Power Generation Software
Proficy Historian, Proficy HMI / SCADA
Energy consumption has increased dramatically over the last few decades. Since the reserves of fossil fuels are by no means inexhaustible, sustainable alternatives for the long term are imperative.
A key viable alternative is plants for biogas production. This is an entirely natural and renewable energy source. In the plant, animal by-products, as well as food and food residues, are fermented anaerobically into biogas, which is used in a gas engine to generate electricity and heat.
Having automated more than 100 plants, Berlin-based ORmatiC GmbH specializes in the automation of biogas plants, ensuring cost-effective, efficient operation. The company requires the strict use of standard software modules that are tried and tested and have a high degree of integration. iFIX HMI/SCADA and Proficy Historian from GE Digital meet these needs – and have helped ORmatiC automate biogas plants in Europe and North America.
Working with GE Digital partner VIDEC Data Engineering GmbH, ORmatiC has achieved results that include improved visualization clarity with ISA-standards based HMI screens, increased operator awareness and faster response, 20% faster configuration, 30% higher reliability, 25% increased uptime with remote diagnosis, and more.
High Performance HMI Improves Clarity
According to ORmatiC, iFIX offers a multitude of ways to simulate process states realistically and in a user-friendly way. The design of the user interface offers a flexible and task-oriented representation of the process dialogue.
For the best visualization clarity, ORmatiC applies High Performance HMI principles, part of the ISA 101 standards. With High Performance HMI, screens are designed for increased operator awareness and faster response. As an example, screens feature muted colors such as white, black and gray, and reserve colors such as red when immediate attention is required. These standards-based designs increase visualization clarity enormously, according to Thomas Nehring, Managing Director for ORmatiC GmbH.
The main picture of the biogas plant gives a good overview of the entire process. This display can always be seen on the screen and cannot be removed. It was important for system operation that the operator can easily get an overview of the entire system status and that the entire process is monitored.
Various operating and functional displays can be called up and displayed in detail by clicking on the corresponding area. The alarm and message overviews can be seen in the lower part of the picture. Their states are displayed that do not have to be acknowledged, as well as currently pending alarms whose acknowledgment must be confirmed by the operating personnel in the online alarm image. The alarm and message overviews can be displayed, printed out and archived in mass storage. Screen, print and storage formats are set individually.
Fast Upgrades and Modifications
The use of iFIX as the SCADA enables quick and efficient modifications. A structured approach in engineering is characterized by the well-thought-out modular use of subroutines and objects. This inevitably increases the clarity and maintainability of the application. ORmatiC GmbH made use of these advantages during commissioning as well as subsequent changes and system expansions.
Subsequent new entries of messages, control commands, setpoints, limit values and interference limits can easily be carried out by the operating personnel within the framework of the installed system. However, this requires the right access level.
The very clear handling of the software makes it possible for the operator to carry out any necessary adjustments right from the start. The project planning effort is reduced compared to other comparable projects.
Remote Diagnosis for Higher Availability
Remote diagnosis runs in the background as an independent task. The system services are rounded off by the option of wireless remote diagnosis. In the event of a malfunction, analysis of the system or plant status can be carried out remotely. This enables real-time support for the system without disruption.
Two types of sub-images can be called up from the main image of process visualization. On the one hand, there are functional images that are selected using buttons on the upper screen and contain additional functions for the process. On the other hand, the sub-pictures are supplemented by operating pictures, which are called up directly from the user interface and which show the relevant system part in more detail. The "picture-in-picture" technique was used here to easily call up the important detailed information. The dynamically animated operating screens show the system operator the operating status of individual system components immediately.
The process signals are displayed in the form of graphic tags in process pictures. One example application of a biogas plant with iFIX holds over 1500 external input-output data points. Practically every application strategy can be covered with various animation links. Objects and object groups, including their process links, can be saved, instantiated and reused in a library to save time.
The extensive symbol libraries of iFIX also contain real-time and historical trend diagrams as finished modules. Historical data can be displayed, saved and printed out. Ready-made modules can also be used to display all or individual fault messages as a summary or history.
Secure by Design, Access Levels, Safer Operation
System security is an essential aspect of iFIX. ORmatiC uses iFIX’s configurable password protection with different access levels. For this purpose, a username and password are requested when the application is started, and activity monitoring can also be activated. After the start-up cycle of the system, the operator can intervene in the automatic process by changing the setpoints and influence it according to the desired technological parameters.
In the operator mode, all operating screens and the actuators contained therein must be switched and the performance of the frequency converters changed. The functional images, alarms and trends can also be called up. However, it is not possible to parameterize the system. It is only in the Expert operating mode that you can switch to the parameterization levels and make process-related settings. General parameters for feeding the fermentation process as well as setpoints, operating hours counters, temperature limit values and technological parameters such as control parameters or filling quantities can be adapted to the changing requirements.
Interlocks are built in for process pumps and valves in automatic and manual mode. This prevents a process pump from being switched in manual mode without the associated media flow being free through open valves. Valves, on the other hand, cannot be switched if a pump in the associated process circuit is switched on. If an open valve leaves the end position, the associated process pump is automatically switched off immediately.
Every hydraulic control valve can be set to manual or automatic mode. The button for on / off switching is only visible and can therefore be operated in manual mode. The process pumps and agitators have three working states that interlock with one another. In automatic mode, the devices are switched as an automatic program in the PLC. Manual operation switches the devices off via the process visualization. For maintenance operation, there is a local switch on the switch housing for local operation.
With biogas plants in particular, it is important that the operator can quickly and easily get an overview of the plant status. The operational reporting system is intended to ensure that employees are provided with the correct information in the appropriate time frame and in the desired form. Managers as well as clerks need event-oriented information about the operation of the entire biogas plant at regular intervals. The team is provided with facts that help identify trends, carry out controls or start planning.
Industrial Data Management
ORmatiC uses Proficy Historian for central long-term archiving and evaluation of process values, messages and alarms, operator interventions and batch reports. Proficy Historian receives all relevant information for storage directly from the process control system. Subsequent analyzes of malfunctions and downtimes over a period of several months or years help to explore weak points in the system. This makes it possible to carry out exact cost calculations and to optimize the operation of the process plant.
Extensive analysis and reporting functions developed by ORmatiC are available for evaluating the values stored in the database. All data from the Proficy Historian server can be easily accessed and combined in any way for flexible views. Customizable reports and evaluations are easy to generate from predefined forms. In addition, the individual reports have different addressees, ranging from management to clerks.
In addition to the pure query functions, the flexible report generator offers additional options for the content and visual design of the presentation of the results. Based on Microsoft Reporting Services, it has informative, pre-developed standard reports and flexible evaluations. The portfolio of report types is diverse. A selection of pre-defined reports are daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual reports as well as batch reports.
In conclusion, ORmatiC’s has successfully completed and documented many biogas projects. With modern and flexible standard systems, the various needs of different plant operators are met cost effectively and reliably.
- 20% faster configuration
- 30% higher reliability
- 25% increased uptime with remote diagnosis
- User friendly automation for improved operator response
- Easy upgrades and modifications
- Data foundation for continuous optimization
ORmatiC GmbH started out with classic automation, but the company has since embarked on a path toward offering solutions that can be summarised under the term Industry 4.0.
In process automation, ORmatiC is responsible for the fields of sensor technology, visualization, reporting, alarming and remote maintenance. In particular in the area of biogas / hygienisation plants, the company can offer a variety of industry-specific solutions. For each industry, they are able to adapt the described services and create comparable solutions.
In addition, the field of automation also includes ORmatiC’s biOmatic visualisation system.
About VIDEC Data Engineering GmbH
VIDEC Data Engineering GmbH specialises in software products and solutions for automation and the optimisation of production processes and IT security. Active in numerous industries for over 25 years, the VIDEC team supports plants of various sizes, from SMEs to international corporations. We work with a network of distributors worldwide on customisable automation, MES and IT security solutions. We offer customised software for analysis, alarming, security management, IT & OT security, project planning, web-based visualisation, web SCADA, web HMI, DCS, process data management, data acquisition, data archiving, reporting, alarm systems, telecontrol, control management for manufacturing, cloud for the industrial internet, and more.