When Automation just has to be right, how can you simply just change the design on the fly?
The truth is, the temptation is there to change things during deployment of any automation system, but it rarely produces a safer or sustainable result, even if it’s faster and more “efficient”!
In 2013-2014 Stolthaven Australia constructed a new Liquid Fuel Storage facility at Newcastle, NSW and engaged Varec and Parasyn to design and supply the Fuel unloading systems.
Parasyn’s role in the latter half of 2014 was to develop the PLC logic to perform critical Fuel Terminal operations and to allow for interfacing with the Varec Fuel Manager SCADA software package.
This is not the first time Parasyn has partnered with Varec. Previously the Varec – Parasyn team have delivered a Fuel Management System for the RAAF. Each company couples its expertise to produce a good result.
For a small adjunct project like this, we organised ourselves to work tightly with our partner Varec and the terminal operator Stolthaven. It is vital that improvements, ideas and suggestions that “appear” to the technical team as the experience and know how about the project matures, do not find their way into an integrated design. The total system design must be documented and considered as a whole, not just rolled out “on the fly”. This is what we did;
- Setup internal project systems (Customer Support Plan), coordinate resources, plan works and assign Support Manager.
- Review logic flowcharts, plan for configuration development, plan engineering activities, develop internal and Varec office test documentation.
- Develop PLC logic.
- Develop the Test Procedures.
- Factory testing at our offices using project PLC hardware and IO test boxes to simulate plant operations.
- Implement on site.
- Cross check design suggestions and markup design changes.
- Sign off changes to design.
- Develop changes of design and retest.
- Final Handover verification testing on site.
- Provide test documentation and close out the project.
As simple as it seems, a simple plan meticulously followed provides confidence to the not so technical who rely on the engineers to do their stuff.
So what does this mean to the Terminal Manager? The terminal managers’ business has been improved, because Parasyn and Varec delivered a reliable, 24/7 automated system which works without any operator invention to control the plant.
The technology included the Rockwell ControlLogix platform and the automation of 68 flow charts. With 3 racks of IO, there were a little under 1000 IO to configure, manage and test.
The Terminal Manager (Stolthaven) indicated that as a whole his expectations were far exceeded with the entire system delivered and he was very thankful for the engineering teams’ efforts.
“Delivering the system was not without its challenges. Parasyn provided immediate support at various times whether it was remote access or a quick telephone conversation. Parasyn and Varec worked together to provide a speedy solution to any support questions and also to resolve minor issues to provide a quick professional and safe automation result.
On the Parasyn side, Thomas did a splendid job!”