FW-5, visIT, setIT
As one of the largest network operators in the region and in parts of Heinsberg and Düren, Aachen-based Regionetz GmbH bundles all tasks relating to construction, operation, network management, asset and meter management in the applicational areas of electricity, gas, heating and water networks.
At the beginning of 2018, a team consisting of two employees from the Regionetz and two employees from external companies, worked on a model to visualize a high-pressure transfer station for natural gas, as part of their technician graduation Project.
The aim of the project was to reduce the workload of colleagues on an on-call duty and to minimize the time spent by colleagues in the ex-zones. The visualization software visIT and the parameterization software setIT from SAE were used and tested within the project.
Design of the prototype
The prototype is divided into an input supply with recording of the gas pressure and gas temperature and three output supplies with different pressure levels. The pressure stages are limited to a maximum of 100 mBar by a home regulator.
The initial idea of using a water circulating system as a substitute for natural gas was rejected due to implementation difficulties. Instead, the use of compressed air was chosen.
On a touch display the high-pressure transfer station is shown schematically by the software visIT and the following measured values of the transmitters are displayed:
Furthermore, the exterior lighting can be switched on and off either via the visualization interface using a button that has been created or with the help of an iOS app via Bluetooth connection. The filling level of the odorant tank is determined by means of a radar-guided measurement and forwarded to both the FW-5 and the PLC from Siemens. The FW-5 displays the processed data as a bar chart and percentage value on the display.
In the PLC, the analog signal of the transmitter is converted into an LED signal. The odorant feed is represented by a running light which is programmed in the PLC. The odorization is necessary to enable the natural gas to be smelled. The simulation by the running light was chosen because the odorant (tetrahydrothiophene THT) is highly flammable.
Besides the visualization, an access control with the microcontroller “ElegooMega” of the company Elegoo was used. The door lock is only released after successful login with an RFID tag and entering a PIN code.
As this was a pilot project, no safety concept was created for the microcontroller. No real implementation is planned either for access control or for the remotely switchable outdoor lighting. Furthermore, no control system was connected due to the model character. The display used has an integrated web browser, which is used to access the FW-5 website. The protocol http and the IP address of the FW-5 are used for this. The display is connected to the telecontrol system with a LAN cable.
The project participants describe the use of the two software tools setIT and visIT as very convenient and pleasant, due to the provided course materials.
Without a doubt, the colleagues on stand-by duty can be relieved by the visualization. The messages can be viewed via remote dial-in and the errors can be localized directly by means of visualization. The viewer can immediately see whether colleagues need to be deployed or whether work can be rescheduled to the next working day. Thus, the time an employee has to spend in an ex-zone can be minimized. An exact time value could not be determined in the project work, as no conversion of a real high pressure transfer station has been carried out so far.
The implementation of the project involved approx. 200 working hours per person, which the participants carried out exclusively after their working hours. Despite the challenge of coordinating job, school and project, the project was rated “very good”.