SCADA with 3D Imaging for Water Treatment Plant

Oct. 25, 2019

Integrator also provided mobility and control room upgrade.

The Anderson Regional Joint Water System (ARJWS) is based in Anderson, South Carolina. It provides wholesale drinking water for 14 utilities that deliver water directly to consumers. The partnership of rural and municipal water districts uses the latest technology to produce award-winning water. Capacity is 48 million gallons a day, and water is sourced from the Lake Hartwell Reservoir.

When ARJWS wanted to replace its old supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, it worked with system integrator MR Systems. MR is based in Norcross, Georgia, and also has locations in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee. For ARJWS, MR Systems put in Ignition by Inductive Automation®. Ignition is an industrial application platform with tools for building solutions in SCADA, human-machine interface (HMI), and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

ARJWS is s forward-thinking operation, and it really wanted to modernize its SCADA system. “We wanted to have something that was progressive, that would take us into the future with schematics and data entry and logging in real time. That was a very important part for us,” said Bryan Bates, operations manager at ARJWS.

MR provided eye-catching 3D graphics and animation. ARJWS loved the new look, and the speed at which it was delivered. “You submit ideas to MR, and within days you’re getting graphics, layouts, and schematics of how it can be represented,” said Bates. “That absolutely blew my mind. MR is tip of the spear in the industry, as far as we’re concerned.”

Realistic Visuals

Erik Doepke, senior applications engineer and visualization technical lead at MR Systems, led the way on the visuals. “I’ve been doing 3D graphics and animation for over 30 years,” he said. “With fully 3D-rendered photorealistic graphics, as well as slick process views in 3D, operators have a better feel for the plant and what’s going on in the process.”

It was the first time MR combined its 3D work with Ignition, and it went very smoothly. “There was an unknown as to whether we could make Ignition do exactly what we were accustomed to,” said Doepke. “But it became quickly apparent that we were going to be able to throw anything at it, and it would work just fine.”

The new system gives ARJWS numerous improvements over the old one. The utility now has a more robust, reliable, and flexible control system. It also has alarm notification capability, easier access to historical data, extensive redundancy, fewer proprietary issues, and the flexibility of unlimited clients. “And the cost was significantly lower than it would have been with another HMI package,” said Doepke. “Also, the system has been much more stable than the older system. There is little to no maintenance required by the plant staff. It just works, every time, all the time.”

Control Room and Mobility Too

MR also helped ARJWS upgrade its control room. “This provided the operators with an instant view of the critical parts of their system, covering both the plant itself and the distribution system,” said Doepke. “Their control room was equipped with eight 42-inch monitors, each covering a separate part of their process. This provided easy access to a general overview of the system.”

Mobility was added as well. “Thanks to the web-based nature of the Ignition software, we were able to provide the plant with two iPads that could be carried by operators,” said Doepke. “This provides the operators the ability to monitor and control any part of the system, no matter where they are.”

Doepke also impressed ARJWS with a quick turnaround on 3D screens for the backwash process. “It showed each step in the backwash process more visually, and they were amazed it could be done so quickly,” said Doepke.

The schedule for the new SCADA system had to fit into the timeline for a new ozone system. “The SCADA upgrade here at the plant was a complete overhaul of all of our SCADA,” said Jennifer Barrington, system engineer with ARJWS. “Our ozone project ran in parallel with the SCADA upgrade. It was imperative that the SCADA upgrade be completed prior to the ozone coming online. Working with MR Systems during this upgrade was an excellent process. And they’ve delivered a great project.”

Editor's Note: Scranton Gillette Communications and the SGC Water Group are not liable for the accuracy, efficacy and validity of the claims made in this piece. The views expressed in this content do not reflect the position of the editorial teams of Water & Wastes Digest, Water Quality Products and Storm Water Solutions.

About the Author

Jim Meyers