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COMMUNICATIONS & NETWORKS


SUPPORTING COMMUNICATIONS


Phillipe Aretz, channel sales director at Ovarro, explains how the deployment of RTUs and SCADA systems support the roll out of mobile communications in remote locations


W


ith mobile communications’ and broadcast’s geographically spread assets and multiple processes that all generate massive amounts of data, key to ensuring improvements is being able to capture and interpret it in real-time. One of the most important demands for telemetry systems in the broadcast sector is to establish a reliable communication network. Safety and efficiency are key priorities, too, whilst organisations have concerns about security breaches. The benefit of using remote telemetry units


(RTUs) in the broadcast and telecoms sector is that it helps to reduce downtime and enables more efficient preventative maintenance scheduling. This is achievable due to the RTU system’s ability to provide accurate, real time data; allowing asset management teams to make better, more informed decisions. In addition, because RTUs do everything locally, it means if communications break down, they continue to run and act autonomously, whilst maintaining a historical log, and reporting back later. In remote, harsh locations where


PARTNERSHIP OFFERS INDUSTRIAL TRACEABILITY


Rockwell Automation has announced a partnership with Kezzler AS, a cloud-based product digitisation and traceability platform, to help manufacturers capture the journey of their products from raw material sources to point-of-sale or beyond using cloud-based supply chain solutions that focus on product traceability. The combined offering suits customers in industries like life sciences, food and beverage, and consumer packaged goods that are focused on complying with regulatory requirements and meeting consumer expectations in areas like product quality, safety, and sustainability. Rockwell’s supply chain capabilities will combine with Kezzler’s traceability technologies to help


customers connect suppliers, manufacturing, logistics, and consumers into one real-time traceability platform. Kezzler’s cloud-based solution provides integration flexibility and ease of access to existing systems of record that incorporate a wide range of technologies from immutable ledgers (blockchain) to traditional databases. The two companies can also create unique identities that can be used to digitally identify and track products from creation to consumption. For example, Rockwell and Kezzler can provide the data needed for manufacturers to aggregate total environmental footprint per manufactured product. This data can then be used for evidence and improvement or be shared directly with consumers through the product, allowing a company to use sustainability practices as a competitive advantage. Once the recently announced acquisition of Plex Systems closes, Rockwell anticipates integrating the


cloud-native factory floor track-and-trace capabilities of Plex with the end-to-end capabilities of Kezzler, providing supply chain visibility and management capabilities that are both broad in scope and deep in functionality.


www.rockwellautomation.com


many masts are located, communication is liable to fail regularly, although RTU’s can manage this. For instance, data acquired by the RTU can be used to support maintenance decisions, and to verify that performance obligations are being adhered to. RTUs can be deployed on a wide range of equipment from masts, control panels and security measures through to electrical gear. Once in place, they provide remote monitoring of electrical current, temperature, smoke, power and humidity. The unit relays this information to the cloud where it can be analysed and trended, providing operators with a high degree of predictive maintenance capabilities. Where power supply from the grid is not available, they can incorporate intelligent management of power consumption as well as battery or solar power options.


The real value of an RTU is that it can perform autonomous control in real time and then report to SCADA on current status. Operators at the SCADA interface can ‘supervise’ the operations by setting new KPIs (Set Points) or updating instructions (open/close this, start/stop that, for example) for RTUs to then act upon and manage locally. These developments in RTU functionality make them particularly suited to the broadcast sector because they offer resilience to the site environment, have an ability to operate with minimal drain on local power resources, whilst retaining the processing power to perform local control algorithms autonomously.


Ovarro’s TBox RTU technology has been used by one of our partners in Europe on a project with a major European telecoms company as part of its commitment to improve quality of service to its customers. The main scope of the project was to optimise and replace obsolete RTUs. They were also looking to optimise and control the equipment and installation of a large set (several hundreds) of broadcasting centres with a single solution. The company required a telemetry solution


that provided modularity, sturdiness, compact size, open and standard telecontrol protocols, logic programming and strong cyber security capabilities. Following a careful evaluation of several alternative options, they specified TBox MS and TWinSoft configuration tool because it is a highly resilient and secure automation platform suitable for their critical and demanding SCADA applications. In combination, these technologies allow users to complete their applications and dynamically control communication, alarms, data logging and logic locally or remotely in a fully-secure environment.


26 JULY/AUGUST 2021 | PROCESS & CONTROL


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