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Proficy HMI / SCADA

Vale Improves Efficiency and Safety with Remote Access to iFIX SCADA System

Greater efficiency

Information at the right time

Improved safety

Increased community integrity

Time savings

On-going SCADA access






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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. 



One of the largest mining companies in the world, Vale uses iFIX HMI/SCADA from GE Digital for supervisory control. Vale works with GE Digital partner, Aquarius Software in Brazil. For remote access, Vale’s Ferrous Southeast Department (DIFS) 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 Access

Operation and Engineering access iFIX supervision and control 


Using client / server architecture and the application of RDS Client technology, it was possible to implement in Conceição, one of Vale's main mines at DIFS, remote access to the iFIX supervision and control system.


After this implementation, both the PLC programming station (Programmable Logic Controllers) and the SE697103 substation, which has the largest number of plant equipment, have access to the supervisory system, even though they are physically distant from the control center.


Access to the system in the PLC programming room is necessary due to the development and testing of programming logic that needs to be carried out.



The use of the system at the substation interface aims to relieve the operator's load from the control room on preventive plant shutdown days.


In Conceição, the equipment interlock diagnostics are in the supervisory; this makes it easier and faster for field operators (electricians and mechanics) to take the appropriate actions for each diagnosis directly, without the need to use a telephone or radio and contact the operator of the control room. This allows for faster and more direct actions.


It is very important to simplify the supervision routine, as the operator is responsible for many other tasks in addition to plant operation, such as coding downtime, interfacing with the field, preparing reports, among others.


Another important aspect of implementing remote access is security. That is why it is very important to correctly set permission for each type of system user and to consider certain premises, such as the fact that the main command is always from the control room.


In the substation, for example, access is read-only, the command remains in the control room. What does not happen with the PLC programming room, since commanding is one of the main tasks of logic development.


Another characteristic that motivated the use of technology was the ease of maintenance that comes from its use, since maintenance is done only on a physical server. It is as if remote access stations did not exist for system administrators.


The supervisory system is installed and configured on the server machine, which must be licensed for a certain number of competing remote accesses. In the access terminals, however, neither installation nor system license is necessary.


This feature contributes to the reduction of hardware, which is one of the main problems for the maintainers of any system. The concern ends up being much less with respect to parts replacement, driver compatibility, management (governance), etc.


Other sites also use RDS technology, such as Brucutu and Cauê.

Value Case

The flexibility of architecture provided using RDS technology means that we can also provide access to the supervisory system through mobile devices, such as the iPad and iPhone, for example.


Screen display tests were performed using an iPad, which only required the installation of a free application to allow access to screens of the supervision system. The results obtained were satisfactory. The next step in using this feature will be the mapping of system users.


The main gains obtained by Vale using the iFIX and RDS technology together were:


  • Time savings and greater efficiency in decision making, since the operator was able to view the entire plant without having to contact the room.


  • Greater safety due to the elimination of possible noise (errors) from communication failure, which could cause accidents. This is an important gain, considering that security is an inviolable value for Vale.


  • It has been proven that the use of the RDS with iFIX is of great value for the supervision of the plant, both for operation and maintenance.


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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