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Proficy HMI / SCADA

Waterford Township Improves Maintenance Consistency and Efficiency with HMI/SCADA


Improved process consistency


Greater efficiency


Faster deviation identification and correction



Waterford Township


iFIX, Proficy Workflow

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Proficy HMI / SCADA

Located in the center of Oakland County, Michigan, Waterford Township is known as a Lakeland Paradise for its 34 lakes that surround the area and cover 35.3 square miles. Over 71,700 Waterford residents rely on the Department of Public Works (DPW) for service on a daily basis. DPW assets include 360 miles of water main and appurtenances, and an overall water and sewer infrastructure that exceeds 80,000 features that require maintenance and work orders.


A retiring workforce


Like many of its counterparts across the country, Waterford Township has been faced with losing a significant number of DPW staff, some with more than three decades of water and wastewater knowledge, to retirement.


The company began to search for a solution that would like real-time operational data from its SCADA systems to its CMMS and DMS to create standard operating procedures and work orders automatically when conditions were met in defined workflow procedures. One key aspect of the project was to get operating procedures standardized and in a format where staff in the field, who might not be familiar with the system, could follow the necessary steps to correct the issue.


A proactive approach with defined processes


DPW decided to implement Workflow from GE Digital to provide the department with the ability to apply logic to SCADA values for work order generation, employ eSOPs, and create inspection forms for data collection.


The implementation was split into two phases, the first of which was centered around automating workflows triggered by two incidents—those based on data coming in from the SCADA system such as pump starts, runtimes, and sewer station inspections that dealt with specific activities or a regularly occurring schedule.


The first phase also involved integrating the Work Order API to fully automate work order generation. Phase two included the integration of the DPW’s DMS, which provides staff with seamless links to documents, drawings, agreements, manuals, etc., that are archived and used to develop additional workflows.


The Workflow integration included creation of four main components: the equipment, model, events, Workflow templates, and schedules. Creation and utilization of these components created a process-driven workflow for managing by exception. DPW first modeled its system in Workflow by linking relevant database tags from the SCADA system. This allowed data to flow in real time from SCADA into defined workflows.


A trigger event was then created to initiate a defined workflow based on conditional expressions or time-based factors. Condition-based events utilize transferred real-time iFIX tag values such as pump starts and stops, pump runtimes, water levels increasing or decreasing out of range, or changes in flow. These events use values stored in the equipment configuration to evaluate expressions to automatically determine whether or not action needs to be taken.


The next step was to create Workflow templates that contain the procedures and steps for DPW staff to follow when completing the workflow. The procedures and steps can be executed automatically such as having a pump turn on or off or manually through interaction by the user. These procedures and steps can be modified by the workflow authors, and services can be added by the administrator to refine the process.


Finally, schedules are created by defining time-based activities within the Workflow template, if necessary. When a workflow is triggered, an email is sent to appropriate DPW staff to alert them of the workflow and to provide them with the work order, if defined to be automatically generated. DPW staff can then begin to process the workflow and view all of the details involved.


Real-time SCADA data related to the workflow can also be displayed to aid DPW staff in resolving the event as well as specific eSOPs and documents such as operational manuals. The eSOPs outline steps to problem resolution in a numbered format and have a “comments” field for the operator to enter information.


The steps guide users through resolution of the issue and have expiration times in place. If a step is not completed in a certain amount of time, escalation processes such as

supervisory notifications can occur. At any time, DPW staff can get a list of completed workflows and check a workflow history to view its details. Managers can develop workflows based on functions of their group. They can also delegate work and see the status of operations by viewing pending workflows.


Automated processes unlock significant efficiencies


In the future, DPW staff will design workflows to assist in automation of preventative maintenance on equipment such as pumps. Examples include pump-runtime-driven maintenance such as bearing lubrication and seal inspection. Instead of hoping DPW staff remembers to perform this critical maintenance at a manufacturer’s recommended runtimes, a workflow can automatically be created and a work order generated to ensure it will be done.


Since implementing Workflow from GE Digital, DPW has experienced effective integration of institutional knowledge and expertise. Results include:


  • Improved process consistency due to electronic standard operating procedures
  • Greater efficiency with automatic work order generation
  • Faster identification and proper correction of process deviations
  • Better operational responsiveness with the ability to manage by exception
  • Significant time savings of staff with automated step-by-step work processes and procedures
  • Greater efficiency with automatic work order generation
  • Faster identification and proper correction of process deviations
  • Better operational responsiveness with the ability to manage by exception
  • Significant time savings of staff with automated step-by-step work processes

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