iFIX, Proficy Webspace
Proficy Historian, Proficy HMI / SCADA
Wodociągi Raciborskie is a water and sewage company based in Poland with a history that dates back to 1874. The company constantly invests in its development, providing customers with services at the highest level.
Faced with four separate SCADA systems, the company worked with GE Digital partner VIX Automation to unify and standardize their automation. The company’s investment included a unified enterprise SCADA system as well as standardized screens, redundancy, and remote access. The new solution features GE Digital’s iFIX HMI/SCADA, Proficy Historian and Proficy Webspace.
Results from the modernized system and control room include:
- 1 enterprise SCADA, replacing 4 separate systems
- 50% decrease in SCADA servers
- 24/7 reliability with industry-leading redundancy
- 1 database for archiving OT data
- Faster decision making and response, especially in crisis situations
- Reduced time and costs with standardized reporting
- Improved risk management
- Secure-by-design remote access for information and alerts anywhere, any time
- Ability to make decisions from the central control room without being at the on-site location
- Reduced training time for new employees
- More powerful and convenient ways to filter and analyze data
- Clear and transparent visualization
- Constant overview and supervision of the water and sewer operations
Challenges with Four Separate SCADAs
According to Marek Klaczyński, Automation Engineer at Wodociągi Raciborskie, the team established a Central Control Room years ago as well as SCADA systems. Unfortunately, although the SCADAs came from the same software provider, they were delivered and implemented by different companies, and created and updated according to the needs of the time, working on independent servers.
After years of these separate SCADAs, the team decided to merge and standardize them, which also provided an opportunity to modernize the control room and enable connected workers with remote capabilities.
Unified Enterprise SCADA
Sławomir Kubas from VIX Automation explained that the team has developed one common standard for the SCADA application.
“In the central control room, we had to deal with basically four separate, disconnected SCADA installations. Creating one common, well-connected and intuitive application that would control the existing processes was a priority for us.”
The new enterprise SCADA allows for much better visualization of the interdependence of the work of individual technological systems. Unifying the appearance of weather forecasts, and thus imaging data and technological parameters in a clear and transparent way, allows for much faster decision making in crisis situations. It also drastically reduces the training time for new employees. They used to learn four systems, now it's just one.
Reduced Costs with Less Hardware and Licenses
One of the goals was to organize the infrastructure – both physical and licensed, according to Klaczyński.
“Now in the Central Control Room we use 2 server licenses, one data archiver license and one remote access license, previously there were four separate servers,” he said. “We also replaced the equipment, including servers, large-format monitors, UPSs.”
Redundancy for 24/7 Uptime
“What's more,” Klaczyński said, “the system works redundantly – thanks to which we can quickly restore the operating parameters of the devices in the event of a failure, and the failure of one of the computers or service work does not stop the system's operation. The system automatically switches between one server and the other.
“The ordering of the variables was also very important. The unified SCADA system now uses a single database (Proficy Historian), which enables continuous archiving of all data.”
Greater Ease of Use
“Thanks to these changes, we were able to recreate the continuity of the technological scheme - from extracting water from intakes to its distribution to individual areas of the city, up to the treatment of the resulting wastewater,” said Aleksander Pośpiech, Manager of the Water Production Department at Wodociągi Raciborskie.
“Along with tidying up the data, we also managed to tame the alarm signals; they were divided into generic and object-oriented, which helps us in searching and segregating signals. A large number of variables now goes to one database, an independent archiving server. The data is now presented in a table that allows you to filter variables in many different, convenient ways.”
“Currently, Racibórz Waterworks in Central Control Room has and uses several groups of synoptic screens: water production technology, sewage system, power supply and sewage treatment plant,” explained Mateusz Glanowski from VIX Automation.
“Each of these groups contains several synoptic screens that collectively present individual elements of the installation. Originally, each group was presented on a separate computer station. However, data from different groups often overlapped. The current solution allows us to collect data from various installations into one whole.”
Faster Response with Remote Capabilities
“The system is constantly being improved by us and experts from VIX Automation,” Pośpiech said. “After conducting the pilot, we decided to implement the Proficy Webspace solution, i.e. a desktop and mobile client for solutions from the GE Digital family.
“The application has access to all synoptic screens, they can be managed remotely and safely. In case of emergency, we can quickly make decisions without being on site, in the central control room.”
Consistency Across the Enterprise
“Recently, the SCADA system from GE Digital is also present in the wastewater treatment plant. We have introduced a system there, maintaining the synoptic standardization known from the Central Control Room, which makes it much easier for us to manage this facility,” said Marcin Węgrzynowski, Sewage Treatment Plant Manager at Wodociągi Raciborskie.
“Naturally, we use good practices that we have implemented earlier – iFIX works redundantly here. Analogically to the scheme known from the central control room: data is collected in one industrial Historian database and shared in Webspace. This place can also be viewed from the Central Control Room. Thanks to this, we have a constant overview and supervision over another element of the municipal water supply system.”
Improved and Standardized Reporting
“We have also prepared specific reports for Racibórz Waterworks according to previously defined requirements and needs,” Glanowski explained.
“These all have a unified interface and standardized format. Reports and charts present data in a much better way, and they are also much more convenient to use at work.”
Saving Money and Time
Thanks to the unification of the SCADA management and visualization system, we save money but above all time!
Aleksander Pośpiech - Manager of the Water Production Department at Wodociągi Raciborskie
“Employees learn the new system faster, we respond to critical alerts faster and manage risk better. In this way, we consolidate knowledge about water and sewage management in our city.
“In addition, the system works more securely, without downtime, and remote access helps us make key decisions without having to leave the desk. We work better, safer and more efficiently.”
Partnership with Cooperation and Trust
“We entrusted the care of our applications to experienced engineers who know iFIX inside out,” Klaczyński concluded. “We knew that they had many successful SCADA installations in water and sewage companies. The development of our applications and subsequent instances are proof of good cooperation and trust we place in our business partners.”
About VIX Automation
For many years VIX Automation has been providing software and services for the industry, always taking care of every single detail of the product delivered, adapting it to your needs. For 15 years we have been a distributor of SCADA systems, especially iFIX, part of the Proficy portfolio, and other GE Digital products. As a leader in the automation market, we make a real contribution to the increase in effectiveness of Polish enterprises.