Certified to ISO9001-2000, EMAS, ISO 14001-2004, UNE 1600:2010 and OHSAS 18001, Aigües Ter Llobregat (ATLL) is appointed by Generalitat de Catalunya SA to supply drinking water to more than a hundred municipalities in its regional network, from the Ter and Llobregat rivers and from desalinated seawater.
Rockwell Automation's involvement is best visualised when split into three distinctive areas: Asset Management (of a large and geographically dispersed automation and control infrastructure); an Integrated Architecture solution (installed to control the world's largest reversible electro-dialysis plant) and an on-line condition monitoring system (to assist in the implementation of a complete predictive maintenance strategy).
ATLL must provide drinking water regardless of the quality of the local river supply, which changes constantly. Every day, during the different shifts, the ATLL control engineers are confronted with multiple changes in the adjustment points of the PACs (Programmable Automation Controllers), in response to the different quality of water in-flow.
ATLL employs some 230 PACs – comprising PLC5, SLC500 and Allen-Bradley ControlLogix – in conjunction with 210 Allen-Bradley PanelView operator panels. Engineering and maintenance of the PACs is undertaken by four employees, including a Systems Integrator. Even though the PACs are distributed over more than 2,000km2, that can all be monitored from a central position thanks to satellite communication.
ATLL has invested time, money and effort to obtain the IS09001-2000, ISO14001-2004 and EMAS certifications in order to prove to its clients that it can provide water continuously, at a consistent level of quality while respecting environmental demands at all times. With these factors in mind, asset monitoring is vital, especially with regards to any changes made in the PACs. Therefore, it is important for ATLL to control access to the control equipment and at the same time manage its maintenance.
ATLL worked in direct collaboration with Rockwell Automation in order to install the management solution of the FactoryTalk AssetCentre and to change its IT infrastructure. The solution currently administers approximately 100 PACs, along with two desktop PCs used by ATLL staff and the Systems Integrator. Functions implemented include: access control, an auditing system, a backup and disaster-recovery plan and a reports solution. The benefits include the ability to monitor changes to specific parameters, which affect water quality and the accuracy of the flow meters, more efficient exchange of information and knowledge between control engineers working on different shifts, the prevention of PAC problems when several contractors are working simultaneously on the installations and the security with which timely backups are made.
ATLL plans to improve its maintenance operations through the implementation of a complete disaster-recovery plan, so that the PLCs, jointly with the HMI, can continually supply quality water, even in the event of an emergency. ATLL will use the FactoryTalk AssetCentre solution as part of the requirements of ISO9001-2000, as it will be able to prove that it complies specifically with the regulations pertaining to control of industrial assets.