course, it took me several weeks to analyze the risk and process jumping out of a plane at 14,000 feet. I finally made the decision that I would face this fear head on and schedule the big jump. I went online at Carolina Skydiving in Chester, SC and made my reservation to jump on September 24, 2016 at 9:00 AM. Since it was my first jump, it would be a tandem jump with an experienced skydiver.
I then started asking everyone at work to join me on my jump and figured a few would be glad to join me. There ended up being no takers and my wife and kids also decided that they did not want to join me. I ask around 50 people to join me skydiving and I got many different excuses. Some of the excuses ranged from “that is not a good time for me” to “I will do it the next time excuse”.
I had a great night’s sleep before my big jump. I woke up that Saturday morning and took a shower. When I got out of the shower I started thinking; I will be jumping out of a plane in a few hours. I immediately became nervous but it was time to face the fear. I drove down to the jump site by myself, so plenty of more time to think and pray. I arrived around 8:45 AM and checked in and was asked to wait until the ground training started in a few minutes.
While I waited, I was able to watch others skydiving and it was starting to sink in. You know that big lump in your throat and that feeling in your stomach. That feeling in my stomach may have just been hunger since I only ate a protein bar that morning. It was a beautiful bright sun-shinny day but a little warmer than I anticipated when I scheduled the jump back at the 1st of August.
The ground training was simple and straight forward. It is easy to do everything that you need to do on the ground, so after signing numerous waivers (too many to count). I am all set and ready to be called and fitted for my big jump. I can honestly say the worst part for me was the waiting. Once I made the decision to jump, I just wanted to do it quickly before I backed out.
I was finally called back at around 11:00 AM by my first name (William). Anyone that knows me never calls me William, it is either Tommy or Tom but never William. Scott my instructor could see how nervous I was and immediately started joking with me and told me this was his first jump also. He ask me about which parachute I wanted to select; number 22 or number 16. I explained that I would not make that choice, he went with number 22 after messing with me for a few minutes.
Suited up but back to waiting and getting even more nervous waiting for the plane to arrive. I see my wife and daughter have arrived to see me sweat, laugh and take a few photos. In just a few minutes the plane arrived and we all boarded the small plane. There were 12 to 14 people inside of the plane packed tight with 2 pilots at the controls. I start thinking about how many end up just landing with the plane but I immediately faced the fear again and decided that I am jumping out of this plane. Glancing down at the ground at around 6,000 feet and then again around 12,000 feet. The ride up took around 15 – 20 minutes. Helmet and goggles in place ready to move toward the open door on the plane. I am asked if I want to jump first or last; I immediately answer I want to go first since I am tired of waiting.
I tried to focus on my limited training and one, two, jump. That first 5 seconds was terror and then I found myself trying to get in the free-fall position. As I get into position at 120 MPH falling to the ground, all of a sudden this is not bad and I start enjoying it but in the back of my mind I am thinking I hope that chute comes out properly. After about 60 seconds of free-fall then a sudden stop as the parachute is deployed. Then it is quiet and peaceful coming down slowly toward the ground. You can now look around and enjoy the view. I enjoyed the decent down and I was given the opportunity to guide us for a little while. After a few minutes of the peace and quiet the ground was getting closer. I was given instructions again on what to do as we get closer to the landing. Scott proved why he was the professional by the nice smooth landing.
I am not going to lie, when my feet were back on the ground it felt pretty good. I was on an adrenaline high from the jump and I felt weird to just walk around. I was glad to see my beautiful wife and daughter as they ask me how was it. I was able to overcome the fear of skydiving to experience the birthday gift of a lifetime. Sometimes we have to push through our fears and challenges in life. I have been blessed with great friends and family and I want to enjoy each and every day that God gives me in this life.
I was asked if I would try skydiving again and I immediately said yes (maybe in another 50 years). Risk is a part of our life but sometimes you just have to go for it. We must first overcome fear in our mind to picture success. “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3
Tom Carico – PMP
I am proud to say that I have been working at Lord & Company for almost 20 years. I started with the company in May of 1996. One of the things that impressed me most about the company was their generosity. Generosity is an area of my life that I have struggled with since I can remember as a small boy growing up in a rural area of Carroll County, Virginia.
We all like to exaggerate about how it was when we were kids. You know the old stories of walking to school uphill in the snow both ways. I always had food to eat, clothing and anything that I needed. I did not grow up with very many items that I may have wanted. I saw others with much more and I wanted to be like them. At some point in my early childhood I made a decision that I was willing to work hard but I was going to get those things that I wanted. Unfortunately, I decided to become a taker.
As the years have passed by I have begun to see that it is not about Taking as much as it is about Giving. The little boy inside of me has finally realized that he wants to become a Giver and not a Taker. This process started when I repented of my sins and ask Jesus Christ to come into my life on November 29, 1992. That was the single Greatest day of my life and since that day it has been a process of change.
I am impressed with so many of my co-workers that give their time, talent and resources outside of work each week. Some of them coach Special Olympics, others teach or train youth, while some raise money for charities or food for the hungry. They come together for special events like Operation Christmas Shoebox and go over our goal of 200 boxes. There too many to mention in this short article.
Lord & Company is a generous company that cares about our community and those less fortunate. I have been blessed to see giving in action firsthand over the past 20 years. Yes we have the most talented professional staff that I have ever worked with in my career but they are so much more. They have demonstrated to me how to become a Giver and not a Taker.
You can ask anyone that knows me and they will tell you that I appreciate a job well done. Well done Lord & Company Team. Thank you for demonstrating volunteer work and for helping me to start opening up my hand and become that giver that God has always wanted me to become. Lord & Company is a generous company made up of generous talented people that care about others.
Keep on making a difference in my life and those around me!
Tom Carico – PMP
Lord & Company, Inc.
On Friday October 9th Team L&C had the opportunity to attend the Live2Lead conference. The speakers presented and shared key leadership tools to the participants. This event was broadcast to more than 40,000 people in USA and around the world.
John Maxwell and others, delivered passionate messages on how to improve our lives and the lives of people we work with. The main theme was developing a positive attitude in all circumstances as leaders.
The presentation emphasized that consistency and passion for our work produces positive working environments. Implementing new action plans to lead a team to succeed was also an emphasis.
I have been a recreational tennis players for many years. I had the opportunity to hear the word consistency in a coach program I attended this year. The key to win a match is not only to hit the tennis ball hard but being able to hit it inside the court and over net every time. This is as many people refer, “to be consistent”. In our work environment we need to develop a similar attitude to be the best in our trade and to set an example for our team members.
I also found interesting the concept of differences in “Front end thinking” and “Back end thinking”. In front end thinking we plan, set goals and priorities for good outcomes instead of looking at the back end results of unplanned activities.
L&C team leaders were impressed with the quality and content of the message of the speakers. As a team leader I look forward to using the concepts within the Lord & Company. This will lead us to have continual growth and we can become a better organization to our society.
We want to thank Keith Harris of Fellowship Management and Lord & Company for coordinating and promoting this event in Rock hill, SC.
I have been working in the Engineering Field for about 30 years now and one thing has not changed. We need to be able to do more work in less hours. I have read books on time management and went to seminars to help me develop time management skills. I also know that everyone is different but I wanted to share a few items that has worked for me and helped me with my time management. I hope that you will find some items that will help you with your time management.
Be aware and on the outlook for the small things that distract you from your work each day. You may want to check your emails 2 or 3 times a day but do not leave them up in front of you at all times. If you stop what you are doing to read each email as it appears on your screen this will take up half of your workday. Impromptu meetings can also be a leading cause of disruptions in your work day. Request that meetings have a schedule with an agenda so that it minimizes everyone’s time involved. I know that meetings are necessary to get work done in a team environment but planned and scheduled meeting are far more productive. I enjoy attending and being part of productive meetings but I do not recall a productive meeting that I attended without an agenda.
Have a written plan for each day. This helps me stay focused on the work that has you’ve decided to be a priority for the work day. This helps me stay on track each day and helps me to see my daily goals. I typically use my tablet for this purpose.
Keep a daily progress report. How many times have I worked 9, 10 or more hours in one day and left work feeling like I was not productive? The answer is way too many times. Keeping a daily progress report helps me focus on each day’s successes even when I worked on items that were not planned. Yes, no matter how much planning you do there will be days that outside factors force you to change your priority list for the day and you work on other items. Keeping a daily progress report helps me remember to focus on the work items that I completed for the day and not the items that I did not get accomplished.
Answer Phone calls. If you are not deep in the middle of a task you should go ahead and answer that phone call. I know we all get too many phone calls that we may consider non-productive but it may take less time to take the call than to return the phone call later. Remember that we all want someone to answer our phone calls so we should do the same. If you have voice messages, set aside a couple of times a day to return phone calls. I try to return calls at 10 AM and at 3 PM each day.
A Good night’s sleep. Each day starts so much better if you get a good night’s sleep. I have found that I work better with 7 hours sleep each night. I can make it on less sleep but it catches up with me by the end of the week. I know that coffee is my friend in the morning since I am not a morning person but coffee will not make me productive all day long. Sleep prepares my mind and body for each work day. Do not underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep.
Multi-tasking. I have tried to multi-task and I have found myself making too many costly mistakes. I work on many projects and I wear many hats each day so this is a daily thorn in my side. I have my work schedule, my home family schedule, my church schedule, my volunteer schedule, my reading schedule and so on … You get the picture. We are all busy and if we are not careful we try to focus on too many things at one time and we are not effective at any of them. Concentrate on one item at a time and complete it. I try to keep one schedule for work and home with alert reminders to help me remember all the items that I want to do and schedule. I often hear people say that I wish I could remember this or that thing tomorrow. I typically say if we could only have someone invent something that was small and easy to carry that we could schedule reminders to alert us tomorrow? It is too bad that you do not have such a device like this that could help you. Use your Smart Phone to help you and remind you of anything and everything that is important to you.
One of our greatest resources that we have is time. No matter rich, poor, young, older God gave us all the same 24 hours each day. Make a plan and use your time wisely. I hope that some of the things that I have learned and shared on time management will help you focus and become more productive each day. I continue to work on improving my time management skills each day. Speaking of time management; the phone is ringing and it is time for me to get back to work.
Tom Carico – PMP
Lord & Company, Inc.
I have been blessed to work at Lord & Company for the past 20 years in multiple areas in the LC Team. I wanted to share just a few things that I enjoy about my day to day work at Lord & Company.
5. I enjoy the opportunity to work with different types of technology. Each new project provides new challenges; whether it is Radio (RF Technology), Fiber LAN, WAN, PLC Control Panels or some new instrument. I have the opportunity to work with new software and technology on a daily basis. This keeps me learning and enthusiastic about the next new project.
4. I enjoy doing quality work and being part of the LC Team that puts an emphasis on doing high quality work for our clients. Doing your best just makes everyone feel better at the end of the day. We strive to continue to improve our quality on each phase of each project.
3. I enjoy the teamwork and the people. We spend some long hours working together to meet deadlines on projects and it can get hectic at times but at the end of the day I really appreciate working as a team. I am an introvert; so working as a team helps me get out of my comfort zone. I have made some friendships at work with some great people that will last a lifetime.
2. Customer Service is another high priority and I enjoy being able to help clients when the opportunity comes knocking. I appreciate the fact that we will email the client their PLC code on a past project if they need it and help answer questions after the project is over. I have heard way too many horror stories about System Integrators that will not send their client the PLC programs in an effort to force them to continue doing business with them. I have been able to help our customers and competitors; that is truly customer service.
1. Integrity is our number one goal at Lord & Company. I enjoy seeing a company practice what they preach; integrity. I enjoy building relationships with vendors and treating them the way I would like to be treated. Integrity is our foundation and a benchmark for our success.
I did not have room to add in the lunch hour and I always joke about it being my favorite time of each work day. Everyone that knows me; they know that I like to eat. I enjoy eating in our lunch room with others to catch up with them and their family. I also like going out to lunch to some of the local restaurants nearby.
Thanks for taking time to read about some of the reasons that I enjoy working with and being a part of the Lord & Company Team.
Tom Carico – PMP
Lord & Company, Inc.
Lord & Company would like to announce some Big News. Tom Carico has served as the Engineering Manager for Lord & Company for the past 20 years. Tom has decided to step down as the Engineering Manager September 1st, 2016 and has announced that Rafael Balderrama will be taking the position. Tom will be working with Rafael over the next year to ensure that the transition goes smooth.
Tom explained that “Rafael has worked very hard and done whatever has been requested of him without the first complaint over his tenure with Lord & Company. Rafael is well qualified and I look forward to see him fulfill his vision for the L&C Engineering Team. Rafael has been a Big part of the Lord & Company Engineering Team for the past 10 years. I congratulate him and I look forward to working with him.”
Tom will continue to serve his role as the Project Manager Team Leader and Manage Projects. We appreciate the leadership that Tom has brought to Lord & Company and the growth that we have experienced in his tenure. Tom gave credit to God and the talented and gifted staff that he has been privileged to work with at Lord & Company. Tom was eager to remind everyone that he is leaving the LC Engineering Team in good hands with Rafael.