Controllers: Caribbean Plants Enlist Remote System to Control Operations
As an emerging leader in providing control solutions to industries
throughout the Caribbean, P.A.S. Technologies (PAS) of San Juan, Puerto Rico,
represents major U.S. and European process and control instrumentation
manufacturers. Long-standing relationships with these manufacturers have
enabled PAS to offer cutting edge technology products and services to its
customers in the water and wastewater, pharmaceutical, power utilities,
petrochemicals, refining, cement, sugar, and rum industries.
Through experience and in-depth knowledge of its own
geographic region, PAS has been able to identify and recommend affordable
control solutions such as the implementation of the Sensaphone SCADA 3000, a
product of Phonetics, Inc. of Aston, Pa. For PAS, the Sensaphone unit has
achieved more than just customer satisfaction, it has also help the company
grow increasingly active in the control solutions industry in the Caribbean.
Learning by Doing
In the early 1990s, PAS, a relative newcomer to the control
solutions industry, was working with a pharmaceutical company to remedy a large
hydrocarbon spill at a fuel distribution center. The spill contaminated a
nearby private farmland and eventually cost the pharmaceutical company millions
of dollars to settle.
In the aftermath, PAS was challenged to identify and
implement a control system that would avoid future accidents by safely and
accurately monitoring hydrocarbon levels in electrical generators, boilers, and
fire and pump day tanks. Similar spills in tank dikes and hydrocarbon transfer
sequences were also of major concern. One of the key objectives was to find a
monitoring system that offered dial-out alarm notification to plant personnel
off-site. Additionally, the pharmaceutical company sought a monitoring system
that was easy to program, upgrade, and operate.
Research by Alfredo Agelviz, General Manager of PAS,
identified the Sensaphone SCADA 3000 as the solution. ?The Sensaphone
SCADA 3000 unit was full of expectations,? Agelviz said. ?Its
technical specifications and abundant, practical features demonstrated to us
that this was a powerful product.?
Most important among the Sensaphone features were the
dial-out option and the critical data recording capability that allowed the
pharmaceutical company to collect, store, and transmit critical data either
on-demand or at regular intervals.
It was the first implementation of the Sensaphone remote
monitoring system for PAS Technologies and its customers, but not the last.
In the seven years since that hydrocarbon spill, PAS has
continued to recommend the implementation of the Sensaphone system to other
clients, including the Compania de Agua de Puerto Rico (Water Company of Puerto
The water company, on behalf of the government, provides the
island?s nearly four million residents with potable water and sanitary
sewage systems. At the time that PAS Technologies was consulted, the company
had been experiencing difficulties with its current monitoring system.
?We were working with the water company on a remote
telemetry project and we were looking for a solution that could meet the
demands of that application,? Agelviz said. ?It involved control
systems for the company?s potable water pumping stations, potable water
distribution metering station, and a wastewater
The difficulty, Agelviz said, was inherent to the water
company?s existing remote terminal units (RTU). More than 70 were in use
at several highly visible water distribution tanks throughout the San Juan
metropolitan area, each requiring on-site monitoring and inspection. The process
was inefficient, costly and time consuming.
PAS company officials recommended that the water company
test the Sensaphone SCADA 3000 remote monitoring system at specific sites. The
primary advantage, Agelviz said, was that the Sensaphone system could bring all
monitoring services to a single location while providing updated features, most
notably being the remote dial-out alarm notification.
?The Sensaphone SCADA 3000 solved a number of problems
for us and the water company,? Agelviz said. ?First, the original
RTUs came in many different parts and were located in numerous places; now,
we?re able to remotely monitor different devices ? all from one
comprehensive control unit ? without the increased time and expense of
maintaining a central station. Second, the installation of the Sensaphone was
not complicated and did not require special mounting, it was very compact and
integrated into only one package. So we were able to quickly provide our
customer with a reliable solution.?
The Sensaphone system allowed the water company to monitor
pressure transducers, flowmeters, water levels, timers, temperature, power
failure, and built-in equipment alarms at a variety of sites. The system also
offered the flexibility for data logging, downloadable event logging, graphing,
and polling. The systems? data recording feature collects, stores, and
sends data to and from industrial controllers, chart recorders, and network
servers. Users are immediately notified about environmental changes and alarm
conditions, which helps minimize contamination, overflow, and costly repairs.
PAS officials initiated four additional applications at the same Compania de
Agua de Puerto Rico, which is developing an island-wide data gathering system.
To date, P.A.S. Technologies has implemented a total of
seven Sensaphone SCADA 3000 units for its clients, including one installed at a
prestigious resort on the east coast of Puerto Rico to monitor its wastewater
plant and another two at pharmaceutical manufacturers used for data acquisition
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