At SALTEK Canada we recognize the value of decision making, and acknowledge the resistance to change. At the end, it all comes down to risk management and the challenging task of deciding wether to go with the safety of the known and established or overcome the uncertainty to the new and unknown.
We hope that the Questions and Answers below will provide the additional information you need to help simplify that decision making process. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you should have any other questions that are not covered in this section, and we will gladly provide the answers you are looking for.
1.- What is OPC?
R= OPC stand for Object Link Embedded (OLE) for Process Control. It is a technology that was created to allow information to be easily and securely exchanged between diverse palforms for multiple vendors and to allow seamless integration of those platforms without costly, time-consuming software development. You can find more information on the OPC Foundation website. www.opcfoundation.org
2.- How is the Novotek MB300 OPC Server different from other OPC Servers?
R= The Novotek MB300 OPC Server has been developed exclusively to communicate directly to the MasterBus 300 network using Ethernet protocol and supports over 20 different objects including advanced control loops as well as diagnostics. For more information you may contact us or visit the masterbus300 website. www.masterbus300.com
3.- How does the Cimplicity Software communicate with Novotek's OPC Server?
R= The Cimplicity HMI software has the capability to communicate directly with several control systems and/or with any OPC Server. When Cimplicity is installed, it automatically detects Novotek's OPC Server. For more information you may contact us or visit Cimplicity's website. http://www.ge-ip.com/products/proficy-hmi-scada-cimplicity/p2819
4.- What are the main advantages between this solution and the original OEM upgrade system?
R= The first benefit would be the cost. Being an open source system, the installation and development costs are reduced. Another advantage is its flexibility as the system allows to start with a small project of one screen, one system, one node, one unit or the whole plant. A third advantage is the ability to communicate directly with the Master Bus control network without the need of RTA Boards, eliminating the requirement of serial to Ethernet converters or additional hardware which can represent additional costs and points of failure. Finally, due to its non-proprietary nature, the customer is in control of what they want to be developed and how they want it by adding, moving or removing objects or functions according to their needs.
5.- How reliable is the system?
R= Back in the days when the first OS500 Operating Stations were installed, the UNIX Operating System was the most stable and reliable for control functions, and Windows Operating Systems had a very poor performance compared to UNIX systems. However, nowadays, Windows Servers are more robust and reliable and are widely used for the control and monitoring functions in serveral industrial applications.
6.- How does the OPC Server handle the redundancy?
R= Novotek's new MB300 OPC Server supports full redundancy when installed under Windows 7 Operating System. The system can also be made fully redundant in a Server-Client network architecture to provide maximum reliability.
7.- Are there any configuration changes needed in the control system or in the logic?
R= The new HMI system would operate as a new Node in the system, so no configuration or logic changes are needed at the control level. Novotek's OPC Server can take the node number of the OS500 Operating station that will be replaced so that there are no additional nodes created.
8.- Will I still be able to use the old OS500 Operating Stations?
R= Yes, the new HMI can run in parallel with the OS500 Operating Station without conflicts.
9.- Is there any CPU Load increase in the controllers?
R= No, the information that the Novotek OPC Server pulls from the controllers is already existing at the Master Bus 300 Network level, this means the OPC Server does not have to request the data all the way to the controller. Adding the Novotek OPC Server would be no different than adding a new OS500 Operating Station.
10.- Does this system provide all the existing OS500 Operating Station Functions?
R= The New HMI system provides the main OS500 Operating Station functions and offers additional ones included in the GE Cimplicity software. Some other functions like RTA Configuration or Object Translation have been discontinued as they are no longer needed.
11.- What material would be required for the development of the project and how long would it take to develop the project?
R= Depending on the size of the project and its requirements, it would take from 3 to 6 months to develop a project from start to finish. The material needed would be a copy of the .BAX file which contains the AC410/450 database and screenshots of all the displays to be recreated containing the KKS of each signal on each display.
12.- How will the new HMI system affect the current protection control or monitoring functions?
R= It won't. All inner control functions including protection shall still reside within the AC410/450 and AC110/160 controllers. The scan time for monitoring purposes is the same or better than the OS500 Operating Stations.
13.- How will the Alarms and Events be timestamped?
R= The Alarms and Events are timestamped at the controller level and passed on to the HMI system so the Sequence Of Events is not affected.
14.- What kind of support will I receive for the HMI system?
R= SALTEK'S HMI system has been designed over two main premises, easy to use and easy to maintain. It is our intention that our customer's can perform their own troubleshooting so they can save on maintenance costs and don't have to depend on third parties to work on their system. Having said that, SALTEK would provide direct support for any technical issues may arise. The customer will also count with Novotek's and GE's product support.
15.- Why SALTEK?
R= At SALTEK we have worked closely with control room operators and maintenance personnel to understand what features they like and find useful on the Advant OS500 Operating Stations and what others could make the system better. We've taken all those ideas to build a fully customized system designed to meet the client's requirements. We've also kept in mind how a change in the system can impact productivity, and that is why we've tried to keep the graphic environment as close to the current system as possible and intuitive and user user friendly for plant personnel.