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Figure 3: PLC/HMI test bench.
Helix performed extensive bench testing to ensure their AutomationDirect PLC programming and HMI configurations would control locally as needed while communicating as required.
Proof in Deployment
Helix’s standardization efforts, using AutomationDirect hardware and software in particular, have been a solid success for the
entire team for both new construction and retrofit situations. They have effectively developed a hardware and software template adaptable to their varied sites, and the team has now completed multiple deployments.
Most industrial automation end users under- stand the benefits of incorporating standardization, but they may be concerned as to whether they can implement it based on their staffing, organization, and the types of automated processes involved. The Helix Water District efforts to proactively upgrade, standardize, and improve their automation systems are a case study in how to approach the task methodically from the bottom up, starting small and adding value at every level.
There are many options along the path to standardization. End users can do as much of the work as they like or can retain the assistance of contractors. Because each end user company knows their operations and practices the best, it is recommended for them to play a strong role in specifying the most crucial control platforms, components, and architecture aspects.
Another key is pre-testing basic automation elements, and then performing integrated testing
on the bench to ensure functionality and buy-in of all stakeholders. A staged deployment can then be undertaken with confidence. Even once the system goes to the field, there is still an opportunity to learn and improve the defined standards.
All end users will benefit from incorporating standardization, following practical and common- sense steps to define and achieve their goals.
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Editor's Note
New Product Focus
- Expaded communications and analog I/O capabilities for the
- Control cabinet cable entry systems
- DURApulse® GS20 Series high performance AC drives
- ProSense® Advanced Process Conrollers
- Enclosure Thermoelectric Coolers
Tech Thread
Improvies, Adapt, Overcome
Business Notes
Cover Story
The Best Automation HMIs Keep Things Simple
What's New
User Solutions
- Water Utility Successfully Standardizes Automation Practices
- Automating the Hendrick's Gin Grand Garnisher
Student Spotlight
CPAPs RE-INVENT ed into Ventilators Using PLCs & HMIs
Break Room
tion. The team has built in provisions so local or system failures can be alerted through the SCADA system. During the course of normal operation,
or when trouble is indicated, team members can remotely connect to the PLCs and HMIs to inspect the situation, troubleshoot as necessary, and initiate a course of action. This provides a substantial time and cost savings compared to older pump stations where a site visit by a technician was required.
Standard Automation Practices
are Attainable
   A completely new pump station was built by
a subcontractor following the template, and three existing pump stations were retrofitted with new MCCs and PLC controls by subcontractors using the same approach. Helix also self-performed the retrofit of an existing pump station with new PLC controls. This proves not only the technical suitability of the standardization work, but also how the work can
be executed in multiple ways from a commercial standpoint.
The new installations have worked reliably with no significant functional or component faults, but
the team knows that eventually there will be some sort of problem requiring troubleshooting.
An added benefit of the new designs are the many options for remote monitoring and notifica-
User Solutions | Issue 44
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       Brain Teasers

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