Data historian, time-series database management, ClearSCADA and software integration
Background: TasWater is Tasmania’s primary water and sewerage company. With an annual turnover of more than $300 million it has over 200,000 water connections and over 176,000 sewerage connections across the state. In 2013 TasWater was officially formed through the amalgamation of three Tasmanian water and sewerage corporations.
Since the 2013 merger the company has been integrating its software and operational systems into one state-wide integrated operations centre. One challenge with managing such a large network of water and waste assets is historian time-series data management.
The traditional process historian repository setup meant that for any changes in data tags or ‘points’ coming from the ClearSCADA system, another workload had to be completed in the historian to ensure both data sets were matched. Any changes such as new points (data tags), commissioning of a new water asset, or site decommissioning demanded a manual, complex process both in the source system and the historian.
The overhead for such data management was high and so were the risks of having inconsistent data sets.
A more efficient and less error-prone solution was needed.
Nukon was engaged in March, 2017 to deliver a solution to the problem, and its ClearSCADA to PI Sync Tool was the answer. Having previously delivered the sync tool to a Melbourne water authority, Nukon was able to progress the project quickly.
What is the ClearSCADA to PI Sync Tool?
The ClearSCADA to PI Sync Tool does as the name suggests – it syncs data from the ClearSCADA system to the PI interface (or historian), thus removing the need to manage two separate configuration databases.
In essence, this has given TasWater ‘a single source of truth’ for all its time-series data. That is, a constant and consolidated view of their historical time-series repository.
The system is used for ongoing monitoring and storage of information and can be fully integrated with other analytics packages to enhance data analysis for targeted improvement activities.
Nukon handled all aspects of project management, design, programming, testing, commissioning and support integration to maximise the tool’s value. TasWater stakeholders and OSIsoft partners were consulted to deliver an integrated, end-to-end solution. In particular the project was delivered:
Since implementation, TasWater has realised these benefits:
1. Any change will be synced – It could be a new site, device, an edit to one data point, or the commissioning of a very complex asset. Any new data added or edited in each ClearSCADA system will be accurately synchronised with the PI System, including point propagation to interfaces for data collection.
2. Scalable and more powerful data analysis – The tool can synchronise an unlimited amount of data points. This particular system will grow in excess of 200,000 points and can be extended further as needed.
3. Faster site commissioning and configuration – The sync tool reduces the need for duplicated workload in configuration, commissioning and data management. The tool automatically syncs data into the PI interface which means less scrutiny is required when commissioning new assets.
4. Reduction in configuration management overhead – Managing a traditional system is a time consuming and complex process with high admin overheads.
The sync tool drastically reduces this need, resulting in far less overhead in configuration and ongoing database management.
5. Enforcement of standards – Standards for sites are usually implemented in the SCADA systems, which may require different modelling when pulled into traditional historians.
The sync tool provides flexibility to implement established standards very quickly from scratch by creating an object model in AF derived from the SCADA system. The tool builds this model in an automated way with the click of a button, rather than spending time and effort to hand build or bulk configure the system using other, more manual methods.
6. Smarter data – The PI System provides a smart way to warehouse and analyse data. The Asset Framework and PI Data Archive can be customised and objects can be linked or related.
The sync Tool is capable of understanding these object relationships, including moved or renamed objects in ClearSCADA and PI. This provides the end-user with a high-degree of modelling flexibility and very low system management overhead. Plus, the prepared data in the PI System can be integrated with other analytics packages to provide more powerful, actionable insights.
7. Highly secure data – The system has a complex security landscape with multiple security domains to limit connectivity and maintain a defence-in-depth approach.
The sync tool is able to overcome these challenges yet still maintain a strong security model and is integrated with both Windows, AF and PI security models.
The PI Sync Tool can be applied to any industry. Operations from oil and gas, roads and infrastructure, plant control or mining will benefit from improved data management systems. The tool is especially powerful for any company doing widearea telemetry with ClearSCADA looking to reduce their systems management overhead and optimise their operations through robust data analysis.