Under Supervision

Central monitoring system combines Web technology with industrial control reliability to manage hydraulic networks in Nice, France
Under Supervision
The Super-Rimiez Drinking Water Plant in Nice, France.

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An upgrade to the Super-Rimiez Drinking Water Plant in Nice, France, included a search for a monitoring system to manage the treatment process and remote upstream and downstream hydraulic networks encompassing 80 pump stations and 100 reservoirs.

The upstream segment covers the Vésubie Canal, pump station, Saint Jean La Rivière reservoir, secondary treatment plants Var and Jean Favre, and alarm stations. Downstream are 2,112 miles of pipes supplying Nice and 64 other communities via nine production centers with 121.5 mgd capacity.

Extensions reach as far as Italy. If required, Compagnie Générale des Eaux, managers of the municipal water utility and now part of Veolia Water, can supply the Principality of Monaco.

To develop a central telemonitoring system, the agency turned to software developer ARC lnformatique (Sèvres, France) and Schneider Electric (Rueil Malmaison, France), a supplier of automatic systems. They implemented a network of programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and remote thermal units (RTUs) communicating via satellite or Internet. Today, the site operates using PcVue SCADA version 8.0 software running on the Microsoft Windows platform.


Keeping it together

Raw water drawn from aquifers or rivers is pumped from wells to the treatment center, where it undergoes coarse and fine screening, flocculation and settling, filtration, ozonation, and chlorination. The drinking water, stored in underground basins on hilltops and in water towers, is distributed to a population of 955,000 through conduits with gates and regulation devices.

The plant and remote network have 23 monitoring terminals that process 25,000 variables from 280 PLCs and RTUs. April 5000-type PLCs concentrate and exchange real-time information through an Ethernet network that groups information in a configuration that will not be affected if one branch breaks down. All critical functions have multiple levels of redundancy.

The development team configured 1,300 animated mimic icons with more than 600 data points, allowing plant operators to visually pass around and through their processes. Multiple mimics display as tabs in a single window, while pop-up windows avoid overlaying crucial information. Mimic templates and configuration wizards enabled the team to quickly adapt commands, views, and actions to each operator’s role, while ensuring that the content remained consistent.


Fast intervention

“PcVue’s Web services enable operators to open other applications such as CMMS (computerized maintenance management system),” says François Debelle, assistant manager of the agency. “Using telemetry outstations, they constantly monitor processes and can intervene rapidly in the event of a network fault. The engineers and management use SCADA to view the physical and functional state of sensors, motors, and valves.” Reduction in network and equipment failures has increased production from 22.8 mgd to 39.6 mgd.

The program has multiple communication protocols, but transmission control protocol/Internet protocol (TCP/IP) handles cutovers to backup services and communications to deliver automatic or manual restoration to the main service. The networks use a virtual private network (VPN), asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL), and satellite link for main connections, and transmit time-stamped data over a general packet radio service (GPRS) secure server.


Latest improvements

Version 8.0 allows importing of 3D objects from drawing software to make mimics more realistic. Standard animation features enable linking of the properties of 3D objects with the changing values of data gathered by the supervisor.

Smart Generator reduces configuration time and errors by directly importing tags for databases, objects, and mimics. Synchronization mechanisms ensure the coherence of the data shared between applications. Smart Generator also supports the Schneider Electric Unity platform.

The command center at Super-Rimiez monitors 330 sites, receiving 8,000 remote commands and 7,000 alarms per month confirming the completion of tasks. The communication grid spans 89,500 miles and delivers an average response in 360 milliseconds. “The system is reliable, expandable, easy to configure, and an excellent value,” says Debelle.


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