Programmable Logic Controllers for Industrial Automation

When a manufacturing plant wants to streamline its processes, automation is a winning strategy. A well-designed system will improve productivity while maintaining quality. Automation technology involves hardware and software that use pre-programmed actions to improve production.

What is programmable logic?

Every day, people make decisions based on conditions. If it is raining outside, you take an umbrella. Computer languages work with a similar kind of programmable logic. The programmer has the computer check whether a condition is true or false. Then, the system responds accordingly.

The condition could be a practical concern telling the system to make 100 widgets in a session. However, the logic can also handle safety issues. If a machine’s temperature crosses a certain threshold, the program will turn it off. If the pressure in a pipe reaches an unsafe level, the system can send an alert and adjust the flow.

PLCs and Industrial Automation

Programmable logic controllers are hardware units used in industrial settings. PLCs improve industrial automation by providing process control for a single machine. These devices maintain consistency while also offering flexibility. As manufacturing needs change, programmers can easily adjust the instructions.

Incorporating PLCs into System Architecture

In the past, industrial processes used timers and counters to control production levels. PLCs will work with these conditions, but they can do much more. Programmers can link conditional logic to several different aspects of the machine’s operation. However, ideal automation requires continuous monitoring of the whole system. While PLC hardware carries out performance monitoring on a single device, a SCADA system oversees the entire process.

SCADA Systems and Continuous Monitoring

Supervisory control and data acquisition software gathers information from sensors throughout a system. In a manufacturing setting, the SCADA system will retrieve information from every machine in the process. At a central human-machine interface, managers can observe the status of each part of the whole. They can also control features of the system remotely.

SCADA is a critical technology for many industrial sectors, but it is beneficial in settings that involve a large physical layout. For example, municipal utilities use SCADA systems to monitor the water supply as it travels through treatment plants and miles of pipes. Real-time data allows the company to resolve problems quickly with minimal disruption.

SCADA Automation Software and PLCs

Combining SCADA with programmable logic controllers allows a layered approach to automation. The PLCs provide automation for individual steps of the process. At the same time, they can transmit performance data to the SCADA system.

This setup is ideal for both safety and performance monitoring. When one piece of equipment reports a safety issue, the SCADA automation software can trigger immediate responses for the whole system. If there is no need for a system-wide response, managers can use the SCADA connection to change the individual PLC programming.

For example, programmers might set a PLC attached to an industrial lathe to set an rpm limit. However, information collected by the SCADA system indicates that this setting creates too much vibration. Managers will then receive an alert from the SCADA software. Through the HMI, they can adjust the PLC programming remotely without disrupting the operation.

SCADA software also provides resources for developing intentional maintenance programs. Real-time performance data lets maintenance crews see which units require repair. They can handle minor problems before they cause a system shutdown.

An Advanced SCADA System for Industrial Automation

High Tide Technologies develops cloud-based SCADA systems that monitor the whole system architecture of clients in the water, wastewater, and oil and gas industries. We create remote monitoring solutions that users can access on their portable devices. When you work with us, advanced process control is only a few taps away. Contact us today to learn more about how SCADA software can improve your system.

SCADA Systems and Leak Detection Services

Across the country, residents depend on distribution systems for wastewater removal, water, and natural gas. A leak in any of these systems can lead to supply interruptions and environmental hazards. Timely leak detection services are a critical part of maintaining a high level of customer service.

The Consequences of Leaky Pipes

Many municipalities have water systems that are past their prime. Unfortunately, water and gas infrastructure does not have the same public visibility as roads and bridges. Digging up pipes is expensive and inconvenient, so it is not unusual to put off these repairs until there is a noticeable problem. However, failing to maintain such systems has serious consequences.

Lost Revenue

Water or gas that does not make it to residents is lost revenue for the supply company. Most water utilities expect some amount of loss as water flows through miles of pipe, but a significant leak will drain gallons every hour.

Secondary Damage

Water and gas leak detection can prevent secondary damage. A constant stream of water will loosen the soil around the leak. This soft earth can cause settling that leads to sinkholes and road buckling. A large leak may cause structural damage as buildings lose support. Repairing this type of damage can be even more expensive than fixing the leaky pipe.

Leak Detection and Public Health

A leaky wastewater system will create dangerous pockets of raw sewage that can pool on the surface. Such seepage is a biological hazard that requires extensive cleanup procedures.

Leaks in a clean water distribution system are also problematic. When water pipes operate correctly, the water exerts an outward pressure that prevents groundwater from seeping in. Leaks lower the internal pressure and allow bacteria and other biological material into the water supply. Leaky pipe infrastructure is a common cause of boil-water mandates.

Gas leaks are a significant public safety concern. Natural gas is both poisonous and flammable. Any leak in the distribution system is a concern. A gas explosion will cause extensive damage to buildings as well as serious injuries.

Water Leak Detection

In the worst-case scenario, a sinkhole or another severe issue reveals a leaky pipe. Because much of the infrastructure is underground, water leak detection can be a challenge. However, pressure sensors and acoustic leak detectors have improved the process.

Pressure and Volume Changes

Water should travel at a predictable pressure throughout its journey. An unexpected change in water pressure or flow volume may indicate a leak. Most leaks result from pipe damage, but a pressure drop may also indicate someone tapping the supply illegally.

Water suppliers can place pressure sensors and flow meters at critical points throughout the system. When there is a drop in pressure or a change in flow volume between two points, they will have a general sense of the location of the problem.

Pinpointing the Problem with an Acoustic Water Leak Detector

Once the utility recognizes a leak, they need to send out a crew to fix it. However, they do not want to excavate a large section of pipe if it is not necessary. When water escapes from a pipe, it makes a telltale hissing sound. Using an acoustic water leak detector allows the crew to pinpoint the location.

How a SCADA System Can Help

A SCADA system is a powerful tool for improving leak detection services. SCADA systems receive data from sensors throughout the pipeline and convey it to a central server. Utility managers can view real-time information about water pressure and flow changes. Access to this information will minimize the time between leak detection and repair.

A well-monitored system will simplify auditing and help create intentional maintenance schedules. Large municipalities may be working with sections of pipe infrastructure of different ages and materials. When a leak appears in one area, the utility can plan to repair or replace units of a similar age and construction.

A SCADA system also empowers remote control of connected devices. For water or gas leak detection, the utility can shut down sections immediately when hazardous conditions arise. In larger systems, they may be able to reroute the flow to minimize customer disruptions.

Advanced Leak Detection Services

Hide Tide Technologies specializes in cloud-based SCADA software for municipal water and wastewater distribution systems, as well as natural gas pipelines. Our team will provide the necessary hardware to monitor your equipment from any location safely. Careful monitoring combined with planned maintenance will keep your system reliable and safe.

What Actually Makes Something Flushable?

There is a fair amount of confusion about what makes a product flushable. Manufacturers market wipes and hygiene products as safe for sewer and septic systems. However, the lack of a clear definition leads to expensive problems at wastewater facilities.

Differing Definitions of Flushable

For many people, an item that is safe to flush is anything that can fit down a toilet’s plumbing. This understanding leads to non-biodegradable products making their way into the sewer system. Many of these items are removed in the primary filtering and treatment process, but they can also serve as building blocks for sewer clogs.

Manufacturers say that a consumer can safely flush a product if it breaks down in water by 60% in an hour. Unfortunately, this breakdown rate leaves plenty of solid material that can create clogs or gum up the works at a water treatment plant.

The International Water Services Flushability Group has a much stricter standard. Items labeled as safe for flushing should break down by 95% half an hour after contact with water. This rate allows products like toilet paper to travel through sewer systems without any issues.

The Impact of Clogs on a Sewer System

Cities around the world spend millions of dollars dealing with clogged sewer lines and sluggish wastewater plant machinery. Often, the only way to handle the problem is to manually break up the clogs and clear the way for sufficient effluent flow. The extra weight of a layer of wipes puts strain on the machinery and will shorten its life. All of these factors increase the cost of wastewater management.

To combat this issue, some cities pay for marketing campaigns to educate residents about safe flushing practices. However, it is difficult to dissuade people from enjoying the convenience of items that are supposedly safe.

Non-flushable Items and Flow Rate

Fatbergs are becoming a chronic problem in major metropolitan centers. These collections of wipes and other non-flushable items are bound together with congealed cooking fat. As they grow, they will slow the flow rate in sewer lines before they cause a complete blockage.

The rate of water flow in a sewer system varies throughout the day. In most residential areas, the flow is highest in the morning and evening when residents are home. It decreases during the night when most people are sleeping.

When a blockage begins to form, wastewater managers can expect a decrease in the average flow time for a metered area. The rate will continue to fall as the blockage grows larger. SCADA software can send an alert before this becomes a critical issue.

How SCADA Software Can Prevent Problems

Remote monitoring of changes in the average flow time is one way to prevent unexpected blockages. These clogs build over time. Without a way to observe fluctuations in readings like water pressure and effluent flow, the first sign of an issue may be unsanitary water backups or sewer line breaks.

A supervisory control and data acquisition system collects data from system sensors for observation and analysis. The SCADA system provides a real-time overview of what is happening throughout the system. It can send alerts when there are dangerous conditions like significant drops in flow rate. The control part of the system also allows administrators to program automatic responses that can prevent damage.

Looking at SCADA information over time will also allow operators to pinpoint potential clogs before they disrupt the system. This information will lower operating costs and minimize disruptions that affect customers.

Expert Remote Monitoring Solutions

High Tide Technologies specializes in SCADA systems for municipal water collection, distribution and treatment systems. Our cloud-based platform gives operators the ability to access information and control parts of the system while in the field. A remote SCADA solution will lead to faster response times and improved system efficiency. For more information about our comprehensive SCADA systems, contact us today.

Monitoring Pressure in a Water Distribution System

Municipal residents depend on a well-functioning water distribution system to meet their daily needs. They expect to turn the tap and have an uninterrupted supply of clean, freshwater. To achieve this goal, water and wastewater systems require constant monitoring. Inconsistent water pressure can have serious consequences down the line.

The Consequences of High Water Pressure

Adequate pressure levels vary from system to system. An area with tall buildings must maintain a higher pressure than a suburb with single or two-story homes. When the pressure is too high, it puts a strain on the system. In areas with aging infrastructure, the excess force can cause cracks, leaks, and water main breaks.

Water pressure is not constant. An unexpected change in water flow can cause a high-pressure event. When a water utility tracks these surges, it can employ a preemptive maintenance program that will minimize disruptions and decrease repair costs.

The Dangers of Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure presents a different set of problems. At the right pressure, water flowing through a pipe exerts enough outward force to prevent groundwater seepage. At low pressure, water can make its way in from the surrounding environment. Water that leaches into the water system can bring unwanted chemicals like fertilizers and insecticides.

Viruses and bacteria are another concern in systems with low water pressure. When groundwater seeps into the water supply, microorganisms can travel with it. Areas with this issue must declare “boil water” advisories to their residents. This safety procedure is not only inconvenient for customers, but it also decreases their trust in the water supplier.

Monitoring a Water Distribution System

Regular monitoring is the key to a healthy distribution system. The number of necessary monitoring sites can depend on the landscape. Elevation changes will require booster pump stations that change the local pressure. There should be a water pressure sensor providing data for each unique water pressure area.

Wireless pressure recorders are the current standard for taking regular measurements. Often, water utilities install monitors that sit directly in a water main or measure pressure at a fire hydrant. The devices then send pressure reports to a data server.

SCADA and Industrial Automation

A supervisory control and data acquisition resource offers a utility company tools to monitor the system and respond to emergencies. With a SCADA system, each water pressure sensor will send its data to a central server for storage and analysis.

The SCADA platform then gives real-time updates to system managers. If there is a sudden change in pressure, the managers will receive an alert and can respond quickly. They will also use historical pressure data to develop intelligent maintenance priorities.

SCADA is not just about data collection. Through the SCADA interface, managers can open or close valves and perform other operations remotely. Combining SCADA with industrial automation allows the system to adjust itself as water pressure rises or falls. An immediate automated response can minimize the impact of a water pressure surge.

A Cloud-Based SCADA Solution

High Tide Technologies specializes in SCADA resources for water collection, treatment, and distribution systems. Our cloud-based approach provides greater options for utility administrators. Managers can use mobile devices to access our interface instead of a fixed unit at an administrative office. This ability gives them a direct connection to critical information while in the field.

Employing a SCADA system that uses the latest technology brings several important benefits.

  • Comprehensive water pressure monitoring: Receive reports from every DMA at the same time.
  • Lower operating costs: Planned maintenance is less expensive than emergency repairs.
  • Consistent water safety and quality: Consistent water pressure in the system will prevent impurities.
  • Greater customer satisfaction: Minimize customer complaints by avoiding disruptions.

For more information about the benefits of a SCADA system for your water distribution system, contact High Tide Technologies today.

An Overview of OPC UA

What is OPC UA in SCADA systems?

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems use hardware and software to improve system operations. The goals of these solutions are to minimize friction points and increase efficiency. SCADA allows for greater automation and faster decisions across a variety of industries. OPC UA is a communication protocol used by SCADA systems to enable an exchange of data between devices.

SCADA and Remote Monitoring

The SCADA structure involves several layers of devices. At one end, sensors gather and send data from different assets in the system. For water-related industries, they might send information about valve status, pipe pressure, and water quality. The data then travels to several devices: remote terminal units for local control, data servers for analysis and storage, and a master station that allows for system-wide control.

Running a complex system requires an advanced communications architecture. OPC allows data to flow between the different devices in an industrial system.

What is OPC UA?

Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture was developed to solve machine-to-machine communication issues to improve industrial automation. Historically, companies would invest a great deal of time and money into developing drivers that allowed computers to interact with other devices. Every new device meant new drivers. This hub-based approach also restricted communication to a computer that had the correct drivers installed.

The OPC model allows for systemic communication. It takes a data-centered approach where the server doesn’t need to know the device’s function requesting or transmitting data. Instead, data travels in a uniform format that all devices on the system can recognize.

Benefits of an Object-Oriented Communication Architecture

Computer languages like Java, Python, and C++ are object-oriented. An object is a structure made of data and functional methods. An object could be a book in a library database, a local weather report, or an NPC in a computer game. Although they have different applications, the language treats them all the same in the background.

Within a SCADA system, the OPC model views every device as an independent object. The server doesn’t discriminate between sensors, control devices, or other equipment. Instead, it works with the parameters set within the object itself. An object-oriented approach brings several benefits to complex systems.

Scalability

By treating devices as generic objects, the system can incorporate new components with minimal disruption. Simple scalability is an essential advantage in growing municipal areas.

Flexibility

New technologies and devices come online every year. An object-oriented system can easily include changes while allowing old devices to communicate with new ones.

Security

System security is a significant concern for municipal utility and service providers. OPC UA uses end-to-end encryption as well as authentication protocols to prevent attacks that could disrupt service.

OPC UA and Industrial Automation

The OPC protocol improves operations in complex systems by enabling communication between devices in different system sections. For water distribution, this arrangement will allow components of the system to reroute flow when there’s a water quality or pressure issue. When one component sends a status alarm, the system can automatically calculate a solution based on the data from other devices. This real-time reaction will prevent minor damage from becoming worse and minimize customer disruption.

A Partner for SCADA Solutions in the Water and Wastewater Industries

Clean, reliable water is a quality of life issue for residential and commercial customers. High Tide Technologies specializes in SCADA solutions for clients involved with water collection, treatment, and distribution. Employing SCADA technology helps our clients operate systems that are more dependable and profitable. A robust communications architecture, remote monitoring, and intelligent automation will keep your water system flowing smoothly. To learn more about SCADA systems uniquely designed for your industry, reach out to High Tide Technologies today.

SCADA Systems Increase Efficiency and Profitability

Whether water is flowing into local homes or flowing out as wastewater to a treatment plant, the process requires a network of pipes, pumps, and other equipment. If there’s a problem in the system, the results can be devastating. Residential and commercial customers rely on a steady stream of clean water, and a blockage in wastewater management can create an environmental hazard. Employing remote monitoring SCADA systems allows technicians to address minor problems before they cause serious trouble.

Understanding a SCADA System

A Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System is an information-gathering network that reports real-time information about equipment and system status. System supervisors can confirm that the system operates within normal levels, and they will receive alerts if something is amiss.

Gathering Information

Every piece of equipment in a plant or water system is a potential data point, sending various information. A SCADA network starts with a collection of sensors. One sensor might report basic information, such as whether a valve is open or closed, while other sensors can track more complex issues, such as water pressure in a pipe or the rate of water level change in a reservoir.

The Communication Network

Water and wastewater systems cover large geographic areas. It takes a comprehensive communications network to bring the data to a central location. In the field, sensors send data to a remote terminal unit. The RTU can handle some control functions automatically. It acts as the first line of defense to prevent an emergency.

The network uses radio/modems, repeaters, and cellular networks to boost the signal to reach the SCADA master station. This unit is the brain of the system that processes and interprets sensor data.

SCADA Programming and the Human Machine Interface

While the RTUs can handle some issues on-site, the system still needs human oversight. The Human Machine Interface (HMI) is the terminal where supervisors monitor and control the system. They can remotely operate equipment anywhere in the SCADA network.

SCADA Systems in the Water and Wastewater Industries

A remote monitoring system is a natural fit for the water and wastewater industries. The reality is that leaks do not fix themselves and will continue to cause problems until they’re addressed. SCADA technology allows service providers to have direct knowledge of blockage or leakage problems. Importantly, this system lets technicians pinpoint the location of the issue leading to an after response.

Practical Benefits of a SCADA System

Improved Maintenance

Water system equipment maintenance often follows the guidelines provided by the manufacturer. However, every unit faces unique working conditions that can cause unexpected strain. SCADA systems alert technicians when equipment is not operating within ideal parameters. This knowledge can prevent breakdowns and lengthen a unit’s usable life.

Real-Time Alerts

As with many systems, problems in one part of a wastewater collection system can cause issues down the line. When supervisors receive immediate alerts, they can respond quickly and fix issues before a cascading failure.

Enhanced Efficiency

The combination of immediate data collection and remote operation by the RTU will reduce friction in daily processes. Maintenance calls will be more predictable, and response times will decrease.

Increased Profitability

Increased efficiency lowers operating costs and raises profitability. With a remote monitoring system in place, there will be more time spent on scheduled maintenance calls and less overtime for emergency repairs. The system will also reduce the number of customer disruptions resulting in greater satisfaction and less time spent addressing complaints.

Working with an Experienced SCADA System Partner

High Tide Technologies provides cloud-based SCADA technology for clients in the water and wastewater industries. Our expert team can help develop networks to monitor water collection, treatment, and distribution systems remotely. We specialize in SCADA programming that employs advanced machine logic and offers a user-friendly human interface. A well-designed SCADA network will improve the efficiency of any water system. To learn more about SCADA systems for your operation, reach out to High Tide Technologies today. 

Cyber Security in an Online World

The Importance of Cyber Security in an Increasingly Online World - Infographic by High Tide Technologies

The Importance Of Cyber Security In an Increasingly Online World

In the age of global connectivity, it is more important than ever for governments, businesses, and individual operations to adhere to strict cyber security standards. This is particularly true for industries that provide essential services to municipalities. Cyber security measures need to be in place to keep sensitive data and remote control functionality under lock and key. This helps keep the general public safe and operations running smoothly.

How Does The Internet Operate?

To understand how to properly protect data and its accessibility, we need to first understand how the Internet works. Simply put, the Internet works by connecting different computers and devices in order to send and receive data. Servers, PCs, routers, and other devices are all communicating with each other, sending and receiving information called bits and packets. Individual computers are able to connect to the Internet and access this information from a variety of servers.

Within the Internet, everything is supported by a server. Servers are a type of computer that exists to store and provide information. For example, when you go to a website on your browser, your computer communicates with that website’s server to send packets of data that allow you to access the site. 

Servers can be either physical computers that exist onsite, or virtual cloud-based softwares. Typically, using a virtual server is favorable due to the lower overall cost of setup and overall cost of maintenance. With virtual servers, they are managed by an external service so they can provide expert assistance, configuration, and most importantly — keep your information safe and secure.

How Does Information Move Through The Internet?

Bits and Packets

When data is being sent from one computer to another, different bits of information are grouped together in clusters called packets. These packets are then sent from your computer to your router and modem.

Router and Modem

Once information is ready to be sent from your computer to its destination, the multiple different packets hop to your router and modem before then hopping to your local internet service provider via cables.

Local Internet Service Provider

Once the packet has left your modem it travels to your local internet service provider’s server hub. Once the packet reaches your internet service provider their server examines the IP address it’s heading to and then sends it to a long-haul provider.

Long-Haul Providers

A long-haul provider is essentially the superhighway of the internet. Once a packet hops to a long-haul provider, they use a border gateway protocol to find the best route across the different networks to send the packet.

Regional Networks

Once the long-haul provider has sent the packets, they travel across an array of different regional networks that combine to make up the Internet. These different networks act as different carriers moving the information along a route until it reaches the destination.

Destination Internet Service Provider

Once the packet has made its way through the different networks it arrives at the destination’s internet service provider. From here the server reads the IP address the packet is intended for and sends the packet to the recipient’s IP address.

Destination

Once the packet has arrived at its destination the information reassembles itself to produce a website, a message, an image, or more data. Once that packet has been successfully delivered, a message is sent back along the same path confirming the packet has arrived. All of these different steps take place constantly around the world, allowing people to access loads of information within just fractions of a second.

What Are Vulnerabilities In Cyber Security and How Are They Caused?

In cyber security, vulnerabilities refer to weaknesses in a system that can be exploited to gain unauthorized access and perform unauthorized functions within the system. Vulnerabilities are in every computer system and can allow hackers to access information, install malware, and even destroy or alter sensitive data. 

Since computer systems are all man made and use a multitude of parts, vulnerabilities can be caused for a variety of reasons. Some systems may be vulnerable for being overly complex, while some systems may use too common of a code that creates obvious opportunities for hackers. Other causes of vulnerabilities include weak passwords, overly connected systems, too much internet usage, and most often people. Typically, the biggest threat to an organization’s cyber security is the person operating the system.

Stats Behind Security Breaches

Some notable statistics from Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigation:

  • 45% of breaches were from hacking
  • 22% involved phishing, which is when a person is contacted by someone posing as a legitimate institution in order to lure them into providing sensitive data
  • 17% involved malware, which is any software intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer, server, or network
  • Nearly 95% of all security breaches were a direct result of an operator error
  • In the first half of 2020, 36 billion documents were released via data breaches

Best Practices For Avoiding a Breach In Cyber Security

Since the people that operate a computer system are often the biggest threat to its security, certain best practices should be upheld to ensure that sensitive data stays secure. Some of the ways you can protect your computer system are:

  • Use a two-factor authentication for signing in
  • Require complex passwords with numbers & symbols
  • Properly manage users who have access to the system
  • Avoiding public WiFi as these networks are unsecured
  • Consistently audit your server and software
  • .doc, .dot, and .exe are often untrustworthy email attachments

By cutting down on the possibility of human error and avoiding dangerous situations, vulnerabilities are much less likely to occur and risks can be mitigated.

The Takeaway

When it comes to the security of data and information within your computer system you can never be too careful. Through routine system maintenance, effective user management, and employing best practices for security, you can be sure that your computer system is safe from hackers and your information is secure.

SCADA Hardware: Examining the Architectures of a SCADA System

Gone are the days that operators in the water, wastewater, and oil & gas industries had to drive across hundreds of miles of terrain to gain insight into their equipment. SCADA systems have changed the way industrial operators work by giving them access to remotely monitor their equipment and processes. Using any internet-enabled device, operators can now quickly access and evaluate flow meters, storage tanks, pumps, lift stations, and other crucial checkpoints in their system.

High Tide Technologies offers comprehensive SCADA solutions that can improve system performance, optimize communication, increase automation, and provide valuable data. While we customize the SCADA architecture, we can create a system that contains numerous checkpoints, programmable logic controllers, remote terminal units, and efficient sensors.

Evaluating Multiple Types of Sensors

The system features sensors that collect a constant flow of essential data, which is relayed via our cloud-based SCADA software and made accessible to the end-user. These sensors can measure the flow of water,  temperature, pressure, and status of the equipment. The sensors can also evaluate the level of water within each tank, and consequently, the SCADA system can easily detect a leak. This saves hours of troubleshooting when a problem arises in the system. Additionally, preventative maintenance alerts can be set so that you can maximize the lifespan of your equipment.

Studying the Benefits of a Programmable Logic Controller

A programmable logic controller allows you to monitor your system activity at various checkpoints and can even be a conduit for remotely controlling numerous processes. The device gathers critical data, improves automation, and transmits information. Additionally, it enables operators to customize equipment settings, modify the system’s protocols, increase the adaptability of the equipment, and provide access to historical data. Along with sensors, remote terminal units can be conveniently placed at various checkpoints throughout your system so your team knows what’s going on every step of the way.

Evaluating the Remote Terminal Unit

Remote terminal units transmit data to the master station. These innovative devices can monitor analog inputs, digital outputs, and analog outputs. While numerous sources provide real-time data, the remote terminal unit can quickly aggregate the data, offer several notifications (such as autodialer functionality), and organize the information for an improved user experience.

Improving Communication and Enhancing the Efficiency of the System

High Tide Technologies offers a fully configurable SCADA system that features many types of field units. The hardware selected depends on your monitoring requirements. Once installed, your operators will be able to remotely monitor the equipment. The software side of the system can utilize cellular devices, satellites, and Ethernet technology. Consequently, the equipment can quickly transmit real-time data, eliminate delays, and improve the cohesiveness of the SCADA network.

Providing Electricity That Will Power the System

In the event that the RTU loses power, an alarm notification will automatically be sent, and the backup battery will be activated. Additional power is supplied using solar technology. The use of solar regulators can help mediate the consumption of electricity, prevent an overcharge, and optimize the efficiency of the solar panels. According to multiple reports, solar panels can reduce energy costs by more than 27 percent.

Customizing the Master Station and Improving the Architecture of the System

After a company evaluates SCADA applications, the business can select a system that can monitor a water treatment facility, an oil & gas pipeline, or a water distribution system. The interconnected system will contain a master station that links up with our industry-leading SCADA software platform. This device will be in constant communication with all of your field units, along with the master station, and can provide detailed statistics, extensive graphs, and critical alerts. Our SCADA software also offers vital insights that enable operators to monitor equipment and set up preventative maintenance alerts.

Choosing an Advanced SCADA System

Before you choose an advanced cloud-based monitoring system, we’re here to walk you through the advanced architectures of each system and provide comprehensive solutions. We specialize in providing customized SCADA solutions that uniquely fit your needs. To learn more about setting up a SCADA system for your operation, reach out to High Tide Technologies today.

Evaluating the Advanced Features of SCADA Software

An advanced SCADA system can benefit companies that oversee wastewater management facilities, water treatment centers, oil and gas pipelines, and many other industrial applications. Once you install the system, SCADA software can evaluate the performance of the equipment, receive important alerts, examine detailed reports, and monitor numerous types of meters. You can also determine the level of water within each tank and evaluate the flow of water, the performance of each pump, multiple valves, and the level of pressure.

Improving Communication and Receiving Important Notifications

High Tide Technologies specializes in SCADA programming. We can modify the settings of our SCADA software, update the system, and customize software configurations to meet the specific needs of our clients. Our experts have installed more than 8,500 systems during the last 19 years. Moreover, we currently serve approximately 1,100 clients. Before installing a new system, our specialists can evaluate the client’s needs, the company’s equipment, numerous tanks, large pipelines, and the facility’s meters.

After a company programs the SCADA software, employees can remotely monitor many types of equipment. The SCADA system can use satellites, cellular devices, field units, and an Ethernet device. Additionally, the software program can automatically send alerts to the employees. The workers can perform routine maintenance, inspect the machines, replace numerous components, and evaluate multiple sensors.

Optimizing the Efficiency of Each Facility

The cutting-edge systems can substantially increase automation, improve data processing, reduce downtime, and optimize real-time information accuracy. While the system monitors the equipment, the employees can also forgo manual inspections, and the workers can enhance productivity, improve oversight, prevent miscommunication, and increase compliance.

What Is HMI?

The system features a Human Machine Interface (HMI) that can help users evaluate essential data. The HMI/SCADA product can generate extensive diagrams, valuable charts, detailed reports, and other types of graphics. The interface can help employees examine significant trends, yet the users may also evaluate the sensors providing data.

What is the HMI That Can Improve the Performance of the System?

Once a business chooses the HMI/SCADA product, the cutting-edge system can considerably increase employees’ productivity, reduce downtime and decrease several types of expenses. The system also features transducers that can consistently receive essential data, and the software may utilize efficient modems that can easily share the data.

Examining the Flow of Water and the Performance of the Equipment

The system can consistently evaluate many meters, efficient pumps, and sizable valves, and the software can automatically detect a leak. The system may also prevent an overflow, assess the consumption of water, and examine power failures. Once the equipment activates an alarm, the system can provide detailed information to help the employees solve the problem. The workers can quickly identify the device that triggered the alarm, and the employees can create a solution, eliminate the leak or perform repairs.

Choosing an Innovative SCADA System

We provide supervisory control and data acquisition software. Before you choose an advanced cloud-based monitoring system, we’re here to walk you through the features of each system and provide comprehensive solutions. As leading experts in SCADA software and programming, you can trust us to provide you with a SCADA system uniquely designed for your industry. To learn more about setting up a SCADA system for your operation, reach out to High Tide Technologies today.

Importance Of Monitoring Water Tanks

For certain industries, water storage tanks are very important for a variety of reasons from cutting costs, to going green. Farms, for example, can save money by reducing water waste after studying data captured by different remote sensors. These sensors deliver data to a central location where analysts study inefficiencies learned from monitoring water levels. Water utilities are cutting costs significantly through accurate monitoring. 

Types of Monitoring Sensors

New technology has delivered a wide array of sensors for monitoring indoor and outdoor environments. Sensors are designed based on the metrics they collect, such as whether they are placed in stationary or mobile machinery. The most common type of sensor for a water storage tank is a float sensor, which opens or closes a mechanical switch based on the water level. 

Magnetic float sensors can be used for a variety of different applications due to their simplicity and low cost, driven by magnetic energy. Some companies use them for computer notifications or other types of alerts as to when to turn the pump on or off. Some of the key metrics derived from monitoring water levels include temperature and pressure. 

Importance of Monitoring Water Tanks

Real-time data is now the key to fixing equipment problems sooner rather than later. Deploying a remote telemetry unit (RTU) in your facility will accelerate your response time when you receive an automated alert about water storage tank status. This transponder sends you an alert when data on monitoring water levels reaches your programmed threshold. Some RTUs give detailed notifications and diagnostic information via email or text so the message can be easily forwarded to alert employees. 

Owning an extensive network of water tanks usually means investing in several alarms, but it’s also important for supervisors to filter unnecessary alerts so that employees don’t waste time or over-react to trivial issues detected by storage tank monitoring. Another important feature to consider for an RTU is that it tracks alarm history. Valuable insights often result when an individual tracks their own records manually. Speeding up analysis with automation and machine learning technology can deliver instant recommendations that might otherwise be overlooked.

Telemetric devices are used for continuous monitoring of water levels as data is sent to a central database and multiple other devices. Advantages to this automation technology are that it eliminates the potential for human error, it’s more efficient than manual monitoring and it’s useful for gauging floods, river levels, groundwater and surface water.

How IoT Monitoring Cuts Costs

IoT devices have already come a long way in a short time, mainly to meet the increasing demand businesses have to cut operational costs. Firms that do invest in IoT will certainly have a competitive edge over those resisting transformation. Cutting water waste is just the beginning of what IoT can do.

Water scarcity could be a major issue in the future because of climate change and a rapidly growing global population. If such a disaster happens, water costs will skyrocket. So all industries need to prepare for future supply chain shortages that could drive up various material costs. Fiscal efficiency already has been a major key to businesses lasting through the pandemic.

Smart technology is particularly essential for water utility companies, which in the past discovered costly water leaks too late to prevent financial loss. These days real-time data tells water utility officials immediately when and where a pipe is leaking. The faster leaks are detected and fixed, the more the utility can protect and improve profit margins and well as customer satisfaction.

The Takeaway

By investing in reliable monitoring equipment, companies can scale back the amount of water they lose to leaks and prevent profit losses from lost products. High Tide Technologies provides comprehensive cloud-based SCADA solutions that deliver real-time data acquisition through our secure client portal. SCADA solutions provide insight into preventive equipment maintenance, pump status, fill times, flow rates, and more. Additionally, the system sends alarm notifications that signal equipment failures or high water usage so you can quickly inspect or repair the affected equipment.