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Sanasa Reduces Maintenance with 24/7 Remote Access to iFIX SCADA System

High availability

24/7 control and access

Less maintenance

Centralized system management

Lower costs

Flexible, economical clients








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Proficy HMI / SCADA

This is an excerpt of an article originally published in Portuguese by Carlos Eduardo Gurgel Paiola, Control and Automation Engineer, M.Sc., Aquarius Software; Alexandre Roberto Granito, IT Analyst / Process Automation, Sanasa - Society of Water Supply and Sanitation; Cláudia Souza Oliveira, Automation Analyst, Vale - Directorate of Ferrous Southeast - DIFS; and Diogo Lopes Gomes, Automation Analyst, Aquarius Software. 



Sanasa is the company responsible for water supply and sewage services in the municipality of Campinas in Brazil. Sanasa uses iFIX HMI/SCADA from GE Digital for supervisory control and works with GE Digital partner, Aquarius Software. For remote access, Sanasa employs iFIX in conjunction with Microsoft's remote access solution, Remote Desktop Services (RDS), formerly called Terminal Services (TS). This combination facilitated the use of the supervision system, from operators to system administrators.



Remote SCADA access


All Sanasa process automation applications today use only GE Digital’s iFIX software as a SCADA system. As a result, the RDS Client remote access tool was implemented. The purpose of using the technology was to make it possible to integrate several SCADA systems into a single visualization and control platform, which can be accessed through Windows' remote desktop feature.


Before the implementation of the Remote Desktop Session Host (Server), now used with iFIX to control the entire process, two other technologies were used. One was characterized using ordinary customers, each with its own screens and its own licensing. It was a simple configuration and with great availability from customers, but with difficult maintenance of the system, considering the large number of client machines, which caused difficulties in managing licenses and changes in the application. The second way was to use a tool for converting screens to HTML, a solution that required a lot of work to correct the distortions that occurred in the operation screens, which required many hours of engineering.


Another advantage found in the use of RDS was the ease of installation and exchange of machines, since in the old operation solution (common customer) there was a need to install the supervision software on each machine, whereas in the current situation, the installation is only on the server. Taking the number of existing customers, which today total 17, the tool brought a great advantage to the company.


Remote Operation


The remote access tool via RDS with iFIX provides a real-time visualization of the process variables and allows the realization of a remote control with the process control elements, maintaining the reliability and security of the system.


The tool is used in Sanasa's CCOs (Operational Control Centers) in the raw water collection, water treatment, reservoir and treated water distribution sectors. In addition, this tool is also used in the sewage removal system, with the forecast to be used in sewage treatment units in the future.


Access is available to a wide variety of users, including management personnel and other work groups, such as the project sector group, which uses the tool to verify and analyze real-time data and historical data for the elaboration of new projects, which will be integrated into the existing system.


Through access to this information, it is possible to streamline the process of field survey and validation to fulfill the prerequisites of a new project.


In the case of system maintenance, it is also very useful to be able to access the SCADA system from any point in the Sanasa network, enabling changes to screens, databases and other system settings. The Sanasa network can be accessed locally or remotely (where access is made through a broadband ethernet radio link system).


Overview and Demonstration

Sanasa's implementation


Sanasa's automation system is extremely important for the operation of the water collection, treatment, reservoir and distribution system in the metropolitan region of Campinas. In this way, we can consider it as a system that requires high availability and that operates twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. As a result, remote access to the supervision and control system (SCADA) is often required. This remote access is carried out via VPN between Sanasa and the remote connection point (for example: home), using a broadband link, or even a connection from a mobile vendor.


The RDS Client system has also been used in some events, to demonstrate the automation system and data acquisition system. At the ASSEMAE sanitation fair, a CCO was simulated in the middle of the booth, where the operating personnel of the water reservation and distribution system performed the monitoring and control of the Sanasa process in the event, through the definition of the set control and alarm points, remote activation of control elements, such as pump sets, valves, etc.



It can be concluded that the technology presented in this article makes the routine of the administrator of the supervision system very comfortable, since he/she only has one machine to manage. The immediate result is less time for system and application maintenance and control. In addition, there is also a reduction in equipment costs for the company, which only needs a good machine to be the application server.


At Sanasa, the use of the RDS Client platform with iFIX provided gains in TCO (Total Cost of Ownership or Total Investment Cost) because it is a license with a more affordable cost compared to the value of the same number of conventional customers.


In addition, there is a greater flexibility of setting the access level for each user of the system, which can be visualized, operated or even administered by the system, enabling application engineering.


Another advantage observed is that the server can be allocated in a data processing center, where it can share some other operational advantages, such as: use of automatic backup routines, better availability of the network, greater availability of bandwidth, power and adequate air conditioning, resulting in a gain in the useful life of the equipment and, consequently, an increase in the availability of the system.


Read the article “Remote Operations of Mining and Sanitation Stations,” by Carlos Eduardo Gurgel Paiola, Control and Automation Engineer, M.Sc., Aquarius Software; Alexandre Roberto Granito, IT Analyst / Process Automation, Sanasa - Society of Water Supply and Sanitation; Cláudia Souza Oliveira, Automation Analyst, Vale - Directorate of Ferrous Southeast - DIFS; and Diogo Lopes Gomes, Automation Analyst, Aquarius Software, originally published in Portuguese in InTech.


About Aquarius Software

Aquarius Software is a reference in technology, products and services for industrial automation and production management, with market-leading solutions and differentiated services, from the factory floor to the corporate environment. Continuously, Aquarius Software seeks the best technologies, mixes software and services with new approaches, creating many possibilities and innovations to provide a superior response to the challenges of each client. The Company has specialists in the areas of Automation and Operation Technology (TA / TO) and Information Technology (IT) and is able to accompany its customers on the journey of Digital Transformation.

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